Pre – Dipping

Mastitis control plans support pre-dipping. It is one of the best methods to reduce pathogens on the teat surface and an excellent process against mastitis. Many producers have taken on board the procedure and have noticed a substantial impact on the reduction of clinical mastitis and a reduction of somatic cell counts. Other producers have observed minimal impact.

Pre-dipping is applying a germicidal solution to the teats before milking machine attachment. It is an extra for the other aspects of good pre-milking sanitation. It will help ensure that the udders are clean and dry before machine attachment and will replace the use of an udder wash.

The germicide should be left on the teats for at least 30 seconds longer dependant on teat condition and soiling having cracked and organic matter on the teats will render the solution inactive. This then ensures that the solution has acceptable contact time. Teat dips require at least this amount of time to effectively kill the bacteria. This preparation will not be fully effective if the teat dip is removed too soon after application.

Pre-dipping will not work for an exceptionally contaminated environment.

Manufacturers state pre dip Kills major mastitis causing bacteria picked up from environment not contagious and not all pathogens.

DIPPING: Fill teat cup ⅔ full with pre dip.  Dip teats of every cow, making sure that the full length of the teat is immersed. Allow recommended contact time, then using a single service paper towel, wipe & dry the teats thoroughly, before continuing with the normal milking routine.  Top up with fresh solution as required.  Empty & wash out cups after milking.

SPRAYING: Spray the entire surface of each teat of every cow with pre dip. Allow recommended contact time, then using a single service paper towel, wipe & dry the teats thoroughly, before continuing with the normal milking routine.

Teat washing or udder wash, done without care, can actually greatly add to bacterial contamination of the teat canal due to pathogens present in the water being carried from higher up the teat towards the teat orifice. Washing could remove any natural oils present on the teat, contributing to the drying of teat skin, which in turn may cause skin damage or cracking where bacteria can easily colonise.

Where teats are washed they must be dried thoughrly , this will then  avoid bacterial contamination entering the teat orifice wet teats increase the  possibility of liner slip and squawks. The preferred method is to use individual towels, one per cow and washed and dried after each milking, but the use of clean paper towels is adequate.

Pre-dips and sprays tend to work differently to post-dip treatments – as they have to perform differing functions, although the types of chemicals used for pre-milking treatments are mostly the same chemical as those used for post-milking treatments. The liquids, foams and gels available as pre-milking disinfectants are designed to kill pathogens very quickly, whereas post-milking treatments have a longer term contact effect.

The chemical manufacturers will specify a time period, in which the dip or spray has to remain on the teat before it is wiped off. However dependant on your teat condition you may need more contact time, remember these are just guidelines.

Bimodal Milking.

It is very important to understand the need for good cow throughput but with the proper preparation and unit attachment procedures in order to promote good udder health.

These structured issues should be combined to achieve good cow throughput with excellent teat preparation and unit placement.

Poor Stimulation shows milk -letdown with no let down for 50seconds

Milking-Time Test shows bimodal milking

A milking –time test involves accurate monitoring of flow rates from individual cows throughout milking.

Milking –time test are now the standard as values of good milking health and hygiene are used on dairies to determine if there are concerns or problems with prep routines and flow rates. It can also be used to monitor flow rates from cows assigned to different milking preparation routines to determine if the routines produce different outcomes for flow rate profiles, peak flows and  bimodal milking.

On many farms where the interval between teat prep and unit attachment is too short it is common to see bimodal let down profiles. Initially the cistern milk is removed and a certain flow rate is seen. It then reduces significantly for a period before increasing again as full let down finally ensues and alveolar milk is released by the oxytocin effect. During this low flow period there may be increased liner slips and squawks and potential unit falloffs, all of which are a concern. It also may produce teat end irritation as the liner collapses on the near empty teat for a period of time before full flow resumes.

 Bimodal let-downs have usually been blamed for increasing unit on-times and for exposing teat ends to higher vacuum levels just like over milking from poor settings on unit detachment.  New research has revealed that the higher teat end vacuum is real but not the only issue

Latest research shows a bimodal let-down have less milk is harvested on average from the gland. At this time it is assumed that the elevated claw vacuum is producing changes to the teat end, narrowing the streak canal, increasing teat crawl and restricting milk flow.

