Keep that Milking Parlour Clean

Cleanliness is the key to keeping a herd healthy and a farm in profit. Farmers know the dangers of potential diseases spreading through their herd. A cow out of action due to ill-health comes with a monitory loss in the form of lost production and treatment costs, but when that infection spreads through the herd, or even into the produced milk, the costs can have a disastrous effect on a farm.

A key part of maintaining high levels of milk quality is making sure the facilities where cows are milked are clean and sanitised. Reducing the amount of dirt and other organic matter in the milking parlour and surrounding area, you can limit its access to the udder. We all know that after milking cleaning the parlour is not one of the more enjoyable jobs on the dairy, but it certainly is necessary.

When parlours and milking facilities are kept clean, it improves the workers attitude and sends a solid message that everybody cares about parlour cleanliness and sanitation.

Cleaning and sanitising the outside of Clusters “develop a sanitised soak system “

Cleaning rump rails and steelwork.

Cleaning Control buttons daily.

If you see dirt or organic matter don’t walk past , clean it .

Attention to detail is the key.

Mastitis : are we over Treating ?

I normally say that” the best deterrent we have against mastitis is a shovel and a scrapper “I get very peculiar looks “. Keep cubicles and alleyways clean this includes the corners under gates and ends , and you’re going some way to reduce the risk for mastitis, I also point out use of good pre-treatment and pre-milking hygiene, these are going to reduce it still further .

You can group mastitis a couple of ways–contagious or environmental. So contagious means it spreads at cow to cow at milking time. Environmental bacteria live outside most of the time, bedding stalls, pastures, water troughs, puddles dirty units , clusters ,hands etc .

There are three grades of mastitis – mild, moderate and severe. The clinical signs for gram-positive and gram-negative mastitis are very similar but these pathogens behave differently within the udder.
Gram positives, without treatment may be chronic. Very often, they’re subclinical for a while before they become clinical, and we know antibiotics will make a difference in those cases with gram negatives, these are usually short-term. Cows are really good at identifying those infections and are mostly self-curing. And most of the time those cows don’t need treatment.

The aim of intramammary therapy is to help eradicate bacterial infection. Frequently treatment begins immediately after visual detection of abnormal milk. On many farms, clinical cases are often treated for about five days, many times without the benefit of a bacterial diagnosis. This means lengthy therapy has become the industry norm.

Dairy Farmers are habituated to treat the quarter until the milk returns to normal however In many cases this is not practical and sensible use of antimicrobials, because the bacteria causing the infection is often eliminated early in the process.

The objective with mastitis is to treat the infection, not the inflammation.
Inflammation does not necessarily mean infection every time.

The answer may lie in an on-farm culture. On-farm cultures can often identify the existence of infection and the type of bacteria causing the infection, so we have more control and responsible use of antibiotics.

The Cow’s Five Senses

The five senses


Vision is the foremost sense in cattle and is responsible for about half of the
sensory information they receive from their surroundings. Cattle have a 330°
vision, of this visual area, they have binocular vision for a limited area in front of
them. This is where they will have the clearest vision and ability to judge depth or
distance. In order to get the best possible vision, cattle will lower their head and
face the incitement of interest front on.
The rest of their visual field is monocular. This large monocular area is very
good for detecting predators, but they cannot judge distance here well. Because of
this poorer depth perception here, it is best to approach a cow from the side, but
moving at a slow pace. This will not spook the cow and allow you to approach
more closely than front on.
The remaining area around the cow is referred to as the blind spot. This is the
area directly behind the cow’s tail. If you approach the cow from her blind spot she
will not know you are there. Suddenly moving into or out of this position can upset
the animal and lead to flighty and erratic behaviour.
Cattle are less able to differentiate objects that differ in light intensity and
cannot see red colours as well as humans. This increases their colour contrast,
making shadows look more extreme compared to how we perceive them. Paired
with limited depth awareness, a block of shadow can look like a hole in the ground
to cattle. Shadows, very bright light and sparkling reflections will distract or slow
down cattle investigating their surroundings, often upsetting the smooth flow of
cows in a laneway. Cattle are also motivated to move from areas of low light to well
lit areas. Conversely, they will avoid moving from well lit to dark areas.
Taking cattle’s visual sense into consideration is very important when trying to
move them. In both free moving and tethered cattle, moving them can be much
easier if lighting is even, the area free of distracting and unfamiliar objects, and
you don’t make sudden, significant movements.


