21 Jun 2012

More help to battle mastitis in dairy herds

1:32 pm on 21 June 2012

Dairy farmers are getting more help to manage one of the most insidious and persistent animal health issues.

Mastitis, or inflammation of the udder caused by infection, costs the dairy industry hundreds of millions of dollars year in lower production, reduced milk payments and treatment costs.

It is present in most dairy herds and can flare up at any time.

To improve their management of mastitis, farmers now have access to a new on-line resource called SmartSAMM.

Industry body Dairy NZ unveiled the programme at a milk quality conference this week.

The programme's technical manager, Dr Jane Lacy-Hulbert, says it builds on a guide that's been available to farmers for the past 10 to 15 years in the SAMM (seasonal approach to managing mastitis) Plan.

Dr Lacy-Hulbert says reducing mastitis in a herd can make a big impact on milk production and quality.

Meanwhile, a Waikato based dairy hygiene company is about to release a more powerful teat spray which it says will help farmers to significantly reduce their herd's infection rate.

Deosan New Zealand's spray uses chlorhexidine as the active ingredient instead of iodine which has commonly been used in mastitis treatments.