Dairy farmers housing cattle this winter, are being encouraged to incorporate a bedding sanitiser as part of a holistic mastitis prevention strategy.
Good udder health is vital to maintaining productivity and welfare but is particularly important for keeping somatic cell counts low over the cooler months – housing management is crucial for achieving this.
Timac Agro technical manager David Newton advises farmers to apply a bedding sanitiser, such as Actisan 360, to reduce the harmful bacteria that can cause mastitis infections.
“Actisan 360 is a disinfectant-free drying agent with the capability to absorb three times its own weight in moisture as damp bedding is a major risk factor for mastitis,” says Mr Newton.
Reducing moisture content, while creating a slightly acidic environment which is unfavourable for harmful strains of bacteria, can prevent them from multiplying, allowing for good species of bacteria to establish and grow.
“Strains of bacteria which commonly cause mastitis tend to thrive in more alkaline conditions,” says Mr Newton.
“Good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, can thrive in more acidic conditions which can be cultivated by using a bedding sanitiser. Research has shown that several of these species can act as an alternative antibiotic-free mastitis treatment.”
Mr Newton explains that only a small amount of bedding sanitiser is required each day – about 50g of product per cubicle is generally advised. This should reap rewards in terms of reduced cases of mastitis, as well as making bedding go further for longer.
“Mastitis control and prevention requires a multifaceted approach, so it’s essential to incorporate protocols that cover all aspects of the farm and herd. Farmers should consider housing environment, heifer management, teat hygiene in and out of the parlour and record all mastitis cases in the herd.”
“While bedding sanitisation is a key element of this prevention strategy, the greatest success will come as part of an integrated holistic programme.”