This occurrence appears to be related, the longer the bimodal event, the less milk harvested.

 A 30-60 second bimodal milking may harvest up to 1.5kg. less milk during a single event.  A bimodal milking greater than 60 seconds may harvest as much as 3kg. less milk.  The milk left in the gland is beyond residual milk

An adequate goal for herd level bimodal milking events should be less than 15%.  Primiparous and multiparous mid to late lactation cows typically have a higher incidence than fresh and peak production cows.  I am finding more and more herds with bimodal events averaging 40-50%.  The most extreme example was a herd with 75% bimodal events. 

Good preparation routines should stimulate quick milk let down and maximum peak milk flows. Based on a recent controlled research where comparisons were made with short prep routines (units attached less than 60 seconds after teat stimulation) with a normal routine (units attached 90 seconds after teat stimulation) they found bimodal milking improved. Fast milk out is valuable as long as end of milking flow rate threshold settings for unit removal are set for quick unit removal. If not, then extended unit on time with very low milk flow rates can lead to additional teat end irritation.

The above graph shows excellent and consistent milk let-down with good stimulation

The milking-time test objectively monitors milk flow-rate graphs on a select number of cows to understand what is happening. Ideally, once units are attached there should be few bi-modal flow patterns, peak flow would be reached quickly and units should be promptly removed when the low flow-rate setting are reached. Doing so improves udder health, teat-end condition and parlour throughput. low-rat

Common Myths about Cows You Grew up Believing

I recently had the time to visit a long lost school friend whom resides in Birmingham City Centre a world away from the rural
agrarianism , we ended up along with several other people around the table striking up a conversation about cows It started by addressing the long held myths some people truly believe .

Myth 1: Cows Have 4 Stomachs

This is one of the most common myths about cows of all time. We all grew up believing that cows had 4 stomachs and loved impressing people with that fact. But sadly, it’s not true.

Cows actually have one stomach with 4 compartments. They belong to a group of animals called ruminants– animals that have 4 stomach compartments.

Each compartment has a different purpose for the cow’s digestive system. Here’s a breakdown of these compartments:

The Rumen: This is the largest compartment, and it’s where the cow digests her feed. It’s also where nutrients are broken down and fermented, converting into energy.

The Reticulum: When the cow’s food gets here next, it gets filtered so that anything the cow wasn’t supposed to eat doesn’t make it any further. For example, she could have accidentally eaten a piece of wire or a rock. Cud is formed here, too.

The Omasum: Here, the food is filtered and broken down. Water is squeezed out, and cud is broken down.

The Abomasum: This is the final stage. Nutrients found from breaking down the food are either sent into the cow’s bloodstream or her intestines.

Myth 2: Cows Don’t Sweat.

This myth is a little more complicated than a “yes” or “no” answer.

Technically, cows don’t sweat in the same way that other mammals do. They don’t have the same type of sweat glands that other animals have.

But cows do technically sweat. It’s done through a natural heat evaporation system in the body.

Heat evaporates out of their body when they’re too hot, but it happens so fast you may not have noticed any damp skin.

So, while they may not be panting or visibly sweating like other animals, they are definitely managing the heat.

They also deal with heat through their respiratory glands. When it gets too hot, a cow’s body will naturally begin to store and reduce use of water, like urinating less, to prevent dehydration.

Myth 3: Cows Hate The Colour Red.

People believe this because matadors in bullfights use red flags to trigger the bull’s attention.

But the truth is that cows actually can’t see the colour red. They are red-green colour-blind.

This means that they see every shade of red and green as a shade of black and grey. But they don’t see entirely black and white! They can also see shades of yellow and blue.

So why do matadors always use red flags in their bullfights?

It’s the movement of the flag that catches the bull’s attention, not the colour of the flag. So the red flag is simply more of a tradition and part of the costume.

You’d probably be angry, too, if you had a flag being waved in your face!

Myth 4: Milk is full of antibiotics.

This is totally false.  Any milk that leaves the farm cannot have antibiotics in it.  All milk is tested for antibiotics before the processor even accepts it from the farm.

