Stall Bedding is Key

April 5, 2009 07:00 PM

*Extended comments are highlighted in blue.

Louie Kazemier
Rickreall, Ore.
Like it or not, mastitis prevention is the biggest challenge on a dairy—at least, it is on our dairy. We have tried all sorts of approaches here. But when all is said and done, I think mastitis prevention can be summed up in one word: bedding.

Good-quality, bacteria-free bedding in the freestalls is the key. It can be sand, but it has to be clean. It can be compost, but it has to be composted and turned regularly for two months. We add composted manure to the stalls every week, and more if needed. We rake and lime the stalls twice a week. Currently, our SCC is about 220,000 to 250,000 and we are treating three cows out of the 1,600 milk cows.

We singe the hair on the udders on all the fresh cows, and we also do the entire herd twice a year.

With a large commercial herd, it seems that the quality bonus incentives our creamery offers are out of reach. The creamery has things so tight that we only qualify for 3¢ out of a possible 15¢. We do our best, but it seems we have a ways to go to get the quality prices.

Kazemier's February Prices  
Milk (3.5% bf, 2.99% prt): $9.52/cwt. (gross)
Cull cows: $41/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,350/head
Top-quality alfalfa $230/ton
Flaked corn (2009 contracted) $280/ton (spot $195/ton)
Cottonseed  $290/ton

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