Cattle are very sensitive to high frequency sounds and have a wider range of
hearing than humans (a human’s auditory range is from 64 to 23 000 Hz, cattle’s
from 23 to 35 000 Hz). Despite having a greater range of auditory detection than
people, cattle have greater difficulty in locating the origin of sounds and will use
their sight to assist them determine the source. High pitched noises such as
whistling are also unpleasant to cows. Intermittent sounds such as clanging of
metal (e.g. gates), shouting and whistling can be particularly stressful, especially if
they are sudden and at a loud volume.

Due to their evolution as prey animals, cattle have a very acute sense of smell.
Cattle select their feed on the basis of smell and can detect odours many kilometres
away. They will avoid places containing urine from stressed animals, and for this
reason may be reluctant to enter places where cattle have been previously handled
such as raceways and cattle crushes. They dislike the smells of dung and saliva, so
when housed, their feeding area needs to be kept clean and smell fresh, not
contaminated with dung, saliva or exudate from other cows’ noses. Herd hierarchy
is strongly linked to smell, as shown by studies where the social order among cows
was unaltered by blindfolding them.
As well as a sensitive nose, they have an additional olfactory sensitive organ,
called the vomeronasal organ, on the roof of their mouth. The reception of odours
by this organ is used for the reinforcement and maintenance of sexual interest.
When seeking and finding a suitable cow on heat, this is characterised by the
‘flehman expression’ in mating bulls, in which the head is directed upwards with
the mouth ajar, the tongue flat and the upper lips curled back. This is thought to
aid odour sampling by allowing air to contact the roof of the mouth during
inhalation. Bulls appear to increase their olfactory behaviour about four days
before cows show signs of oestrus.
The production and detection of pheromones is another way cattle seek out
suitable stock for mating. For this reason, cows on heat spend much time sniffing
and licking the anal and vaginal areas of other cows. Other pheromones convey
fear. Cattle respond to pheromones produced in fearful situations by increasing
their own physiological stress response and fear behaviours. Cattle are also
sensitive to the odours of potential predators, like dogs, spending more time
sniffing the air and in cautious movement. In comparison to humans, cattle are
able to detect much smaller differences in odour concentration.

There are four primary tastes identifiable in cattle. These are:
● sweetness (associated with energy supply)
● saltiness (associated with electrolyte balance)
● bitterness (assists to avoid toxins and tannins that reduce the nutritive value of
● acidity (linked to pH balance).
The taste receptors are located in specific areas of the tongue, with differences
between cattle and humans in their taste discrimination, sensitivity and location
on the tongue. Cattle have two to three times as many taste buds as humans, and
so are more sensitive to tastes. Cattle can be apprehensive when it comes to eating
novel food – feed with unfamiliar tastes and smells. For example, they need
artificial sweeteners to mask bitter tastes such as zinc in water.


Skin receptors are used to detect pressure, movement, temperature and some
damaging pathological conditions such as inflammation. Humans have increased
sensitivity in their fingertips whereas cattle often use their extended mouth as a
sampling tool in exploratory situations.
Cattle perceive extreme ambient temperatures, relative humidities and/or wind
speed through thermoreceptors, skin dryness (particularly in the throat and nasal
passages) and mechanoreceptors. They learn their comfort or thermoneutral zones,
above and below which they must use physiological processes to sustain their core
body temperatures. They then modify their behaviour accordingly, such as seeking
cooler locations during hot weather to find more favourable microclimates. As the
lower critical temperature of adult cows is −23°C, they are rarely affected by cold
stress. Heat stress is a common problem, at 21°C cattle increase their respiration rate,
and at 25°C, above which they reduce feed intake to reduce metabolic heat……….


The dairy industry is swiftly changing. Dairies are becoming larger, more productive, and more intensively managed. High-quality labour may be difficult to attract and retain. The recent low milk prices have presented an all too obvious challenge. Consumers are increasingly demanding higher quality and safer products. Legitimate somatic cell count levels will likely be reduced in the next few years.



