Forces Applied to the teat End

Researchers have constructed a force transducer to study the forces exerted by the liner on the teat during milking. The objective was to develop a method of comparing the action of different liners under a variety of different milking conditions… They have published on the ‘touch-point pressure ‘of liners and the ‘compressive load applied across the teat. Consistent finding is that the forces applied to the teat tip are several times greater than those applied to the sides of the teat barrel. This difference in force is intentional. When a liner closes around the teat during the D phase and some latest research commenting on the C phase of the pulsation cycle, the purpose is to squeeze the teat from the tip such that the waste fluids of tissue metabolism can pass back into the normal circulatory system of the udder. The increased pressure applied to the curved teat end is a result of the tension along the liner length that results from it being stretched within the shell assembly. The degree of stretch and the way in which the liner delivers its force to the teat end depends on the teat shape and the characteristics of the liner and shell. Since there is little that can be done about the variety of teat end shapes within the herd, changes can be made in the degree of callosity or hyperkeratosis by using different liner and shell combinations

Some teat end lesions may be explained by observations that the liner collapses in a fixed plane, and liner pressure can vary with lateral teat position and depth of teat penetration.

Dry split and Calloused teat ends provide a better environment for bacterial survival outside the cow and any multiplication of bacteria will occur in extremely close proximity to the teat orifice. It is perhaps not without reason to suppose that a heavily calloused teat end may also behave differently once infection is forced up the teat orifice and into the udder. In other words, what can be seen outside the teat may imply changes within the teat that are also associated with an increased risk of new infection.

10 Ways to Develop a Success-Oriented Mind-set in dairy farming

1. You have an issue you need to challenge.

You gain confidence by overcoming challenges, but when you fail to put yourself in challenging new situations you assume the outcome won’t be positive, you and your business will be unable to grow.

(Not every day is perfect)

2. Be open to finding a Mentor.

Getting help for self-improvement and business successes is essential. But many Farmers assume that finding a mentor is as simple as asking for help.

A mentorship doesn’t work that way. Instead, professionals need to put themselves in situations where they can build real open and honest relationships with you.

(Talking in snippets does not help)

3. Think of failure as a learning opportunity.

Failure is an outstanding learning opportunity. If you find yourself succeeding frequently, it may be a sign that you aren’t challenging yourself enough.dont be scared of trying again.

Develop a mind-set that views failure as an experience to learn from. We all fail!

4. Cherish your proudest moments.

While it’s important to focus on the present and future instead of the past, preserving a collection of moments you’re proud of can serve as a helpful reminder when you’re feeling down.

(Reflecting on how your parents fed the country in world war two is wonderful) move on!

5. Look for the best advisors and learn from them

Environment plays a significant role in creating our mind-sets. After all, we’re social creatures and are influenced by those around us. Surround yourself with capable individuals who can teach you knew things and who can encourage you to grow personally and professionally.

(Selective drying off to reduce antibiotic use is just one example)

6. Find time to disconnect from stressors.

Disconnect from work-related stress that can make it difficult to adopt a success-oriented mind-set.

(Remember you have a family talk to them )

7. Develop a simple happy morning routine.

Be happy stress free, encourage your staff to be happy and content.

(Going out in the morning moaning about another milk price drop to staff is not positive, there is not a lot you can do about it ,your negativity relays back to your staff)

8. Set time-bound and achievable personal goals.

Take a different approach to goal setting. Create time-bound goals that you know are achievable from the outset. Approaching goal setting from this angle will help to build your confidence, which in turn will reshape your thinking.

(So your severe mastitis treatment rate is 40% aim for 30 %)

9. Listen to your instincts.

Trust your instincts.

( I am feeding my cows tons of corn but yield isn’t going up )

10. Avoid stagnation.

If you feel as though you aren’t learning new things in your personal or professional life, it’s time to change.

Getting up milking cows, moaning about the milk price and just going through the motions is not for you. 

Hyperkeratosis and Teat Scoring

Teat orifice hyperkeratosis, a commonly observed condition in dairy cows, has been considered a consequence of machine milking and the degree of hyperkeratosis may be increased by a poor milking system. Teat scoring seems more popular and uses a scoring system from 0 for a perfect orifice to 5 for an orifice significantly enlarged with extensively protruding fronds of teat duct keratin.