Myth 5: Cows don’t produce cream in milk

The standardised cow’s milk that you find in supermarkets or most corner shops is most likely homogenised. When you homogenise milk you force it through small holes so that the fat molecules break down and stay suspended in the liquid, preventing the cream from rising to the top.

Because the fat in homogenised milk is evenly distributed, it creates a uniform product that makes it easier for big dairy producers to mix lots of different milks from different herds together. It also makes it easier to filter the milk into different fat percentages. Homogenising cow’s milk adds no nutritional value.

Myth 6: Farmers hate their cows and are cruel to them

You can visit any dairy farm and see how Dairy farmers care for their cows, both because they are the basis of their farm process and because it’s simply the right thing to do.

Myth 7:Milking machines hurt the cow’s teats

The milking machines work by placing a suction cup over each teat. The suction is not constant, but more like a wave, so that it mimics the non-continuous action of a calf sucking.

Most milking machines are regularly serviced so they milk the cow gently, quickly and completely .

Happy cows liked to be milked .

Incomplete Milking

Incomplete milking means that an unacceptable amount of milk is left in the udder after teatcups are removed.

Milk left in the alveoli is residual milk. Milk left in the ducts or udder cisterns is referred to as available milk or stripping’s.

Residual milk cannot be removed, even by careful machine or hand-stripping, without an injection of oxytocin. Typically, residual milk may be 1-3 kg or about 10-20% of total milk in the udder. Higher amounts may result from incomplete milk ejection associated with poor milking routines, frightened or nervous cows, sore teats or uncomfortable milking equipment.
Lactating heifers have less residual milk than older cows. The percentage of residual milk is greater for lower producing cows than for higher producing cows. Cows with a higher percentage of residual milk usually have a lower persistency of lactation

Incomplete removal of the available or stripping’s milk occurs when:

• Teatcups are removed well before the last of the available milk drains into the udder cisterns,

• The milk pathway between the udder cistern and teat sinus, in one or more of the four quarters, becomes blocked near the end of milking. Such blockages occur when clusters do not hang evenly on the udder and/or when one or more of the four teats moves too deeply into its teatcup—referred to as teatcup crawling. The most common causes of incomplete milking due to such flow restrictions near the end of milking

• Poor condition of the liner;

• Clusters that do not hang evenly on the udder because the connecting hoses are too long, too short, twisted or poorly aligned in relation to the cow;

• High milking vacuum levels;

• A mismatch between the claw inlet and the short milk tube causing partial closure of the short milk tube where it joins the claw.

Evidence between completeness of milking and new mastitis infection rates is contradictory. Most of the older research suggested that mastitis increased when the last drop of milk was not removed.

Latest studies showed that small quantities of milk left in the udder did not increase new infection rate or clinical mastitis, and some studies found higher levels of infection associated with machine stripping.

The latest findings are not unexpected. It is likely that the new mastitis infection rate would be increased by excessive machine stripping which causes sudden air admission into one or more teatcups just before the teatcups are removed.

Most liner slip is before and after milk let down. Any increase in rate of cup slippage can increase the risk of mastitis.

Monitoring milking, the mean stripping’s yield is typically less than 0.25 kg per cow. A problem exists if an average of more than 0.75 kg of stripping’s milk is left in a cow’s udder when teacups are removed.

Uneven weight distribution between the four quarters can cause incomplete milking, uneven milk-out and liner slips. Ideally, the milking unit should hang squarely

Twisting or pulling of the milk hose can alter the alignment.

There is a long-held belief that leaving milk in the udder will lead to mastitis.

The greater concern is the risk of over-milking, which occurs when attempting to extract every last drop of milk from the udder. This can lead to teat-end damage.

Over-milking may also Increase the likelihood of transfer of infection between quarters during the period of little or no milk flow. Consequently, over milking should be avoided.

A moderate level of incomplete milking (e.g. strip yields of up to 1 litre of milk per udder) does not increase the risk of mastitis.

Leaving the unit on with no milk flow can elevate intramammary pressure resulting from milk retained in the udder after milking cessation this then could lead to tissue damage and pain.

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.