Financial rewards to the tune of 20 a cow could be on offer by increasing the priority given to dairy hygiene management.

In a new industry analysis launched at the Dairy Event, JohnsonDiversey show there is potential for improvement.

UK farmers already achieve high hygiene standards, but producers still have some way to go in gaining all available bonuses and suffer huge losses due to mastitis, said marketing director Yolanda Wilcock.

“A greater emphasis on a systematic approach to hygiene management could realise cost savings along with a reduction in the losses associated with clinical and sub-clinical mastitis,” she added.

Outlining results of the analysis of payment schemes, JohnsonDiversey industry manager Rob Kelly said only 86% claim to be in the top Bactoscan, 76% claim to be in the top cell count band and many producers dip in and out of these top bands.

Speaking at the press briefing, Nantwich vet Neil Howie emphasised the considerable losses associated with mastitis.

“Published research shows that on average dairy producers still experience 35-40 cases of clinical mastitis in every 100 cows with each case costing about 177.”

Producers should also add the yield losses associated with raised cell counts, he added. “As well as improving the bonuses received, better hygiene will mean better motivated staff.”

Deosan’s technical manager Alison Cox suggested opportunities for tightening dairy hygiene could be found in servicing the boiler, routine checks on temperature of circulating water, use of biocidal dips and more timely changing of milk liners (see table).

“These changes could bring net improvements of up to 20 a cow on most farms,” she claimed.