These changes require technical advances in milking systems to milk cows efficiently in a manner consistent with highest product quality and animal health. On most commercial dairies, the parlour is a major capital investment. It is also where the primary income source is reaped, where much of the labour is employed, and where the quality of the product is largely determined. For these reasons, parlour performance and efficiency discussions are common in today’s dairy industry. The goal of most dairies is to milk as many high-producing cows during each milking while still allowing time for adequate cleaning of the equipment. Several studies have shown teat condition and teat sanitation prior to unit attachment are key factors in reducing the new mastitis infection rate. Poor teat skin condition decreases the primary protective mechanism from mastitis. Roughened teat end conditions can cause difficulty in cleaning teat ends effectively. These factors can lead to higher new infection rates. Many herds in the United Kingdom have problems with good “milk ability”. Cows may be more reluctant to enter the parlour in these herds. In a parlour, poor milk ability can be spotted early in the milking process when cows move and step excessively during udder preparation practices. Stepping may also be seen soon after the units are attached and/or near the end of milking, often leading to a significant number of units being kicked off during milking. Excellent milk ability is present when cows have excellent milk flow as soon as the last teat cup is attached to the cow, with a steady, visible increase in flow until peak levels are reached. Peak flow should last 60 to 120 seconds, depending on the production of the cow. With excellent milk ability, milk flow will drop off rather quickly after peak milk flow is over. As the end of milking nears, milk flow should suddenly drop to very low levels. If equipment settings are proper, the unit will then be promptly removed. There should be minimal stepping and kicking throughout the entire milking process. Good milk ability requires adequate oxytocin prior to units being attached to cows. However, this creates a major dilemma in the industry. To achieve better performance from a parlour, the goal often becomes focused only on milking more cows. When more cows are milked, there may not be enough time allowed to properly prep cows for effective cleanliness and maximum oxytocin let-down. Unit on time (duration) is a key factor of parlour performance that has been largely ignored until recently. Unit on time is dependent on the amount of milk and the average claw vacuum under peak milk flow conditions. Adjusting systems to achieve average claw vacuum levels between 40 to 42 kpa under peak milk flow conditions will decrease the unit on time. Adjusting take off settings to remove units promptly upon completion of the milking will also significantly reduce the unit on time.


Research in both Europe and the United States has shown the key factor to reducing teat end hyperkeratosis is unit on time. To appreciate how unit on time contributes to reduced teat end hyperkeratosis, it is important to understand the normal pattern of milk flow from cattle during each milking. Immediately after the unit is attached to properly stimulated cows, milk flow increases rather rapidly until it reaches a peak milk flow rate. This peak flow rate is variable and depends to a great extent on the amount of milk actually given during a milking. After a period of peak milk flow, milk flow drops rather quickly. Depending on how the milking equipment is set, there can be a long period of extremely low flow and relatively higher vacuum exposure of the cows’ teats. The longer the period of relatively low flow, the longer high vacuum and increased pulsation cycles will be applied to the teat ends. This will lead to increased hyperkeratosis and a reduction in skin condition teat scores. Adjusting take-offs to remove units sooner will simply shorten the low flow/high vacuum phase at the end of milking. Removing units sooner and at a more appropriate time is important to improve teat end condition and teat end scores. However, earlier removal of units is in opposition to one of the oldest doctrines of the dairy industry: Under-milking the cow
Will cause new mastitis infections. This urban myth in fact is not true, but this perception is very difficult to overcome on some dairies… Proper udder preparation allows cows to milk quickly, completely and evenly, all of which are key factors to improving milk ability in the herd. Improved milk ability will improve the attitude of operators because fewer units will require readjustment or reattachment. Clearly, reducing unit on time offers distinct advantages to any dairy farm.

Will milk quality after Brexit have an impact on the future of your dairy?

How will milk quality after Brexit have an impact on the future of your dairy?

Milk quality means something different for every farmer in the dairy industry

Not only does quality mean something different for every producer, the way it’s measured or observed also differs,

If you’re a dairy farmer, the first thing you go to with milk quality is somatic cell count [SCC]. If you’re a buyer, bacteria counts are critical for lots of different reasons, like product safety, product quality and yield.

The key party of the dairy farm chain we often forget about is the consumer.
To the consumer, milk quality is something completely different in what we think about.
The consumer want to know how the cows are treated are they looked after well
This is why it is vital to please the consumer, and milk buyers want to produce an outstanding product, the milk quality “premium” to the dairy producer is not generated at the consumer level but at the processor level. Is that premium changing?
After Brexit, quality premiums may be a thing of the past we have to transition from producing quality milk because it makes you more money.

Will milk be picked up if you consistently make a 300,000 to 400,000 SCC or high bacteria count?

So why the change?
We will be on the world markets to keep ahead of the game we need to shift to better milk quality.

