Dairy Focus: Teat Health in Dairy Cattle

January 6th 2015

Increase Dairy Profitability by Safeguarding Teat Health in Dairy Cattle

With winter weather conditions continuing to impact on the UK Dairy Farmers’ bottom line, now is the time to address your teat hygiene plan.

Udder infections in dairy cattle are estimated to cost the UK milk suppliers £120 million each year (NADIS). Chronic infections are costly to manage and can result in permanent damage to the teat and udder, requiring in advanced cases culling of dairy cows. Sub-clinical infections represent substantial loss of income for the dairy farmer consequent to a drop in milk yields and milk quality (raised bulk tank cell counts).

Dr Rubinah Chowdhary said: “The management of udder infections requires a holistic approach on the farm, with attention to general farm practices such as choice of breed, management of the dry period in cows, housing conditions, and maintenance of milking equipment is in good working order. An awareness of indicators of udder health and of teat hygiene amongst farm workers when handling animals during milking can help limit infections.

Management of teat health is critical in reducing new infections. Fortunately, teat health responds well to a preventive hygiene programme incorporating the use of quality teat-dips. The use of effective pre-milking and post-milking teat dips is critical in ensuring disinfection and conditioning of teat skin.” Disinfection limits the number of environmental organisms on the teat surface and prevents microbial invasion of the teat canal and through any cuts and abrasions on teat skin.

Pre-milking teat dips prepare the cows’ teats for milking. The aim of pre-dipping is to remove dirt and bacteria from the teat surface to avoid contamination of milk and the milking system. Post-milking teat dips provide prolonged biocidal protection from environmental organisms through to the next milking. Dr Chowdhary advised: “Teat end condition provides a useful visual indicator of the udder health. After milking, the teat end sphincter tends to remain open so it is important to dip straight away to prevent entry and colonisation of the teat canal.” Skin conditioning is also an important requirement of post-milking teat dips to moisturise and prevent cracking of teat skin that can arise during intensive milking and as a result of adverse weather conditions.

Chemicals typically found in teat dips can often irritate the skin. However Dr Chowdhary explained: “Quat-Chem’s Synergy teat dip formulations are finely balanced to avoid this and provide the combined protection of carefully selected biocides and a unique emollient system to keep teats hydrated and protected from chapping during the sort of wintry conditions we have seen recently.”

Quat-Chem is highly enthusiastic about their dairy hygiene range and has enjoyed significant growth in this market. This has been driven by the Company’s dedication to find the right solutions in response to customer needs.

“Our customers report an improvement in teat condition and milk cell counts within weeks of following a regime of carefully chosen teat dips. We’re extremely optimistic about the future of our dairy range” said Dr Chowdhary.

For further product information or advice please contact the Quat-Chem team.

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