An issue on the horizon for many dairy farmers is an expected rise in the cost of iodine teat disinfectants due to a rise in the cost of raw materials.

Whilst the extent of the price rise may be variable, some manufacturers have indicated that the price of a "ready-to-use" iodine based teat disinfectant may rise by about $70 for a 200 litre container over the next few months.

This would increase the cost of teat disinfection by about 0.7 cents/dose - for a 300 cow herd, that is about $2 per milking.

What are the options or alternatives?

We should remember that teat disinfection is the single most important mastitis control measure undertaken in the dairy, potentially reducing new infections of contagious bugs like Staph aureus by up to 50%, so ceasing to use teat disinfection would be a poor option!

  • Some farms will choose to absorb the cost - the increase for a 300 cow herd over a whole year is about $1500.
  • It may be possible to negotiate a fixed price contract that avoids or minimises any cost increase.
  • Another option might be to consider changing to a chlorhexidine based teat disinfectant during the period of higher iodine prices.

In practical "on farm" terms, the effectiveness of chlorhexidine and iodine teat disinfectants is basically very similar. One noticeable difference is the ability to see how well teat coverage is being achieved, as the brown iodine is easier to see on teats than a clear chlorhexidine solution.

Until recently, it was necessary to mix chlorhexidine products on the farm, but there are now "ready-to-use" products available.

At Dairy Focus, we strongly recommend the use of "ready-to-use" products wherever possible, as this removes the issues and risks associated with mixing on the farm.

As you consider your options, remember the importance of teat disinfection, and the risk of not doing it properly!

To discuss your options, call us at Dairy Focus on (03) 58590706

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