Large-scale dairy: Managing mastitis and keeping somatic cell counts down

Many  large scale American dairy units are achieving more than 10,000 litres on somatic cell counts of less than 100,000 cells/ml, but how are they achieving it? Aly Balsom finds out.

Separating problem cows and culling

Double A Dairy, Jerome, USA – SCC 120,000 cells/ml
• All mastitis cows are split out at milking and moved to the hospital unit
• No treatment is carried out in the parlour
• Milk is cultured to identify the pathogen involved
• Treatment may begin before results are back
Mycoplasma and S aureus are the main bugs looked out for
• Anything positive for these two pathogens is put in a separate pen and milked at the end of milking
• An aggressive cull strategy is in place to tackle these cows

Parlour Routine

Good parlour routine is key to keeping cell counts low, according to John Andersen, general manager Double A Dairy.

On each 50:50 rapid exit parlour, one person is responsible for teat spraying one side, then another member of staff will be responsible for a block on ten cows. “They will strip and wipe each of their block with the aim to cup on within 90 seconds of initial contact.”

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