Environmental mastitis: The housed dairy cow

The best way to control environmental mastitis is to minimise the number of bacteria that can cause mastitis at the teat end. It is important to keep cows clean and dry because infection can happen at any time between and during milkings.

Housing best practice

Cow comfort is a key factor in reducing environmental risks for mastitis. It is important to design housing with the cow in mind. Even in well-designed housing, providing enough clean and dry bedding with regular maintenance is essential.

Housing design

Housing designed with the cow in mind is important, to reduce environmental risks for mastitis. Fundamental issues with building design, ventilation and stocking rate can often mean new infection rates remain high, particularly in higher-yielding herds.

Dairy cow housing design to prevent environmental mastitis during lactation

Bedding management

Bacteria are everywhere in the environment. When cows lie down, teats and teat ends will come into close contact with the bacteria in the bedding. Our top tips for bedding compare the different bedding types and advise how best to store them.

Dairy cow bedding management to control environmental mastitis during lactation

Cubicle housing

Well-managed cubicles give a lower incidence of mastitis infections in lactation compared with loose yard systems, in general, but cubicles must be appropriate to the size of the cows in the herd. Our diagram explains the recommended cubicle dimensions and stocking rate.

Dairy cow cubicle housing design to control environmental mastitis in lactation

Loose yard management

In general, the risk of mastitis infections from the environment in lactation is higher in loose yards than when cows are housed in cubicles. Well-managed loose yards can reduce the risk of picking up infections from the environment in lactation.

Loose yard management to control environmental mastitis in dairy cows

Useful links

Mastitis in dairy cows

If you would like a hard copy of the Control of environmental mastitis guide please contact publications@ahdb.org.uk or call 0247 799 0069.