Dairy cows: post-milking teat disinfection

Post-milking teat disinfection isn’t just an essential part of a good milking routine  it’s critical to controlling contagious mastitis. Read our tips for the best possible results.

Back to: Controlling contagious mastitis in dairy cows

Post-milking teat disinfection to help control contagious mastitis 

Effective post-milking teat disinfection (PMTD) is essential to a good milking routine and a critical control point for contagious mastitis. It’s particularly important if the herd’s bulk SCC is over 100,000 cell/ml. 

The aim of PMTD is to remove any mastitis-causing pathogens from the teat surface. It also controls bacteria present on any sores on the teats, promoting quicker healing. 

Find out about best practices for PMTD below, and then read more about good milking routines. 

How to get the best results from teat disinfection

Teat disinfection should cover the whole teat of every cow after every milking, so check regularly to ensure this is happening. 

It’s important to dip or spray teats immediately after removing the cluster unit. This allows the disinfectant to get to work before the teat canal sphincter begins to close and before any bacteria have the opportunity to colonise and multiply. 

For the best results: 

  • Use an approved teat disinfectant and select the right product 
  • Make up fresh batches regularly, at least daily, unless using RTU dip 
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on dilution 
  • Only use good-quality (drinkable) water for dilution 
  • Spray or dip the whole surface of all teats after every milking 
  • Suggested volumes are 10 ml to dip and 15 ml to spray per cow per milking 
  • Check disinfectant coverage  wrap a paper towel around the teat barrel, then carefully remove and examine the wet or stained area 
  • Keep an eye on the amount of PMTD being used 
  • Clean out teat-dip cups when empty  don’t just refill 
  • Clean all dip cups at the end of each milking 
  • Store out of direct sunlight and protect from frost 

Finally, choose an emollient/humectant content to optimise teat condition, but remember that high levels will reduce the effectiveness of the disinfectant, while low levels might not maintain good teat condition. Talk to your supplier for specific information on the product you use. 

Effective PMTD is a critical control point for contagious mastitis and an essential component of a good milking routine.

Useful links 

Controlling mastitis in heifers

Control of environmental mastitis in lactation