TEAT CONDITION was an early warning system that indicates when there was a problem with the milking machine or parlour routine, said ADAS parlour specialist Ian Ohnstad.

“There are three classifications – short-term changes happening after one milking; medium-term changes that take two or three days to develop; and long-term occurring over a few weeks but which damage the teat and, therefore, increase mastitis.”

Teats should be examined within 60 seconds of unit removal to detect changes such as colour, swelling near the teat base, hardness at the teat end and the openness of the orifice, he said.

“Colour change is influenced by overmilking, liner design, vacuum level and pulsation. When more than 20% of teats are red or blue, it is bad news.”

The incidence of colour change or ring formation around the teat base could then be entered onto a spreadsheet from the University of Wisconsin’s website. “This does the maths for you and tells you whether there is a problem and where,” he said.