Managing and treating mastitis

Willie Baillie, from our strategic dairy farm Hillhead of Covington, is joined by mastitis expert Dr James Breen of Nottingham University as they review their last nine months activities reducing instances of mastitis in his all year round calving herd.

Lessons learned in successfully treating mastitis at Hillhead of Covington

Willie kicked off the webinar with a brief farm update on activities and challenges since the last meeting.

Dr James Breen then provided an update on the current approaches to treating mastitis.

He confirmed that mastitis used to be treated with a broad approach across all farms but as standards have been raised across the country it is now important to establish the pattern and challenges specific to your herd.

Watch the managing and treating mastitis webinar

Dr James Breen's treating mastitis key webinar takeaway messages

  • Herd specific approaches are recommended over 'blanket' approaches
  • Cows often fight off mastitis during the dry period so it is helpful to focus on reducing new cases 
  • Testing and understanding bacteriology in clinical cases offers the most rewards when attempting to establish patterns 
  • By using the Mastitis Control Plan, the Pattern Analysis Tool they highlighted five key areas for the farm to concentrate on
  • James shared the importance of working out the specific cost of mastitis in your herd before choosing solutions
  • He recommended looking at the QuarterPRO approach to delivering improvements

How we reduced instances of mastitis at Hillhead of Covington

  • At Hillhead of Covington this highlighted a peak around early lactation and over winter
  • The focus areas for Willie were sand bedding, scraping, space, water and cloths
  • Targeted recommendations were drawn up with their vet (James) and implemented over the nine months
  • By changing the sand bedding more frequently he used no more sand or time overall 
  • Investment in a new set of cloths, a higher temperature wash and more frequent testing reassured Willie that this area was improved
  • He minimised excess water usage in cleaning and tested his bore hole water regularly
  • Willie also shared he had switched to buying lesser quanitiies of peracetic acid to ensure its effectiveness in the cloth dipping routine

The results achieved at Hillhead of Covington after nine months of closely managing and treating mastitis

Towards the end of the webinar James and Willie shared the results of their work togeether. Data and a thorough retesting showed instances down from 42 in 100 to 28 in 100 with the last last rolling test period illustrating just 19 cases in 100 over last 3 months. New clinical cases were extremely low with none recorded during the month of May. 

James finished by reminding everyone that whilst these actions worked for this farm it is vital that you make the most of the Mastitis Control Plan, the Mastitis Pattern Analysis Tool the QuarterPRO campaign tips and the Mastitis in dairy cows guidance to generate a specific action plan for your farm.