Teat dipping: Corner stone of any milk quality programme

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During the 1960s researchers in the United Kingdom investigated and reported what became known as the first comprehensive plan to control mastitis.

The primary bacteria causing mastitis at this time were the contagious bacteria.

The primary function of any teat dip is to flush off the milk film that will be left on the teats wherever they were exposed to vacuum during milking. Once the milk film has been flushed off, the teat dip leaves a germicide on the skin of the teat to kill any bacteria that are present. Failure to flush off the milk film will result in a nearly perfect food for bacteria to grow on the teat skin before the cows are milked at the next milking. Research has demonstrated that pre and post-milking teat dipping is one of the best methods to control the spread of contagious bacteria. These include Strep ag. and Staph aureus.

NMC publications state that more than 50% of new udder infections can be prevented by disinfecting teats with an effective product immediately after every milking. Teat disinfection does not affect existing infections. Field experience by many individuals involved in quality milk programs have indicated that teat dipping also is a major factor critical to reducing the new infection rate to environmental mastitis. Since the late 1990s several research trials have also proven that post-milking teat dipping has a significant effect on the new infection rate due to environmental bacteria.

Advances in teats dip technology allows dairy farms to have multiple choices in component makeup. Northern Ireland this year has had one of its toughest years regarding weather and the impact of this for dairy farmers is higher SCC, higher lameness and higher cases of clinical mastitis. Good quality teat dip and proper pre and post milk routines can help reduce clinical cases of mastitis, reduce SCC, improve udder health and better milk quality. The best formulation of pre and post dips this winter has to be Chlorine dioxide based.

Chlorine dioxide teat dips, are time-tested, broad spectrum germicides that combine one atom of chlorine with two oxygen atoms. This molecular structure provides the highest germ-killing or oxidation potential of all sanitizers used in teat dipping today. The chlorine dioxide molecule, with its five available electrons, provides a higher oxidation potential than iodine dips that hold just three of these important oxidation promoting electrons. Both chlorine dioxide and iodine teat dips kill germs, but chlorine dioxide teat dips are found to be faster acting against mastitis causing bacteria than iodine-based teat dips. Chlorine dioxide has been proven to be the most beneficial for tough environmental conditions. This is why this winter dairy farmers in Northern Ireland should consider Chlorine Dioxide Pre and Post Dips.

For more information or advice please contact Gary McLean of Electro Mech Agri. Telephone 028 8776 7376

(References in this document have been made from Doctor David Reid 2011 and NMC)