The entrance of the udder is known as the streak canal or
teat canal. It is surrounded by a band
of muscle tissue that keeps the canal closed.
The cavity within the teat is known as the teat sinus. It is separated from the udder cistern by a
ring of tissue known as the annular ring.
Canals connect to the udder cistern like the branches of a tree and
terminate in tiny circular areas known as alveoli which secrete milk.
Defence mechanisms of the streak canal or teat canal
1. Smooth muscle
sphincter surrounding the teat canal inhibits bacterial closure. Because the teat canal lumen can remain
dilated for up to 2 hours after milking
2. Keratin, a waxy
substance derived from the teat canal lining partially occludes the lumen of
the teat canal and inhibits bacterial penetration
3. Somatic Cells are
the most important natural defence mechanism to infection. Leukocytes (mostly PMN, polymorph nuclear
neutrophils) function by phagocytosing and killing bacteria. They may reach in the millions.
4. Antibodies and
other soluble factors in milk. They coat
bacteria and enhance PMN engulfment.
They also interfere with bacterial adhesion to tissues, reducing
multiplication and neutralizing toxins.
So how does your cow establish an infection?
1. The inherent
virulence of the bacterial species is often associated with is ability to adhere
to mammary epithelium and remain in the gland during lactation when the udder
is periodically flushed. Strep Ag and
Staph aureus adhere well. E. coli does
not adhere well but multiplies rapidly.
2. If bacteria are
eliminated by leukocytes, the infection is cleared!
3. Bacteria initially
affect tissues lining the large milking collecting ducts and cisterns. They enter small ducts and alveolar areas of
the gland by multiplication and via milk currents.
4. Bacteria produce
toxins and irritants that cause swelling and death of alveoli. This results in the release of substances
that increase blood vessel permeability and attract PMN to the affected area.
It seems one of dairy farming most neglected area is the dry cow’s with an added frustration of a mastitis infection.one clinical mastitis case alone is shown to cost £350 during the first 30 days in milk.
To prevent mastitis during the dry period, you should first
understand the two high-risk period cows can contract an infection
Immediately after dry-off
Right after a cow stops being milked, the udder will become
engorged, and her quarters may leak milk. The teats are also no longer being
dipped two to three times a day, and bacteria are not being flushed out from
milking, making your cows vulnerable to mastitis.
At dry-off, farmers will habitually use an antibiotic to clear up any remaining infections from the previous lactation and to prevent new infections that may occur in the dry cowshed or environment .
Mastitis treatment during the dry period generally results
in higher cure rates than during lactation, and it’s the most effective time to
treat a subclinical infection.
Ensure the dry cow shed is cleaned and dry, passages are scraped twice daily, beds are cleaned daily, plenty of clean fresh water, think about you stocking limit,
The end of the dry period going into
the next lactation
A cow’s udder will start to develop and produce colostrum
near the end of the dry period. Once again, her udder will start to fill, and
teats may leak. However, now the treatments that were used shortly after
dry-off are below what we call the “minimum inhibitory concentration” to be
effective against bacteria. Few antibiotics will provide full protection for
the entire dry period.
Teat sealants can play a valuable role in defending against
mastitis throughout dry-off. They provide a sterile, antibiotic-free physical
barrier between the udder and its environment. Sealants also work well in
conjunction with antibiotic therapy.
Internal teat sealants have been designed to last across the
entire dry period and simulate a cow’s natural first line of defence, the
keratin plug; keratin seals the teat end against harmful bacteria. But we need
to ensure internal sealants are used properly. The teat end should be
thoroughly sanitized before infusion. Without proper hygiene and preparation,
organisms present on the teat end may be forced into the udder and can cause
infection, especially if gram-negative bacteria are introduced.
During administration the area where the teat joins the
udder should be pinched so the sealant is only applied into the teat cistern.
Contact your supplier to introduce an external teat sealant,
which could last several days.
