Each year, time must be set aside to:
- Review achievements for the past 12 months.
- Undertake annual maintenance tasks.
- Set your goals for the next 12 months.
- Develop a plan to achieve these goals.
22.1 - Mark 'a day in the office' on your calendar or diary to review progress and set goals
Mark ‘a day in the office’ on your calendar or diary. Set time aside well in advance. This set time may be in the dry period for seasonal herds, or a convenient period in split-calving herds.
Your annual Milk Quality Review with your vet is a timely opportunity to review animal health records.
Recognise that it may require involvement of a number of people on the farm as well as your qualified advisors, and may involve a number of conversations and discussions over a period of time.
22.2 - Involve all members of staff and family working on the farm
Involve all members of staff and family working on the farm in developing and reviewing mastitis control activities and achievements. Consider also involving your milk quality advisor and veterinarian.
Highly productive workplaces are like successful sporting teams. While the performance of individuals is important, success requires that those individuals also work well together. Whether your farm is a small or large concern, family or corporate structure, you will benefit from improving team work on your farm.
Organise ‘to do’ lists
Make a list of tasks to be completed. Make sure that these tasks are allocated to someone and they set a regular time to do them, for example whenever liners are changed, check the teat sprayers too.
22.3 - Arrange for your milking machine technician to test, service and (where necessary) upgrade your milking system
Make an appointment with your milking machine technician for testing, servicing and (where necessary) upgrading your milking system. Make the appointment well in advance. The technician should be registered by NZMPTA standards.
Your milking machine should be fully tested and serviced at least twice a year, and you should receive a written report.
In addition, it should be monitored, tested and adjusted as often as necessary during lactation.
See Guideline 6 for more on the regular maintenance and checks that the milking team can carry out.
See Guideline 25 for more on different machine tests that certified machine testers can undertake.
22.4 - Calculate the figures for your farm for past 12 months, and set new targets
A review of the past 12 months will help set targets for the next 12 months. This review should summarise:
- The herd structure and production e.g. numbers of lactating cows, replacements and culls, age structure, production.
- Major elements of the mastitis control programme.
- Results of any special investigations e.g. bacterial cultures or machine upgrades.
- Any major events that affected the mastitis programme or the team.
- Brief description of the farm team members, including training that occurred.
- A review of the mastitis indicators e.g. reviewing bulk milk SCC trends through the year and running a Mastitis Focus Report.
Targets for the next 12 months should be:
- Realistic and achievable.
- More ambitious than the minimum requirements for the dairy company.
- More stringent than the SmartSAMM warning levels or ‘triggers for action’.
Twelve months in review
A Mastitis Focus report provides a comprehensive summary of the herd’s performance across key mastitis indicators, including clinical mastitis, spread of new infection and dry off strategies during a 12 month period.
Accuracy is greatly improved if clinical treatment details and dry cow treatments are recorded with your herd test provider.
See Guideline 6 for more on regular checks of milking machine function that can be included in the plan.
See Guideline 11 for tips on reviewing the bulk milk SCC.
See Guideline 12 for tips on reviewing the individual cow SCC.
22.5 - Seek advice if farm indicators are above the warning levels
Seek professional advice if mastitis indicators are above trigger levels. SmartSAMM trigger levels are based on the performance of many herds. For herds exceeding these levels, there are benefits to be gained through making improvements.
SmartSAMM Gap Calculator
Use the Gap Calculator to compare your herd’s udder health performance with SmartSAMM targets, and identify the value of improving performance.
See Guideline 13.2 for a summary of SmartSAMM warning levels