Energrow Inc.

Researchers at the Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network underwent research about management practices that were intended to help lower somatic cell counts (SCC). The purpose was to find out if there were certain mastitis prevention measures that were shown to be a benefit in more than one study and therefore more likely to be truly useful for most dairy farms.

  1. Blanket Dry Cow Treatment: found to be the most consistent in lowering herd SCCs compared to alternatives of dry treating only selected cows or dry treating no cows. Dry treatment works better to cure cows that already have mastitis, but also helps prevent cows from getting new mastitis infections.
  2. Post-Milking Teat Dips:Teat dipping prevents new infections.
  3. Regular Milking System Inspection:  this is part of the Canadian quality milk program.
  4. Wearing Gloves: gloves were consistently found to lower SCCs, therefore helping to prevent new infections
  5. Cows Housed in Free Stall Barns: a good long term practice
  6. Sand Bedding: More practical in free stalls, but requires the responsibility of looking after the beds properly. 
  7. Regular Cleaning of Calving Area: associated with low SCCs, likely by reducing new infections in fresh cows and heifers
  8. Clipping or Flaming the Udder Hair: reduces chances cows will develop new infections by lowering the risk that udderswill be dirty. 
  9. Locking Cows Up After Milking: standing cows reduces the chances that teat ends become contaminated with manure if the cow lies down when the teat end is open shortly after milking
  10. Routinely Check for Mastitis at Milking: Using the California Mastitis Test (CMT) to find cows with subclinical mastitis\
  11. Regularly Cleaning the Milking Parlour
  12. Supplemental Selenium by Injection: showed benefits in several trials

Adapted from: Farmers Forum April 2012, Dr. Robert Tremblay (Boehringer-Ingelheim Veterinary Clinic, Guelph, ON) "New research pinpoints best ways to prevent mastitis in dairy cows."

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