The SmartSAMM Mastitis Focus Report gives farmers the ability to detect emerging mastitis problems and monitor infection rates.
The two-page report summarises the udder health status of the herd over a 12 month period, using data routinely collected on-farm.
The report, developed as part of the SmartSAMM programme, has been adapted for New Zealand farmers from Dairy Australia’s Countdown Downunder.
This is a significant milestone for the SmartSAMM project team in the drive for better udder health and milk quality.
The Mastitis Focus Report can now be accessed by CRV farmer clients via CRV Insight-Web. CRV have also helped validate the Mastitis Focus Report under New Zealand conditions.
Testing of the report is proceeding within LIC MINDA systems and is coming soon via MINDA Milk.
Farmers who herd test have an advantage because they can use individual cow somatic cell count (SCC) information in the Mastitis Focus Report to assess how quickly mastitis is spreading in the herd.
Electronic records of dry cow treatments (DCT) and clinical case details further enhance the report’s power to manage mastitis.
Regular reviews will detect emerging issues and help plan for critical times during lactation and the dry period.
Herd mastitis dynamics
It is important to be vigilant, because a herd’s mastitis status is constantly changing.
This dynamic, shown in the diagram, depends on the rate at which:
- clean cows become infected
- mastitis cows are cured
- mastitis cows enter the herd
- mastitis cows leave the herd as culls.
Understanding the dynamics of mastitis in your herd is important. What is driving new infections, and what is driving consequent changes in bulk milk SCC?
There are two drivers underlying mastitis infection in a herd – the new infection rate and the duration of infection.
The new infection rate shows how quickly clean cows are becoming infected. The rate of new infections needs to be minimised through prevention measures.
The duration of infection needs to be minimised to reduce further spread of infection to clean cows, through early identification and appropriate treatment.
Every day a cow remains infected and undetected reduces her milksolids production and elevates the bulk milk somatic cell count (BMSCC).
New infection rate
The Mastitis Focus Report, for the first time, provides a new infection rate measure for New Zealand dairy farmers and their supporting advisors.
The ‘your herd annual performance summary’ (at the top of the report) displays the herd’s new infection rate and gives the overall spread of infection rate for the entire report period.
The ‘spread of infection’ section shows the new infection rate within the periods between herd tests. First calving heifers are reported separately, as they are at higher risk.
If a measure reported exceeds the trigger, then this indicates that action needs to be taken, and that professional help may be needed.
First-time users of the Mastitis Focus Report will have many questions. Achieving a more comprehensive report will depend on a high level of recording in your electronic herd records, in particular:
Cow ID, birth dates, calving dates, deaths and culls, dry-off dates
Most herds record these, but dry-off dates are not well recorded electronically in many herds.
Herd test results over successive seasons
The majority of herds in New Zealand are herd tested, and many are tested over successive seasons.
Dry cow treatment records entered (including teat sealant)
Dry cow treatments are used in the majority of herds, and treatments are often recorded electronically.
Clinical case records entered in full detail
Clinical case records are recorded on-farm, but few farmers enter these details electronically, and this data needs to be complete.
Comprehensive reports will become the norm when farmers and advisors see opportunity in improved electronic recording and value in a more complete picture of their changing herd mastitis status.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy October 2012