Take steps to mitigate summer teat health challenges

29 Jul 2020

Maintaining strict teat hygiene management during the summer months is vital to prevent deteriorating skin condition, as well as high bacteria loading and an increased risk of mastitis.

So says Deosan’s Alison Cox, who is urging producers to address summer challenges and adapt hygiene practices to support the production of high-quality milk and udder health.

Fly control

“One of the biggest issues is the control of flies and knowing what product to use,” she says.

“As legislation has changed, post milking teat disinfectants containing fly repellents have been removed from the market, to a point now where there are no proven VMD-licensed products available.” 

She adds that to successfully navigate the summer months, producers should consider a complimentary set of management practices and products geared to managing teat health and hygiene.

Teat health

“This should focus on animal housing hygiene and fly management and, above all, ensure that teat health is paramount.

“Pre and post milking practices should be maintained,” she stresses. “Tempting as it may be to replace a pre-milking disinfectant with a dry paper towel, given that the teats may look clean, this will not remove the dust and soil layer on the skin.

Thermoduric organisms

“As a result, bacteria loading can remain high, particularly associated with coliform and thermoduric organisms.”

The problem is then compounded for animals outside on wet days when paper towelling simply wipes the dirt around the teat, leaving a residue that can be pulled into the milk supply or massaged into the skin.

Skin condition

“This gradually reducing the skin condition over time or, worse still, lay challenge to an outbreak of mastitis.”

The choice of post milking teat disinfectant should also be reviewed, according to Ms Cox. “Focus on a product that delivers the best hydration and skin conditioning properties for your cows’ environment.

“A high emollient teat disinfectant should be a priority for those exposed to variable weather challenges at grass,” she says.

Further damage

“The slightest abrasion or roughness can begin to attract fly nuisance and further damage, which a topical high-odour teat application at milking is not going to deter for much longer than it takes to dry.”

Some producers say that the eucalyptus oil in Deosan Teatfoam Advance deters nuisance flies during its use on teats in the parlour. “But for all its attributes it should never be considered as an effective fly repellent between milkings.

Proven claim

“Either a product has an official proven claim, or it doesn’t. So check labels and make sure you know the true benefits of the products you are investing in,” she adds.