Back to latest-news Adding Value to Milk Quality Consults

Adding Value to Milk Quality Consults

16 May 2022

It’s often a highly complex issue, but helping dairy farmers improve milk quality and mastitis management has got a bit easier for New Zealand vets this year, with the launch of new tools from AgriHealth.

And if response to the company’s recent webinar on adding value to milk quality consults is anything to go by, there’s no shortage of interest in this particular topic.

More than 100 vets participated in the webinar, which was run by AgriHealth technical manager Steve Cranefield.

Along with explaining how to maximise the value of existing milk quality resources, including Fonterra’s Farm Insight Reports, and Mastatest Summary Reports, he introduced two new initiatives from AgriHealth to further support better outcomes on-farm.

“Reviewing milk quality is a great opportunity for vets to explore farm goals, do some benchmarking, review what’s happening and then make a plan for the farm.

“But what we’ve realised is that there is a lot of variation out there. So, one of the steps we’ve taken this season is to develop a Milk Quality Review tool.”

This new excel based tool from AgriHealth integrates the Mastatest Summary Report data for clients’ farms – including the bacteria involved and the MIC data – with the other information vets are already collecting, such as a record of clinical mastitis cases by month; the monthly average BMSCC, and somatic cell count trends and summary from herd test results.

“This really adds value to your milk quality consults,” Cranefield says.

The other new resource is for farmers themselves, in the shape of an On-farm Mastitis Management shed poster to act as a visual prompt, staff training aid and reminder during the season.

“It’s also a great way to help vets talk through the critical aspects of mastitis management with their clients.”

As well as covering top tips for milking hygiene and reducing risk of infection, it explains how to deal with clinical cases, and how and why to carry out monthly teat condition scoring.

Both the poster and milk quality review are part of AgriHealth’s focus on fostering collaboration, education, and positive change on-farm with mastitis management, for the benefit of vets, farmers and cows alike, Cranefield says.

“Through Mastatest, we can already see how farmers are adapting their management strategies. Testing for mastitis routinely, administering nil milk withhold NSAID, waiting 24 hours and then treating based on result is becoming the norm.

“Farmers are treating coliform or gram-negative infections with 3 days of KetoMax, for example, with no antibiotics, and milking twice a day, unless the cow is sick. Significantly less antibiotic is used overall.

“And there is much greater farmer understanding and use of pain relief for mastitis. Three days of Ketomax is becoming the norm, not just a single dose.”

To access these resources please contact your AgriHealth Area Sales Manager. 

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