The Healthy Udder Service is a new initiative which aims to improve milk quality and mastitis control and lift performance towards industry targets achieved by the top 25 percent of herds in New Zealand.
Delivered through vets trained in mastitis management, this new service is built around the popular Healthy Udder resource and aims to develop systems, processes and team skills around farm-specific policies and procedures e.g. optimal teat spraying systems.
This flexible approach allows the Healthy Udder Service to be customised to you and your team, getting everyone on the same page and ensuring the team works better together to achieve lasting improvements in udder health.
Deal with the root causes of mastitis
Survey data from Cognosco (the research and development arm of Anexa, Waikato) shows a gap between farmers’ stated goals and what is actually achieved in mastitis and milk quality. Several things may be going on that explain these gaps:
There is no plan to achieve stated goals.
This is a guarantee for things to remain the same, or get worse.
The plan is not focused on identified root causes of problems.
It is easy to misdiagnose cause and effect and focus on the wrong thing when multiple factors are at play.
The plan is not well executed.
While focusing on the root causes, the mastitis control systems are not implemented well enough to achieve desired results consistently.
What you see in bulk milk somatic cell count and clinical mastitis is like the tip of the iceberg; the real causes lie under the surface.
Identifying and dealing with the root causes of mastitis in your herd will likely require input by people with specific training and experience in mastitis investigations.
More than 80 veterinarians have completed Advanced Mastitis Course training and 50 are accredited and listed on DairyNZ’s SmartSAMM website. Most are involved with the Healthy Udder Service.
These vets deal with referrals in acute situations and their value is in customising systems and processes for a specific herd, with a focus on prevention and optimising treatment.
DairyNZ co-developed the Healthy Udder Service with the support of trained vets and applying the mastitis investigation approach.
For more information about the Healthy Udder Service go to dairynz.co.nz/healthyudder or talk to your local vet for a referral. The website also has tools and resources to help farmers and advisors establish cost-effective and sustainable systems, to minimise mastitis.
SmartSAMM is co-funded by DairyNZ and the MPI Sustainable Farming Fund
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy December 2013