Teat scoring procedure allows virtual measures of your cows. There is no suggestion between mean somatic cell count and degree of low level hyperkeratosis at the herd level. It appears that some hyperkeratosis is an obvious and probably natural response to milking and occurs in a significant proportion of animals in all herds although often only to a slight degree.

More Severe hyperkeratosis may be a measure of the performance and management of the herd.

The genetic influence at this time is unknown. Higher yielding cows will score higher as they milk for longer, but generally high scores may reflect consistent and possibly considerable over milking. Hyperkeratosis may be an indicator of the quality of management and show the level of attention being paid to the welfare of the herd.

Previous studies have shown that a mild degree of hyperkeratosis is not associated with an increased prevalence of clinical infection.

However severe hyperkeratosis was associated with more cases of subclinical and clinical mastitis.

Rough or damaged teat skin and teat sores provide sites for bacteria to become lodged, and multiply. Cracks and teat sores can be painful this leads to poor cow behaviour during milking, and poor milk let-down

Its coming to that time of the year again

Spring Turnout

Introducing your cows to bacteria and the environment during the turnout.

If your cell count starts to rise

High cell counts and clinical mastitis won’t fix themselves!

Quality milk is essential for each farm and our industry

Clinical mastitis cases are time-consuming and costly

(An estimated £250 per case).

Mastitis risk has changed significantly in the past five years, for example, the use of

Feed pads, stand-off areas and bare paddocks have all increased the exposure of teats to

Bacteria. When conditions get wet, the risk of mastitis rises steeply. Many old routines don’t work.

Don’t assume you’re already “doing all the right things” check all options

On days that are WET or MUDDY you must change your milking routine. You may need an extra person…

WASH and DRY TEATS before milking units are placed  

COVER 100% of Teat with TEAT DISINFECTANT

100% coverage with the correct concentration of disinfectant and emollient helps remove bacteria

And heal teat damage. This is critical to mastitis control. Supple teat skin is also easier to keep clean.

If you usually use an automatic teat spray, switch to hand spraying for this period to ensure complete coverage.

Check with a paper towel on some teats to make sure the fronts of the teats haven’t been missed.

Teat ends remain open for up to hour, there is a high risk of bacteria entering the udder.

 Reduce muddy areas at the exit of the shed, lanes, holding and feeding areas. Look for badly pot-holed areas and repair or use a temporary fence to prevent cows entering.

Scrape clean feed pads regularly to minimise splashing of mud and manure onto udders.

Keep water troughs and there surrounding area clean, bacteria lives in mud.

 Set up a routine so cows don’t lie down soon after milking. Have feed available when cows

Leave the shed, especially on feed pads, so cows stand and feed for the first hour.

There could be a high risk of bacteria entering the udder during this period.

We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be beholden of it!

A visit to a farm to establish why the farmer was running a high cell count, his remark was that’s how it’s all ways been and that why we don’t bother, asked if the milking machine was tested regular his comment was that it was tested 6 monthly and all is well, asked if the machine was tested dynamically the answer was that the dairy engineer said it would be a waste of money!

Most mastitis infections are related to conditions that expose the teat end to bacteria (e.g., contaminated teatcup liners, common wash or dry cloths, milkers’ hands, dirt or manure in dirty free stalls, muddy environment) and to situations that make it easier for these bacteria to penetrate the teat canal (e.g., squawking or slipping teatcup liners, flooded milk tubes or claws). They travel into the mammary gland where the infection causes an inflammatory response that can cause destruction of milk-secreting cells and release of leukocytes or somatic cells. The bacteria that usually cause mastitis are: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, environmental streptococci, and coliforms. The most successful mastitis control programs concentrate on identifying and eliminating those conditions that expose the teat end to bacteria, assist their penetration through the teat canal, or interfere with the body’s immune system. Also they regularly monitor the herd’s mastitis status.

