John Glover currently milks
65 cows plus followers on a
40ha (100-acre) county
council holding near
having recently moved from
another 20ha (51-acre)
county council farm.
Mastitis has reared its ugly head with a vengeance over the last two months. At its peak in mid-January we had seven clinical cases under treatment at one time (out of 60 cows in milk). In December we had six cases in five cows, in January 11 cows were treated, and at present 14 cows have been affected with two cows still affected.
Cell counts have naturally been affected as well. Before we moved, cell counts ran between 140 to 160 (000), the last two months are as follows:
December (000) January (000)
4/12 490 5/1 148
7/12 334 14/1 532
17/12 165 19/1 199
21/12 165 25/1 271
Once the cases are under treatment the cell count drops back to its usual level. However in some cows although a clinical cure seems to have been successful, routine cell counts with NMR show differently. The worst cow has a cell count of 5,082,000 which accounts for 42% of the bulk total of 240,000 on the day of recording.
Several steps have been taken: Recurring cases have been culled, although the high cell count cow is still to be culled as the NMR results only came yesterday. Until she goes her milk will be discarded. The cows that were tested showed that Step. uberis was responsible for the mastitis – a bacteria found on straw bedding. The antibiotics used have been changed as has the teat dip and we also leave the cows to stand for 30min before they return to the bedding. We have also had the parlour checked.
The actual cause of the outbreak will be a combination of factors. We had a lot of calvings around this time and although the loose yards were cleaned out on December 16 and again on January 20, I still feel that there are too many cows in there – we have 50sq ft of lying area and 85sq ft of loafing/feeding area a cow and until the new building is put up next year we will not be able to achieve the planned 75sq ft of lying area and 75sq ft of loafing/ feeding area.
The parlour also had a few surprises. The most important was a vacuum level which was too high, and which can cause subclinical mastitis and high cell counts.
Add to all this together with moving farms and it equals a lot of stress on the cows. *
The vacuum level in the milking parlour has been too high – one of the contributory factors in the recent mastitis outbreak at John Glovers farm.