The National Mastitis Council’s Recommended Mastitis Control
Program suggests using a teat sealant on dry cows exposed to a high level of
Even with the best management practices in place, mastitis
infections after calving do happen
There are a number of resources available for producers
looking to improve or refine their dry cow mastitis protocols. The National
Mastitis Council is a global organization dedicated to mastitis control and
milk quality. Its website (nmconline.org) offers helpful
A recent farm visit the Dairy farmer was complaining about
elevated somatic cell counts long-suffering to the fact that it was never going
to change on his farm.
This evaluation was conducted on one farm. Each farm is diverse
with different procedures.
Why have you never had consistently low somatic cell count
(SCC)? You tried everything to bring your SCC down.
You asked consultants to look at your records and
facilities. You use bucket fulls of hydrated lime, and the most expensive sanitizing
solutions. You bed with sawdust. During the summer months the cows are clean,
yet the SCC is on the margin of a huge deduction.
You have changed teat dips, changed your prepping procedure,
you started stripping every cow. You can spend a shed load off money to buy the
best and nothing seems to help.
You have been told to stop spraying the floors while cows
were in the parlour, still no change. It comes to a point where you think this is
as good as it gets so have you given up. What changed? It’s pretty simple start
with the basics. No water. At all. Wash your hands as needed, and if a cow
literally poops directly on you, you spray it or scrape it away. But while cows
are in the parlour, don’t hose anything.
For the first few days you might have a panic attack.
Everything is dirty, and it might drive you crazy.
You might find that you are drier and cleaner. If you see a particularly large clump of manure right where you want to put my hand, use a dirty milking towel to clean it off.
The best part? It took a while for the SCC to drop, but it eventually did. The better part? You treat a lot less mastitis. We’ve always talked about how water is the perfect carrier for bacteria never wash units or the walk ways while the cows are in the parlour
Yet most farms I go to still spray water around the cows
before after and even during milking
The milkers are wet through after the milking. take a look at yourself are you soaking wet ?
The easy response is we have done it like this for years,
has it worked?
The first questions that must be answered in order to make balanced
decisions about the type and size of milking parlour for a dairy farm are:
What is the desired milking routine? The amount of time required to complete the pre-milking routine on each cow determines the number of milking units and milking stalls that each operator can use effectually. If you want excellent milking routines (teat and udder sanitation, effective stimulation, appropriate prep-lag times) in the parlour, it must be sized to encourage the preferred outcome. A parlour that is too big will encourage the operators to take short cuts and not implement the complete milking routine. A parlour that is too small will result in bored workers and early unit attachment.
What question should you be asking your yourself?
Parlours should be sized to complete the actual milking in 1hour 30 minutes and should allow for future herd expansion. yes someone that milks a thousand cows , however they are normally batched in 250 plus
Herd sizes will continue to grow in the UK. The average herd
size is now in excess of 100 cows.
This has increased steadily year on.
Against this trend many farmers are milking in unsuitable
parlours and need to invest. With high labour costs, even problems recruiting
labour, and higher yielding cows, the recent fashion has been to install
milking parlours with a greater number of units to be handled by one operator
Installing a new parlour is an expensive, once in a
generation investment and should be planned very carefully.
To remain in business do you need to invest in a new parlour?
What new parlour you will require?
Modern parlour designs have been developed for increased
herd size and integrate automation in the herringbone, auto-tandem and rotary configurations.
How many cows can I milk per hour comfortably? , can I expand my parlour in the
future? , will my cows be comfortable? It is still shocking that cows are tight
in the parlour with little concern for their movement
Who will be operating the parlour? How many per unit ?The skill level and motivation level of the people in the parlour will determine how efficiently the milking routine will be applied.
Will the parlour be used as a place to provide special treatment to cows? Some parlour types are more suited to providing individual cow care than others.
What is the expected production level, milking interval and cow grouping strategy? These factors will influence the average amount of time that milking units stay on cows.