Every dairy farmer has the skill to produce high-quality milk and, in the future, it’s not going to be an option dairy processors are going to have to produce a higher -quality product.
Your milk might go to the same plant every day, but the components of that milk they produce – like the whey protein concentrate and all those other pieces – go in different directions, and quality impacts all of those.
Don’t accept high cell counts and  bacteria counts,

These are based on views on other developing countries that have reacted to world trends.

host-defence of the teat canal and resistance of cows to mastitis.

A REVIEW of the latest scientific literature indicates that there is a marked difference in teat end closure after milking dependent on the condition of the teat end score.

Not all cows are the same!

The teat cistern and the gland cistern are connected by the annular ring. The teat canal is surrounded by muscle in the form of a sphincter which has the function of closing teat canal.

The teat end is the first barrier against invading pathogens. The structural and physical features of the teat canal determine the regeneration rate of teat canal keratin to inhibit penetration of udder pathogens. It is theorised that up 40% of the keratin lining is removed at each milking and, therefore, it requires constant regeneration. Consequently, it is important to ensure that the Teat canal is closed post milking.

It is assumed that as milk production increases, more keratin is lost during milking.

This is the reason why it is recommended that cows should stand for at least 30 minutes post milking in a clean manure free area before returning to the cow housing.

During the post milking period cows close the teat with a keratin plug, some cows never form a complete keratin plug post milking.

After bacteria breach the teat end, they are taken up and destroyed by the cow’s immune defence.
Cows with ketosis have a lower defence and immune response.

Ketosis is a metabolic disorder that occurs in cattle when energy demands (e.g. high milk production) exceed energy intake and result in a negative energy balance. Ketosis cows often have low blood glucose (blood sugar) concentrations.

When large amounts of body fat are utilised as an energy source to support production, fat is sometimes mobilised faster than the liver can properly metabolise it. If this situation occurs, ketone production exceeds ketone utilisation by the cow, and ketosis results.

This also varies dependant on the cows, Clinical ketosis has been shown to increase in the risk of clinical mastitis and ketotic cows can experience more severe clinical mastitis.

These findings provide new insights into understanding host-defence of the teat canal and resistance of cows to mastitis.

What are your aims for the coming year?

Is your  aim  to reach the top 25% of the current milk market for all milk quality measurements.
A low cell count along with low bactoscan and thermoduric counts reduced mastitis incidence and overall improve general health of your herd.

You have to look at the cost of a case of mastitis for your farm, track the cost in your herd.

Many dairy producers do not believe mastitis costs as much as studies suggests. Many producers think of mastitis costs as the price of intramammary antibiotic tubes. Dumped milk is valued at zero because waste milk is fed to calves. The financial losses based on the grade of mastitis, stage of lactation, reduced peaks, lower conception rates and damaged lactation curves do not show up on your financial report so money lost is unseen. But mastitis affects your bottom line every day.

The economic impact of mastitis is typically much larger than many dairy farmers think; much work has been done to estimate losses at the cow level, the herd level, and the industry level. Understanding the economic effects of mastitis, including partial budgeting for mastitis will highlight the cost, it is time dairy farmers budgeted for mastitis costs?

Education is the key looking forward and introducing mastitis control plans and implementing them with your team.
This belief of negative cost can be transmitted to your employees.
If you have 40% of clinical cases as is suggested its 40 cows per 100.
Highlighting the number of cases in the view of your team can be an eye opener and an education many workers are not privy to this information.
Is your challenge to improve herd health ?

E. coli mastitis

Escherichia coli or known as E. coli is a gram-negative, rod-shaped, a common kind bacterium that lives originally in the intestines of animals (such as sheep and cattle, etc.), usually in the lower guts of warm-blooded ruminant animals and can be found in the guts of humans as well. A large group of bacteria called coliform bacteria is where E. coli part of and this group plays a helpful role in the animals’ nutrition, but the waste or feces of these animals are saturated with the high content of bacteria.

Please don’t assume that they don’t spread during milking. Just like with contagious bacteria, infected cows can contaminate the cluster and spread infection to other cows during milking. However, unlike contagious bacteria, preventing cow-to-cow spread during milking will not eliminate environmental mastitis. This is because parlour routine does not tackle spread from the environment to the cow. To control environmental mastitis, you should assess environmental hygiene as well as parlour routine. Parlour routine, alongside dry cow antibiotics, has been effective in reducing contagious mastitis but the  control of environmental mastitis has been much less effective, so that environmental mastitis now accounts for more than 50% of mastitis cases in UK cattle. All farms need to include environmental milking management in their mastitis control plan.

