Several of our dairy regions are now very wet, and this cold, wet, & often windy weather can quickly cause teat skin to become dry, cracked and chapped.
Dry, cracked teat skin significantly increases the risk of mastitis due to the cracks in the skin harbouring more bacteria, and it also causes significant changes in milking machine performance.
Once teats are coated with dried mud, the teat spray cannot get through to kill the bugs in the cracked skin underneath, and neither does the emollient get through to lubricate and moisturise the skin properly. Thus the skin just dries out more and more, and a self-worsening cycle has begun!
You can reduce this risk by adding extra emollient to the teat spray for a period of 4 - 5 days, or until a significant improvement in teat skin condition occurs.
Just adding emollient to a large drum of Ready-To-Use (RTU) product is unlikely to work properly as it may well settle out in such a large container.
However, a simple method of doing this is to get an empty 20 litre plastic drum, add one litre of glycerine (or other suitable emollient) to the drum, and then fill the remainder of the drum with RTU product. This will provide about an extra 5% emollient.
A quick shake and the emollient is likely to stay mixed over the one or two milkings it will take to use this amount.
Place your suction tube into this small drum, and continue to mix the solution in this smaller container over the next 4 - 5 days, and then revert to your normal RTU drum.
If teats are especially dirty, the emollient will still not be able to get through to the skin properly, so a strategic wash & dry of teats prior to cups on at a single milking will enable the process to get off to a good start.
Undertaking this procedure on a regular basis (perhaps once a month) during a period of high risk will keep teat skin supple and healthy, allow the teat spray to kill bugs and ensure the milking machines can perform their task properly.
If the total level of emollient (i.e. what is already in the product plus the amount you add) exceeds 10%, it may interfere with the killing power of the disinfectant, so Countdown Farm Guideline 7.5 suggests not to exceed two weeks at a time with extra emollient, but you will generally find that 4 – 5 days is sufficient, or maybe a week under extreme conditions.