What sort of work environment do you want to provide for the operators? Some parlour types are wide some are narrow , rotary parlours have static operators , speed of the rotary how fast will it run, are the units coming off half way around , long herringbone parlours take their toll on area covered , do you want territorial milking
With the answers to these questions in hand let’s continue
to look at the main types of milking parlours in use today.
Side opener parlours usually are located on the end of a
holding area with two entrance lanes similar to herringbone and parallel parlours.
A gate at the entrance point between the holding area and the milking parlour
holds the cow until an empty stall is ready. The parlour may be organized to
allow the cows to exit in return lanes on either side of the operator area or
cross over to a single return lane on one side. The use of a single return lane
(compared to dual returns) reduces not only the cost of the parlour itself but
also the facilities to catch and/or sort cows when leaving the parlour. A
single return lane does not slow down cow flow in this parlour type because
cows are released individually.
Side opening, tandem and in line parlours handle cows one at
a time so a slow-milking cow does not delay the end of milking and release of
other cows in the parlour. These parlours are well suited to farms that take
special care about observing individual cows and practice individual cow care
in the parlour. The throughput of these parlours is less affected by variations
in cow milk out times the number of stalls in a side-opening parlour is usually
limited to 4 to 8 for one operator and 8 to 12 for two operators. Stall lengths
quickly add up to excessive walking time and difficulty in keeping track of
distant milking machines. These parlours have received a recent return to
interest because of extra computer controlled automation. If auto detachers are
used, the detacher can signal that a unit has been removed and the cow
automatically let out, the gate closes and another cow is allowed to enter the
This parlour type has a high stall use rate (7 to 8
cows/stall/hour) which makes it an economical choice for farms using a high
level of automation and technology and is well suited to farms with up to about
200 cows that practice a high level of management. This parlour type is not
easily expandable, but if designed properly can be converted into a herringbone
or parallel parlour with more milking stalls in the future.
Herringbone parlours are the most common parlour type in the
UK, Cows stand on an elevated platform in an angled or herringbone facing away
from the operator area. This exposes enough of the back half of the cow to
allow access to milk her from the side and room for an arm type detacher and supplementary
Herringbone parlours are located on the end of a rectangular
collection area allowing cows to enter single file as a group directly into
either side of the parlour. Once milked the cows exit single file by walking
straight ahead and out of the parlour. In most layouts the cows make either a
180-degree turn down a return lane back past the holding area or a 90-degree
turn and out a side door or across the parlour to a return lane on the other
side. Parlours with more than 12 stalls on a side benefit from rapid exit
stalls to speed up the exiting process. In this case the cows walk straight
away from the operator area in to a wide exit area. Normal design has a return
lane on either side so cows go directly from the exit area past the holding
area. However, cows on one side can be directed across to a single return lane
on the other side.
Cows stand on an elevated platform at a 90-degree angle
facing away from the operator area. Access to the udder is between the rear
legs, which reduces visibility of the front quarters and can make unit
attachment and udder user sanitation more difficult. This configuration makes
the walking distance shorter than in a herringbone parlour. The cow platform is
wider than a herringbone parlour to accommodate the length of the cow. Stall
fronts use small gates to position each cow. To assure that each position is
filled in order, a series of interlocking fronts prevent a position from being
used until the one next to it has been occupied. Most parallel parlours use
rapid exit stall fronts and use dual return lanes. The stall spacing in this parlour
type is critical. It is also more difficult to balance milking units on the
udder in this parlour. Cows can have foot issues as they turn on a steep angle.
Swing over parlours the cows are placed at a greater angle
from the operator (about 70 degrees) than in traditional herringbones but less
than 90 degrees as in a parallel. This configuration usually eliminates the
need for front positioners as used in a parallel. The sharp angle does not
expose enough of the cow’s body to allow milking from the side, however.
Procedures and equipment developed for milking between the hind legs are used. Milk
lines are typically mounted as “mid-level” or above the head of the operator
resulting in a lift from the udder to milk line of about 1 meter.