All of the bacteria listed above can be minimized by proper milking technique, combined with a properly designed and maintained milking system, and environmental conditions that allow cows to remain clean, dry, and comfortable. To minimize mastitis problems and to milk cows more effectively, attention must be paid to cow preparation, stimulation of milk let-down, and procedures used to apply or remove teat cups. From 1962-65, scientists with the National Institute for Research in Dairying in Reading, England, conducted two large field experiments involving 29 herds and 2200 cows and found that a pre-milking hygiene routine of disinfectant udder wash, individual towels, disinfecting rubber gloves worn by milkers, and teat dipping reduced new infections by 44%. In addition to these practices, pasteurization of teatcup clusters with hot water (185 degrees for 5 seconds) reduced new infections by 58%. The general goals for most herds should be to recover all of the milk that cows are bred and fed to produce in as short a period of time as necessary while minimizing effects on udder health and milk composition. However, many dairy farms pay too little attention to the importance of proper milking practices and routine.

A milking –time test was undertaken the vacuum at the claw was very low, the milkability was poor and unit on time was shocking.

If you believe that you can’t change then live with your mistakes.

Keep your cows clean

What is the most common question dairy farmers ask when I visit their farm. I get mastitis but it’s only “environmental”.

It’s not rocket science “KEEP the COWS CLEAN “It takes a lot of work keeping dairy cows clean. Not only does it take a lot of work, but it is also very important. So how do you do it?

If your cows live in a cubicle house. It has open feed areas, various locations for fresh drinking water and stalls for the cows to rest. There is plenty of room for the cows to move around and come and go as they please, choosing which stall they want to use. You might be surprised to know that some cows prefer the same stall every day. They will even go as far as to push another cow out of the stall.

Keep the bedding fresh and dry this should be done daily every milking, remove any manure and re-bed and fill the cow stalls. In addition to the new bedding, clean the shed on a daily basis. “The old twice a day chore is gone”

 If you milk cows three times a day. While they are being milked, clean the shed and alley’s. All the manure should be removed from around the corners, edges and around water troughs if you see manure remove it! don’t walk past. It’s just not the case of sitting on a tractor and moving the manure into the lagoon, or taking scrappers for granted.

The cubicles in which the cows rest should all be hand-raked. All manure has to be removed and the bedding levelled out to keep the area comfortable and clean,

So why do you do this? Importantly, it is better for their health. If your cow’s feet are covered in manure, she lies down when she gets up she rubs her feet on her teats and covers them in pathogens.

 Cows need to have a dry and clean environment to protect them from illnesses like mastitis, a painful inflammation. To try to help them avoid mastitis you have to work very hard to make sure our cows have the cleanest environment possible.

Take a look at your cows and ask yourself are my cows as clean as they can be?


Antimicrobial drugs

An undesired consequence of the use of antimicrobial drugs in cattle is the presence of drug residues  in the milk of lactating animals. In lactating dairy cattle, this translates into production losses due to withholding of nonsaleable waste milk containing drug residues. To avoid discarding this valuable product while reducing feed costs, many dairies feed waste milk to preweaned calves.
Regardless of the financial advantages of feeding waste milk to calves, an important question is whether this practice can affect the calves’ health and result in unnecessary selection of antibiotic resistant bacteria that could reduce successful outcomes when treating infections with antibiotics.

Cephapirin is  a drug that can be found in drugs used commercially for treatment of cows with mastitis . Mastitis treatment is the most common use of antibiotics on dairy farms; therefore it is not surprising that most drug residues in waste milk are probably a consequence of treating cows with mastitis. This finding highlights even further the importance of management efforts to reduce the cases of mastitis in the herd,

Cows with chronic mastitis problems

Cows with chronic mastitis problems act as a reservoir of infection for the rest of the herd, they cost you money in treatment costs and lost milk production, and they spend more time in the hospital shed requiring time-consuming care – increasing your time. Cows that should be considered for culling include:

  • Cows with persistently high SCCs.
  • Cows that do not respond to treatment and continue to flare-up repeatedly with clinical mastitis.
    Cows with infections that persist in spite of dry cow treatment.
    Cows with mycoplasma mastitis. Of course, other factors must be considered before culling (type of infection, milk yield, replacement options, etc.) but, many times removing a few highly problematic cows will yield big dividends on your SCC report and will be well worth the loss in the long run. Culling should never be considered a substitute for solving the underlying problem with high SCCs or increased cases of clinical mastitis on your dairy. Culling is just one component to a comprehensive mastitis control plan.