The two most important bacteria in this group are E. coli and Strep uberis. Of the two bacteria, Strep uberis is the one that spreads more rapidly during milking, while E. coli is the one that is most commonly linked with severe toxic mastitis. However, some strains of E. coli can also be spread  during milking and the majority of mastitis caused by E. coli is mild in nature.

A soiled environment! E. coli comes from the gut, so anywhere where cow faeces can come into contact with the udder, will provide a potential source of coliform mastitis. Bedding is the most important source, particularly organic bedding where the bacteria can grow and multiply. However areas around feeding or water troughs are also risk areas as slurry around these can get splashed onto the udder. Outside of the udder, Strep uberis is also found in the intestines but, compared to E. coli; it is much more commonly found elsewhere on the cow, particularly the skin. Strep uberis has a fantastic ability to develop outside of the cow, particularly in straw. Both E. coli and Strep uberis, particularly the latter, can also cause environmental mastitis in cows on pasture as they can survive for months in contaminated wet mud.
Non-organic bedding, such as sand, doesn’t support the growth of either E. coli or Strep uberis, so the use of such beds can reduce the risk of mastitis. However, these beds need to be kept clean as there is more -than enough organic material in a single faecal pat to support exuberant bacterial growth.
The peak time for infection with new environmental mastitis-causing bacteria is the dry period. Infection during the dry period is often unseen until the cow develops mastitis after calving. In order to control environmental mastitis, we have to focus on environmental management throughout the cow’s lactation cycle. Preventing environmental contamination in the dry cow is just as, if not more than, important as it is in the milking cow.
The latest research from the USA has pinpointed a lack of clean water or contaminated water troughs can be a source of e coli

E. coli can leech into your  water where in fact they can increase in numbers  E. coli can often be found in mud ,small ponds even in bore water.

Ensure mastitis records with good bacteriology are essential to tackling an environmental mastitis problem. Always take a milk sample from cows with mastitis before treating them for the first time, freeze it and when you have a problem you have a selection of samples available to test. Without good information, individualised targeted control programmes cannot be developed for your farm.

This past summer has been a big issue of increased infection of dairy cows due to strep uberis

This past summer has been a big issue of increased infection of dairy cows due to strep uberis

How to avoid Strep uberis?

What the experts say about preventing strep uberis mastitis in dairy cows.

Hygiene in Husbandry Conditions
An intramammary infection is initially preceded by contamination of the teats or the udder surface, whereby in indoor housing the risk of contamination during the housed period is determined by the design of the lying surfaces, the space per cow, the bedding material, the regularity of bedding addition, cleaning and disinfecting as well as the cows´ length of stay in the cubicles.
The fact that the rate of infection with environmental bovine mastitis is highest during the summer months accounts for increased bacterial counts in the bedding material. The indicator for the optimization effort in hygiene of the resting area is the cleanliness of the teats.
The objective should be for more than 90% of the animals to have only a few coarse dirt particles on the teats, which can be removed by simply wiping with a disposable towel or something similar. Feeding imbalances as well as fluctuations in the dry matter intake of the animals seem to affect the rate of clinical Strep. Uberis mastitis in dairy cows.

Machine milking can lead to the proliferation of Strep. Uberis into the glands, which can be avoided by carefully cleaning the teats prior to milking. This can, but does not have to, be carried out by means of disinfecting measures before milking.
A crucial point is that about 95% of the teats leave no or only slightly coloured residues on the disinfecting cloth with which they have had contact before the milking clusters are attached.
All the evidence points to cleaning the actual teat end.
If you’re using too much water, look at the housing and bedding.

The most evidential success of reducing strep uberis is to treat at the dry period

Mastitis is Mastitis

So I turned up on a farm with a very high cell count “the farmer said I am being penalised by the dairy for having a high cell count, but I don’t have any mastitis “

Categorizing mastitis
Once it is identified, it is important to identify the severity of mastitis as this is crucial in determining what treatment to give.

Subclinical mastitis: while appearing unaffected by the illness, may experience a reduction in yield potential due to the high SCC, and certainly represents a possible source of infection for other cows, who can become subclinical sufferers themselves, or may go on to show clinical signs of the illness, due to differences in immune status between cows.

