News & Advice

Could Healthy Udder fit for you?

Mar 5, 2019 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare, Milk Quality

With the spring calving season winding down and many people booking their milk quality consults, now is a good time to review how things went as far as bulk somatic milk cell count (BMSCC). It is also a good time to review the incidence of clinical cases as well as cow deaths from mastitis and culling. If you are not entirely satisfied with how things went, perhaps a service to address preventing, finding and treating mastitis would suit you.

Anexa Vets offer the Healthy Udder service (developed by DairyNZ) assisting you to set up standard operating procedures (SOPs) on your farm for milking and managing mastitis (including managing treated cows). Procedures help to outline what is done, how it gets done, who does it, and when it gets done. It is flexible, it can be customised to your needs, and can help with the people side of managing mastitis in your business.

Options:  Training days for your staff, customised visits, hands on training for individual staff members, assisting training new staff, reviewing with existing staff, following up with plans, checking things are going right, getting all staff involved and on board, and then monitoring the results with lower BMSCC and less mastitis.

Advantages:  Customised to your needs, general training for all, corporate consistency across all farms, plans for relief milkers, staff turnover inductions, compliance (includes MRS-T: Mark, Record, Separate and Treat), improves prudent antimicrobial use, “insurance” against-I/S grades prevention, and improves communication.

What can be included:  Preventing Mastitis: Hygiene at milking, hygiene in environment, machine checks, teat sprayer checks, teat care procedure (includes monitoring-e.g. teat end scoring, assessing teat condition, and teat spray coverage), and teat spray mix procedure.

Finding mastitis: Finding mastitis in the colostrum, milking and dry herds, as well as what to do with milk culture information. This includes when to strip the herd and what to do after a herd test.

Treating mastitis:  Dry Cow decision procedure; lactating cow decision procedure; marking procedure-including “watch”, record, and separate procedure; stop-watch-go procedure; return to vat procedure-some of these are required for Food Safety compliance anyway!

Talk to your vet at your milk quality consult and see if this service is for you. Remember it is flexible and customised to your needs and how you want to do things on your farm.


Chris and Jude Stacey, Riddings farm (Runners up Dairy Business Of the Year 2018) share their experience:


1. How did you hear about the Healthy Udder Service?

Through our Vet

2. Did your staff appreciate getting involved in how the team would prevent, find and treat mastitis on your farm?

At the time, we had a less experienced staff member, and one who had been farming for a few years. Both of them were able to gain knowledge and a deeper understanding about the importance of both prevention and treatment of mastitis, and identification of potential signs of mastitis. The team both enjoyed and benefited from the opportunity to have a vet onsite to discuss mastitis prevention techniques, identification and selection of treatment options. Of particular use was having the laminated information sheets summarising the Healthy Udder content. Being able to refer back to them regularly helped to serve as a reminder and provide a useful ‘go to’ if clarification was needed.

3. What are two of the greatest values of the service to your business and your staff?

Staff gaining a deeper understanding about why we do what we do… ie. why prompt mastitis detection and management is so important. This understanding is important to us, rather than staff just ‘going through the motions’. If people understand more about an issue, then they are more likely to think about the bigger picture as well – in this case relating to mastitis – e.g. prevention techniques through appropriate milking and teat spraying methods, early detection, cows being able to receive appropriate treatment and a decrease in the spread of the infection. Ongoing discussion is promoted. The team were encouraged, and felt comfortable to continue discussions, which benefits our cows and business.

4. Would you recommend this to other farmers?

Yes, would wholeheartedly recommend this programme. It is useful for anyone directly involved with milking and/or responsible for animal health aspects of a farming business. It is particularly useful if you employ staff.

5. What would you say to farmers that were sitting on the fence about using such a service?

This service helps you to focus on one of the fundamental areas of dairy farming and is of use no matter how little or much experience you have. A very valuable process to be part of and highly recommended.

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