Producing quality milk is one of the many challenges facing dairy farmers, but it has its rewards.

VetEnt veterinarian Tim Cameron points out that 'most farms are missing out on realising the potential for increased on farm profitability and efficiency with good mastitis control'.

Analysis shows that if a 400-strong cow herd with a season average BMSCC of 250,000 and clinical mastitis rate of 20 per cent, reduces the BMSCC to the industry target of 150,000 and a 10 per cent clinical mastitis rate then, based on a $7 pay-out, the potential gain is $21,000 per annum.

The dedicated mastitis experts at VetEnt can help you to identify and treat a variety of mastitis risks.

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"The two most common issues we identify are the presence of teat end damage and poor teat spray effectiveness," says Cameron.

Teat End Damage

For bacteria to cause mastitis it has to first get past the first line of defence the cow has, which is a normal intact teat sphincter and canal. Any damage to this opening allows bacteria an easier entry into the teat canal and, subsequently, to cause mastitis.

There are many causes of teat end damage including the environment, sub-optimal milking machine settings, liners and poor milking technique.

Teat Spray

An effective teat spray is probably the single most important way of stopping new infections, as bacteria from the milking machines end up on the cow's teat every time cups are applied to a cow.

The best way to stop these bacteria from entering the teat canal is through an effective teat spray. A recent study carried out in New Zealand showed that only 12 per cent of farms had both the correct teat spray dilution and adequate coverage of the teats.

If you're at all concerned about mastitis, or any other aspect of your herd health and productivity, and would like some answers, call or pop into your veterinarian today.