You want to milk your cows faster ?

You want to milk your cows faster, there is no secret! Make sure that everyone on the farm is using the same routine and not in a mind-set that this is how I have been taught and this is the way I do things.

On a recent visit to implement a milking – time test / Dynamic test

The cows were entering the parlour and the pressure of the bag meant that the cows were leaking milk, the herdsman said look the cows are happy content and are stimulated

How wrong he was, he placed the unit onto the cow and yes she milked for 30 seconds then she stopped and there was liner slip .

The leaking milk was Cisternal milk let down

Research now shows for the oxytocin to reach the udder it can take 90 seconds or more for alveolar milk-let down.

The ideal protocol includes:

Pre-dip with chlorine dioxide

Rub teat end and strip

Re-dip with chlorine dioxide

Wipe with individual cloth towel

Attach at 90 seconds after first stimulation

Detach when milk flow is less than 400ml per minute with two-second delay

Post-dip with 1 percent iodine with conditioner

The more physical contact with the teat end, the more you will see a positive effect.

The average milking time is 3- 4 minutes per cow, with an average of 3.5 litres of milk per minute

 “Yes I do have farms that average 5-6 litres a minute “the first two minutes, which directly relates to udder stimulation, watch to see if the cow milks consistently.

Other key factors are moving the cows in a calm fashion so they are comfortable walking into the parlour and training the cows how to be milked.

Teamwork among the owners, milkers and equipment dealers is overriding.

Maintenance is key in the parlour since it can run up to 18 hours a day there isn’t another piece of equipment on the farm that is used as much as the parlour, so ensure it is running at top speed all the time, liner change is essential.

Pulsators and the milking system should be graphed monthly. Pulsators, hoses and meters are also inspected regularly.

Post dipping is essential as the teat would have been soaked with milk, ensure you cover the whole teat” some post dipping flushing units may save time but don’t cover the whole teat and are not as efficient as you may think “make sure you use good quality teat Post dip with conditioner whether it’s fine-tuning the milking procedure or making adjustments to facilities, you need all employees in tune with what is necessary for its cows to achieve optimal success.

Being stuck in a routine is not the way forward; trying new methods over a couple of days will not ensure a better milking routine.

The success of the milking routine

The success of the milking routine is a concerted effort between the cow, the operator, and the milking facilities. Good milking starts with a clean, healthy, properly prepared cow. Cleanliness is important to avoid transfer of mastitis-causing organisms from the environment to cows’ udders and from cow to cow during milking. The ease and speed of cleaning teats is directly related to the cleanliness of cows when they enter the parlour. The environment has direct bearing on the efficacy of the milking process. Correct teat Stimulation prepares cows to release their milk and is important to reduce the time required to remove milk. Reducing the time that milking units are attached to the cow will improve milking parlour efficacy and reduce teat tissue stress and related mastitis risk. An effective and efficient milking process is as follows:

Always strive to provide a clean, low stress housing environment for cows.

Maintain a consistent operating routine for bringing cows to the milking parlour and during the milking process.

Check foremilk and udder for mastitis.

Apply an effective pre-milking sanitizer to teats.

Remove debris and dry teats completely with an individual towel.

Attach milking unit from 1 to 4 min after the start of stimulation.

Adjust units as necessary for proper alignment.

Shut off vacuum when milk flow rate has dropped to a minimal level and remove milking units.

Apply a post-milking germicide to teats.

 None of the above should be disregarded if mastitis prevention and quality milk production are your goals. Pre-milking procedures should be performed in the same manner and order of operation for every milking. The order in which cows are milked can have an impact on controlling the spread of mastitis the chance of spreading mastitis organisms from cow to cow is reduced. The milking parlour should be designed so that the various steps in the milking routine can be performed efficiently and easily, providing cow handling and positioning facilities and convenient locations for the equipment used for cow preparation such as towel dispensers, teat dip cups, or permanently mounted power dipping cups.