We regularly find that our milking time and farm visits are quite illuminating.

Not only do they allow us to demonstrate and reinforce procedures that have been discussed both at training courses and on the farm, they also allow us to see firsthand what is actually happening on the farm and in the dairy.

Sometimes things aren’t what you think they are going to be, and I was reminded of this at a recent milking time visit.

Clinical case of mastitis marked with paint
Clinical case of mastitis marked with paint

Coffee and a slice on a Saturday morning is a bit of ritual for us these days, and my coffee had just arrived when John entered the café.

I have never been to John’s farm, but I had met him a few times over the years at various industry seminars and meetings.

“Just the person I wanted to talk to! You’ll be able to tell me what to do”, John announced.

As I stood up to greet John, our chocolate brownie slice arrived at the table and my wife started to cut it in half (there is way too much sugar in a whole brownie!), whilst John’s wife made her way to a vacant table.

“I’ve been using [Product X] for years to treat my mastitis, and it’s not working any more – what should I be using?”

Dribble finish to milking visible in claw bowl
Dribble finish to milking visible in claw bowl

The accompanying image looks simple enough – in fact, it is a common sight during milking in many Australian dairies.

Taken just before cups off, the image shows a narrow stream of milk dribbling down the wall of the claw bowl from each of the two quarters that we can see.

This clearly shows what we call a “dribble finish” to milking, and a dribble finish is NOT normal!!

How does this come about?

Belt mounted paper towel holster
Belt mounted paper towel holster

We saw this great idea for a paper towel holster/dispenser last week.

Paper towels are always at the ready if needed - every teat that gets washed, gets dried!

It is just one of the protocols put in place that are really making a difference on this farm.

Want more hints on washing & drying?

Here's a link for some hints on easy washing & drying - "Wash & Dry" >>> 

Teat disinfectant on teats after spraying
Teat disinfectant on teats after spraying

Cameron* was feeling comfortable.

The expansion plan for the family farm had gone well. He had secured a long term lease on the block next door, added another 50 cows (with plans for more), extended the dairy shed, and employed a labour unit to assist the family on the farm.

The new season had started well. It had been a wet spring, but there had been very little clinical mastitis during calving and the spring, and the farm’s Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) had sat comfortably below 150,000 cells/ml all that time.

But as they moved into summer, things started to come unstuck.

Belt mounted spray can holster
Belt mounted spray can holster

This spray can holster is a really great idea when you are marking lots of cows in busy times of the year like at calving.

Except if you need it for a hospital herd full of mastitis cases, you probably need to look at more than just a spray can holder.........

It is also very handy for your spray bottle of 70% alcohol disinfectant whilst doing a herd strip. (Because you do sterilise your gloves regularly whilst strip testing the herd, don't you?)

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