Managing milk quality and output is a continuous challenge for any dairy producer. Milk production is a product of the cow’s comfort in her environment. Like most things in life, the more comfortable some ‘thing’ is in its environment, the happier and more productive that ‘thing’ will be. Dairy cows are not an exception when it comes to cow comfort. Without proper udder care, a dairy cow’s comfort level is put at risk. That risk is heightened as we enter the winter months.
Poor udder care choices can lead to an increased rate of mastitis occurring. Mastitis is considered one of the costliest health issues in the dairy industry. It costs a dairy more than any other disease. Insufficient dip coverage or cleaning can increase the risk of harmful bacteria being left behind which can lead to mastitis. Please remember that in a dairy, mastitis can lead to slower let down and milking inefficiencies. Healthy teat skin is a critical component of the cow’s own defense against mastitis. With winter’s cold, windy, and wet conditions, healthy teat skin is even more important. The cold weather can cause dryness, cracking, or chapping of teat skin, making the cow more vulnerable to infection.
Tips for Healthy Udders
• Avoid washing teats during cold weather if possible.
• Use an effective germicidal post-dip that contains at least 10% skin conditioners.
• Post dip every teat of every cow at every milking, allow 30 seconds of contact time and then blot teats dry as necessary.
• Provide ample amounts of dry bedding in freestalls.
• Construct windbreaks to minimize wind exposure, especially in return lanes and at the feed bunk.
• Take special precautions to protect cows with udder edema or other teat injuries.
• Always thoroughly mix teat dip in storage containers before refilling teat dip cups.
• Cessation of post-dipping is not recommended.
Eliminating udder care in daily operations can be detrimental to your dairy’s performance and profitability no matter the season, especially in cold weather due to the increased risk of teat damage. Poor udder health management practices increase your risk of mastitis and decrease your chances of detecting potential issues early. The ABS Udder Care team is passionate about maintaining healthy skin year-round and increasing cow comfort.
Get in touch with an ABS Udder Care Specialist today and make sure you’re ready for winter. Find your local specialist here.