News & Advice

5 Reasons Milk Cultures after herd testing will benefit you

Sep 26, 2019 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare, Milk Quality

Katrina Roberts, Herd Health Veterinarian, Anexa Vets
  • Make the right call with your high somatic cell count cows.

Make a more informed and cost-effective decision about what to do with these cows, whether they are known problem cows, repeat offenders or cows from the latest herd test. Based on the milk culture results you may choose not to inseminate these high SCC cows or cull them before the summer dry. 

  • Identify cows with chronic Staph aureus infections. 

Staph aureus is a common cause of subclinical and clinical mastitis. Infected cows are the main source of infection and infection can easily spread from cow to cow. This is usually during milking via infected milk on liners and milker’s hands. It is important to identify these cows so action can be taken to stop infection spreading to the rest of the herd. When you are splitting your herds coming into mating, cows infected with Staph could join the herd that is milked last, to reduce the chance of them infecting other cows. 

  • Prevent further issues in the herd. 

By knowing the bugs which are present we can determine what the most important risk factors are in your herd and spend your efforts in the right area e.g. Muddy areas of the farm, feed pad or herd home, removing infected cows in the herd, teat spraying or the milking machine. 

  • Prepare the herd for once a day (OAD) milking. 

Around Christmas time, many clients like to be able to choose to reduce their milking frequency. However, with a high percentage of infected cows or with a known Staph problem in your herd you may have to tread carefully with the use of OAD. You will need to be much more aware of how you manage the transition to OAD. Milk cultures are a useful tool to help with dealing with these high SCC cows before your transition to OAD. 

  • Achieve the thresholds for incentives offered by some dairy companies for low SCC milk. 

In a 300 cow herd, achieving the SCC premium zone throughout the whole season could be worth an extra $9,000. Taking action against high SCC cows earlier in the season gives you more options and being proactive at peak milk time will help maintain a low BMSCC through mid and late lactation as production drops and BMSCCs rise.

For more information talk to your Anexa vet.

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