Mastitis and Udder Care

April 3, 2012 08:40 PM


TravisLarsonTravis Larson

Okeechobee, Fla.

Larson is a third-generation dairy producer in southern Florida, milking 4,200 cows.




**Extended comments in blue
At Larson Dairy, we strive to produce wholesome, high-quality milk that any retail location would be proud to serve or sell.
Since milk quality is a focus in our operation, mastitis and udder care are manageable, even in our challenging environment. We use aggressive prevention, treatment and culling to effectively control mastitis. Following a proactive protocol for mastitis has allowed us to prevent, treat and cull to control high somatic cell counts and poor milk quality.
Larson Dairy begins mastitis prevention with sound milking procedures, managing freestall beds and implementing a rigorous J5 vaccination protocol.
Our milking procedure is as follows: predip with 1% iodine, fore-strip, wipe, attach and postdip with Quadruplex. Milkers flag all cows with mastitis, and the herdsman pulls those cows out of the herd throughout the day.
Freestall beds are groomed daily and new sand is added to a pen every day, unless it is raining. Tek-Trol is sprayed on the beds three times per week to prevent bacteria. The pusher rakes out any soiled beds as he brings the cows up to be milked.
Cows receive J5 injections at 16 days in milk (DIM), 60 DIM, 120 DIM and at dryoff. Cows are dried off with Albadry and Orbeseal. We also believe that flaming udders and trimming tails once every three weeks aids in mastitis prevention.
Another key to mastitis prevention is parlor maintenance. Parlor checks are performed routinely and become more in-depth when we notice multiple new mastitis cases arising. Pulsators are checked once a month unless a problem occurs. Inflations and air tubes are changed every two weeks. Milk hoses, wash hoses and pulsator hoses are changed every six months. Claws and claw windows are replaced as necessary.
At Larson Dairy, we feel that consistently abiding by a mastitis protocol allows cows to be treated effectively by multiple herdsmen without confusion, redundancies or over-usage errors.
Our protocol begins with a five-day treatment of Spectramast. If cows are not clear after five days, quarters are banded or cows are culled. Toxic mastitis cows are treated with Naxcel IV, Banamine IV and supportive therapy. Toxic mastitis cows are also treated with intramammary Spectramast. Strict record-keeping allows us to quickly identify chronic cows and cull them from the herd.
We also try to pre-identify mastitis cases as treat or cull. Older cows with a history of mastitis are usually culled, as well as three-quartered cows with toxic mastitis. Cows that have been identified as an udder cull and enter the hospital with mastitis are always culled. We vigorously cull for mastitis and udder quality to maintain high milk quality and low cow numbers in the hospital pen.



Larson's Most Recent Prices  
Milk (3.7% bf, 4.0% prt) $23.36/cwt.
Cull cows $80/head
Springing heifers $1,600/head (delivered)
Whole cottonseed $269/ton
Cottonseed meal $233/ton
Ground corn $300/ton
Citrus pulp $174/ton
Soybean meal $374.50/ton
Distillers' grain $250/ton


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