Whilst every dairy farm would like to have no mastitis at all, that is not really possible yet!
So, how many clinical cases is too many clinical cases?
Countdown has given the Australian dairy industry a set of trigger points at which it suggests that a problem may exist, and that immediate action should be taken.
In terms of clinical cases, there are two triggers which relate to the number of clinical cases at or near calving, and the number of clinical cases during lactation (i.e. in cows calved more than 14 days).
For clinical cases at calving, the trigger point is exceeded if you have -
- more than 3 clinical cases per 50 cows calved (i.e. cows that have a clinical case within the first 14 days after calving).
For clinical cases during lactation, the trigger point is exceeded if you have -
- more than 2 clinical cases per 100 cows during lactation (i.e. in cows that have been calved more than 14 days).
Just to be sure we are using these triggers properly, we should remember the definition of a clinical case requiring treatment given to us by Countdown -
"A case of clinical mastitis that requires treatment occurs when there is heat, swelling or pain in the udder, or there are changes in the milk (wateriness or clots) that persist for more than 3 squirts of milk".
Note that these triggers are an upper limit - in fact, they are the point at which it is likely that there is a significant problem!
So, most farms should aim to be below these trigger points for most, if not all of the year.
If you are exceeding these trigger levels on your farm, or you just believe that you are getting too many clinical cases of mastitis, then it is likely that one, or more likely several of your mastitis risk factors are not under control.
The key to dealing with that situation is to be able to identify firstly, "What are the mastitis risk factors on your individual farm?", and secondly, "How can you manage those risk factors?"
Two further questions arise from that process - "How is infection spreading on the farm?" "How can you control that spread?"
This is where the Dairy Focus approach to managing mastitis risk is most helpful.
Tools like the Dairy Focus Mastitis Risk Assessment quickly help to identify the key mastitis risks and issues on your farm.
Once the risk factors that are influencing the spread of mastitis on the farm are identified, a targeted plan can be developed to manage those risks and reduce the incidence of clinical cases.
If you would like to have a chat about your situation, just give us a call at the Dairy Focus office, (03) 58590706.