Post milking teat disinfection is especially effective against the contagious pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus agalactiae. Teat disinfection is less effective in reducing the new infection rate of “environmental” pathogens such as Coliforms and Streptococcus species other than Streptococcus agalactiae. Control of environmental pathogens requires maintaining cows in a clean and dry environment, good pre-milking hygiene, including pre-milking teat disinfection and thoroughly drying teats. Regular milking machine servicing and testing will also help reduce infection and will be a necessity in your milk contract. Continue post milking teat disinfecting as part of milking routine, even if Streptococcus has been eliminated and somatic cell counts are low.
What to Expect? More than 50% of new udder infections can be prevented by disinfecting teats with an effective product immediately after every milking. Teat disinfection does not affect existing infections, these infections are best controlled by treatment advice from your Vet and should be included in the Herd Health Plan. Culling chronically infected cows will also benefit the reduction in spreading mastitis pathogens. Prevention of new infections by teat disinfection and elimination of existing mastitis cases reduce the level of mastitis in a dairy herd year by year. Improvements, such as decreased cases of clinical mastitis and/or lowered herd somatic cell counts, generally can be observed within a few months. Do not expect miracles overnight!
Application Methods. Post milking teat dips can be applied either by dipping, spraying or cluster flushing and dipping. Care should be taken to ensure that all four teats are covered. The disinfectant should be applied immediately after every milking. Most dips require a contact time to maximise effect so cows should not lie down for at least 20 minutes after milking, this time will also allow teat ends to close.
• Store teat disinfectants in cool, dry areas. Do not allow disinfectants to freeze! Keep containers closed to prevent contamination, and do not use after the expiration date. Do not assume that teat disinfectants will kill all pathogens. Some pathogens can survive in disinfectant under some conditions.
• Follow label instructions for use – use teat disinfectants at the recommended concentration. Do not dilute unless indicated on the label, if dilution is necessary, be sure that water quality standards (bacteria, pH, hardness, etc.) are met. Use a clean container for diluting, and thoroughly mix the final product.
• Dip cups should be emptied and cleaned as part of the routine cleaning after each milking or if they become contaminated during milking. Never pour used disinfectant back into the original container.
Good teat dips should be effective against the major mastitis pathogens, economical and easy to apply. They should also maintain or promote good teat condition.
With mastitis and high cell counts being a huge hidden cost to the dairy farmer, coupled with the need to reduce antibiotic use on dairy farms, prevention is even more important and cost effective for your future herd health. To ensure that cell counts or cases of mastitis are being kept as low as possible, contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG Office, for an independent assessment.