Any milk that has a somatic cell count of more than 1,000 000 cells per millilitre is not fit for human consumption.

Mild mastitis: Abnormality of the milk is the main sign with little evidence of change in the udder and no systemic signs such as dullness and loss of appetite.

Moderate mastitis: Changes in the udder are detectable as well as changes in the milk. These changes can occur slowly or rapidly. There may be small systemic changes such as reduction in feed intake.
Over a long period of time both of these types of mastitis can persist, leading to chronic inflammation and damage in the udder (chronic mastitis).

Severe mastitis: Marked changes in the udder and milk are combined with major systemic effects in the cow such as fever, loss of appetite, depression, shock, dehydration, and collapse. These cows need urgent veterinary attention.

Whether we like it or not all the above are mastitis which occur in every UK dairy herd to varying degrees. And while it is easy and often routine to supply cows showing clinical disease with antibiotics, is the pain of the disease ever taken in to consideration?
“Its only Sub clinical mastitis doesn’t mean there is no pain”.

Antibiotics are undoubtedly important in the fight against mastitis infection, but if you were to ask any human female having experienced mastitis they would likely describe the pain as excruciating,

Sub Clinical mastitis can present itself in a wide degree of severity of symptoms which can range from low to high cells. The degree of illness and the symptoms present will depend on many factors, such as the nutritional or immune status of the cow, which pathogen is responsible for the inflammation, and a range of environmental factors such as cleanliness, humidity and ambient temperature. Moderate to severe clinical cases can be very painful and unpleasant for the cow

So what are you aiming for?
The generally-quoted aims for mastitis control and milk quality on UK dairy farms are:
A mastitis frequency rate of no more than 30 cases per 100 cows per year.
A mastitis persistence rate of no more than 20% of the herd affected per year.
A mastitis re-occurrence rate of less than 10% of the total number of cases.
A herd-average Somatic Cell Count below 150,000 cells/ml.

Maintaining a low bulk tank somatic cell count has always been a good dairy management strategy. Low somatic cell counts are associated with improved milk quality, increased shelf life and cheese yield after the milk leaves the farm, increased milk production, and reduced veterinary and drug costs.

Bulk tank somatic cell count (BTSCC) is the most commonly used measure of udder health on most dairy farms.
There are many reasons that BTSCC is used. High BTSCC is a good indicator of udder health problems on the farm. BTSCC is also readily available.

So, how do you know if you have an udder health problem despite a low BTSCC? The only way to know is to keep good records. Records can be kept on paper.

With regards to somatic cell counts in dairy cattle, the lower they are, the healthier your cows are, which in turn, means that the environment they are in, is good.
The inflammation of the udder causes large numbers of white blood cells (leucocytes) and epithelial cells to be released into the milk. It is these cells that are collectively known as somatic or body cells.

However, there is also other form of mastitis, called Subclinical Mastitis, where there is inflammation to the udder, but it isn’t noticeable. Everything looks normal, but when the milk is tested you have a high somatic cell count. This type of mastitis is common in 60-80% of all cases, and far more common than Clinical Mastitis.

Mastitis is basically an environmental disease, because the germs that cause it are everywhere. There is no magical way of controlling it, but as I said, you can reduce it by making sure that bedding is regularly replaced, and water sources are clean. Keep your fly population down. Any dairy equipment used should be clean, and udders totally dry when milking begins.

Having said that, mastitis can also be caused by incomplete milking, or improper drying off when it is done too quickly.

Most mastitis is caused by germs entering the udder through the teat canal. Therefore the teats should be checked regularly for cracks, cupped teats, enlarged milk ducts, warts, cuts, scratches etc. that would allow the germ to enter.

Of course the milking machines themselves don’t do the cows any favours either for mastitis and somatic cell counts. Often the vacuum rates and fluctuations cause the teats to be irritated, which in turn encourage infection. Using the milking machine on a cow with mastitis, followed by a healthy cow during the same milking session, without any cleaning in between, will result in spreading the infection.

Mastitis occurs when the dairy cow has few defences against infection due to either injury, or the sanitary or even mechanical aspects of the milking machines used, how the udders are handled during milking, the type of housing provided and any stress that the animal may be under, can all contribute to mastitis, which, in turn will result in a high somatic cell count.

STOP! Looking at controlling the symptoms, you should be looking at the causes. Good management of your dairy cattle will always work in your favour of keeping the somatic cell count down.