Over the last few years, we have seen a number of occasions where a mating synchrony program has been accompanied by an outbreak of clinical mastitis.
It seems that large groups of cows milling around when on heat increases the risk of environmental mastitis, especially Strep uberis.
And it's not hard to understand why!
It seems these cows are able to create their own pool of "muck" to slop around in!
To reduce this risk, plan ahead and avoid paddocks with low or wet areas. Watch out for leaking water troughs, and take particularly care with "shade areas" – commonly shade areas under trees are already heavily contaminated areas. Use these areas judiciously.
Even consider moving highly active mating groups of cows during the day if they start to create high risk "muck holes".
Mud and faeces on teats greatly increases the risk of new mastitis infections. It increases the number of bacteria on the teat skin, and can decrease the effectiveness of post milking teat disinfection.
It can also lead to drying and cracking of teat skin, providing a great environment for bacteria to survive & multiply, and your teat spray may not reach the depths of these skin cracks.
Whether wet or dry, mud and dirt on teats can also significantly alter the dynamics of milking, and can lead to more cup slip and cup crawl.
If severe enough, a pre-milking wash and dry program for teats may be appropriate for these periods.
Finally, monitor cell counts closely and ensure there is a process for early detection of any clinical cases – the earlier you treat, the better the success rate!