Monitoring and recording mastitis data in dairy cows
Mastitis treatment and loss of production is one of the largest costs to the dairy industry in the UK. It is also an important factor in dairy cow welfare.
Why should mastitis cases be recorded?
You can use clinical mastitis case records and individual cow cell count data from your herd to help make better decisions about mastitis control. Records are often used to:
- Inform decisions about which cows to treat, which to cull, which cows’ milk should be withheld from the bulk tank and which cows to separate into a group to milk last. This reactive use helps us to live with mastitis and to reduce some of the effects, but it does not help to prevent future cases of mastitis.
- Tell you more about mastitis on your farm and help to prevent mastitis and improve milk quality. The resources below will outline the mastitis records you should keep and how you can use them effectively to improve mastitis control
What are the biggest challenges associated with mastitis control?
Most commonly, mastitis infections are picked up from the environment, but they can also be transmitted from one cow to another (contagious mastitis). Infections may be picked up during the dry period or during lactation – and both these patterns may show variation depending on the time of year.
Analysis of clinical mastitis records and individual cow somatic cell counts can reveal which of these infection patterns are most important in a herd at a particular time.
Monitoring all cases of mastitis on your farm is a must, with accurate and consistent record keeping being needed to successfully improve mastitis control.
Herd pattern analysis and the MPAT tool
Knowing your farm’s Mastitis pattern means you can target control measures at where they can be most effective. Find out how to use the Mastitis Pattern Analysis Tool (MPAT) and how to interpret the data.
QuarterPRO is a new initiative that aims to help you achieve continuous improvement in mastitis control and udder health on farm leading to more saleable milk, higher milk quality, improved cow welfare and less antibiotic use.