Milking

Teat disinfectant on teats after spraying
Teat disinfectant on teats after spraying

Cameron* was feeling comfortable.

The expansion plan for the family farm had gone well. He had secured a long term lease on the block next door, added another 50 cows (with plans for more), extended the dairy shed, and employed a labour unit to assist the family on the farm.

The new season had started well. It had been a wet spring, but there had been very little clinical mastitis during calving and the spring, and the farm’s Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) had sat comfortably below 150,000 cells/ml all that time.

But as they moved into summer, things started to come unstuck.

Belt mounted spray can holster
Belt mounted spray can holster

This spray can holster is a really great idea when you are marking lots of cows in busy times of the year like at calving.

Except if you need it for a hospital herd full of mastitis cases, you probably need to look at more than just a spray can holder.........

It is also very handy for your spray bottle of 70% alcohol disinfectant whilst doing a herd strip. (Because you do sterilise your gloves regularly whilst strip testing the herd, don't you?)

“Something has changed. I just can’t figure it out – it’s not wet, and there is no mud.”

This was Jeff’s first comment when I returned his phone call couple of months ago.

Jeff* and his wife Karen* milk 650 cows through a 60 stand rotary dairy in Northern Victoria.

They had done a lot of work to get their mastitis to where they were now reasonably comfortable – Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) sat between 100,000 and 110,000 cells/ml, and clinical case rates of mastitis were well below the Countdown trigger point of 2 cases per 100 milking cows per month.

“I don’t know what it is, but something isn’t quite right!”

Tim* milks about 450 cows in a rotary dairy in North East Victoria, and it had been some years since we had worked on mastitis control with him.

“The cell count is still good, but we are now getting too many cases of clinical mastitis, and I reckon the teat ends don’t look as good as they were when you were last here.”

Teat disinfectant spray on teats
Teat disinfectant spray on teats

During the milking process in any dairy, there are a substantial number of factors which can influence the risk of mastitis infections.

The Countdown Farm Guidelines and the supporting Countdown Technotes describe these factors very well, and also how to measure and assess them.

It takes a reasonable amount of time to conduct all the necessary assessments during milking, and it may not always be possible to complete all the tasks in one milking – especially if it is a relatively short milking or there is only one adviser conducting the assessment.

Automatic cup remover hanging on removal
Automatic cup remover hanging on removal

Recent milking time visits to a number of different dairy sheds have reminded me that “normal” means different things to different people.

Cup removal is always an interesting part of the milking routine to observe – in both manual and automatic systems.

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