“Where there’s mud, there’s money,” is the old farming adage but I’m a bit of a contrarian. Where there’s too much mud, there’s also lameness and mastitis.
Muddy tracks to and from the dairy hit cows with a double whammy: they soften the hoof and then coat it with the perfect breeding ground for nasty bugs. It’s heart-breaking to see a cow hobble along, so we rest lame cows and, if their hoofs become infected, treat them with antibiotics.
Mud also contributes to mastitis, a painful infection that afflicts cows and women alike. Dairy farmers have been tackling mastitis for decades from practically every angle. We can choose sires based on the resistance of their daughters to mastitis, have learned that being quiet around cows makes them less prone to infection and developed new detection and treatment techniques. We know exactly how much mastitis is in the herd: the milk processors give us daily test results as part of their stringent milk quality standards and if our milk shows evidence of too much mastitis, we are paid less.
Dairy Australia’s web site offers some great tips on combatting both lameness and mastitis. One of the recommendations is to get cow tracks in order.
Ours aren’t bad but they could be better. One 400 metre section in particular has the fences set too far back from the gravel of the track and some cows like to walk along the sides, which quickly turn to slosh. Today, we’re moving the fences in. It’s a pretty simple job that should save us a lot of grief when winter comes.
8 thoughts on “Where there’s mud, there’s mastitis”
Excellent post – Mud is the bane of farmers and cows. There are also updated information sheets available for farmers on managing various animal health and welfare issues as a result of wet conditions at… http://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/wet-conditions.
Thanks for the extra info, Bridget. Even those farmers not affected by the floods this year have had to deal with lots of issues caused by record rain.
The team at Clover Hill Dairies so admire your passion for passion for the pursuit and practice of profitable, ethical and environmental farming excellence.
That’s very sweet of you and means a lot coming from such an amazing dairy enterprise. For anyone who doesn’t already know about Cloverhill Dairies, please do click on their website link to see what Lynne Strong and her remarkable team do.
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