The width of the pit can vary between 5-8 feet, depending on
the length of parlour and number of operators. Cows can exit single file to the
front end of the parlour or to the sides of the parlour using a rapid exit type
front. Maximum cow movement efficiency is attained when cows walk straight in
from the holding area and exit straight out, without turning. It is recommended
that the cow platform be extended 2-3 cows beyond the pit into the holding area
to position these cows behind the last cow to be milked An adjustable breast
rail allows adjustment of the line of cows to position the rump up against the
rump rail to position the udder as close as possible to the operator pit. The
rump rail can be a straight rail or an “S” rail and is usually located directly
above the edge of the cow platform. A hock rail is placed approximately 8
inches below the rump rail to prevent cows kicking backward and stepping off
the platform. A manure splashguard can be placed above the rump rail to direct
manure to the platform instead of the pit.
The primary advantage of a swing parlour is that fewer
milking units are needed and stall designs are simpler, both of which reduce
the initial cost of the parlour. The main disadvantage is this parlour type is clutter
and (especially for a slow milking cow and/or cow requiring special attention.
This parlour type is not suited to the use of support devices and automatic
detachers are typically mounted above the milk line.
The advantage of the rotary parlour is that the cow movement functions are largely automated, freeing the operators to tasks more directly associated with milking. Rotary parlours typically require three operators: one for unit attachment, one to apply pre milking teat dip and one to tend to any problems occurring while cows are traveling around (reattach units, tend to liner lips, etc.). This parlour type is not expandable. And the capital cost is usually higher per stall than for non-moving parlours. Because of these characteristics, rotary parlours are best suited to larger herds (>600 cows). One advantage of a rotary parlour is that the work routine very territorial and constant. Milking procedures will in general be much more consistent and efficient in a large rotary parlour (60 stalls) than in an equivalently sized herringbone or parallel parlour (double 30). Rotary parlours usually use a ‘face-in’ configuration and are subject to all of the same disadvantages of a parallel milking parlour. It is more difficult to provide any special cow care on a rotary platform than a static parlour. “
Cows should not be forced to stand for longer than is absolutely necessary, particularly in collecting yards, and where herds are separated into groups for milking, any opportunities to manage these groups in such a manner that standing times can be reduced should be investigated, so that cows do not have to stand too long with extra pressure on their hooves
When cows raise their heads up over the backs of other cows, it is an indication that there is not enough space available and additional pressure will be put on the feet through cows pushing and being less able to place their feet comfortably
Backing gates, while making a significant labour-saving contribution, need to be used carefully – particularly the heavy-framed type that work by pushing cows by force – as often the cows standing at the back of the yard are either already suffering from mobility problems that will be exacerbated by being forced to move, or are more nervous and at greater risk of injury from slipping.
The latest dairy cow study has never been more exciting from
The Dairy Industry is growing fast because some of the dairy
farms are using latest technologies. These verities of technologies are planned
to increase effectiveness and better cow management; along with increasing farm
profitability and productivity.
However the latest research paper is a simple as can be, now
I know a lot of progressive farmers would say well we knew that any way, I can
assure some farmers are not and have never been aware and to publish a paper to
reiterate that a study undertaken can have a valued result on you cows and milk
So what’s it all about, it’s quite simple keep the routine consistent
keep cow’s calm, adrenalin secretion prior to milk harvesting blocks milk
release and reduces yield
The study found that a consistent routine will aid good let down,
oxytocin release and calm cows increased yield up to 20 %
Bimodal milking is poor milking efficiency, cows that were
excited and in fear, figures showed a reduction in milk yield.
So keeping your cows calm stress free increases milk production,
why not give it a try, create an optimal milking environment
Cows are a creature of habit consistency is the key trying
to hurry and exciting cows has a detrimental effect on milk harvesting.
The study focused on the milkers, cow entry and cow exit
The study showed that different preparation resulted in poor
let down different milkers with different attitudes affected milk harvest,
shouting and whistling affected cow entry
Forcing cows into the milking parlour
And forcing cows out had an impact on cow stress.
The milking equipment was checked and adjusted to cause as
little distress and pain.