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Advice for Missed Milkings due to Storms

05 March 2012

NEW ZEALAND - Taranaki, North Island dairy farmers dealing with the effects of last weekend’s storm are advised to remember that cows are resilient and careful management will get them through any missed milkings.

DairyNZ regional leader Jo Bishell says DairyNZ research has shown that delays of up to a week can be tolerated by mid-lactation herds, and with careful handling, they can return to full or near-full milk production.

“Managing potential spikes in somatic cell counts (SCC) is the priority for farmers who have missed milkings. Farmers should try to milk their cows at least once-a-day, however if missed milkings have occurred, expect fluctuations in SCC and the likelihood of increased numbers of cows with clinical mastitis,” says Ms Bishell.

“Attention to hygiene is very important, apply cups to clean, dry teats and wear gloves or keep hands clean. Teats should be sprayed manually after each milking.

“Look for signs of soreness and ‘off-colour’ cows, along with clots in foremilk and milk that is an unusual colour or consistency.”

Farmers should make sure the cows are milked out fully and any showing clinical signs of mastitis are stripped out by hand. Typically, bulk milk SCCs take two to five days to recover from a spike, depending on the period without milking.

If farmers are milking multiple herds through one dairy shed, they must keep penicillin cows and their milk separate and ensure that the milking machine is washed inbetween different farm herds.

Many maize crops have suffered significant damage – their ability to be harvested for maize silage will depend on the amount of damage and the maturity of the crop. Farmers are advised to treat on a case-by-case basis and contact their local advisor. “There is no need for instant action prior to a crop inspection by a maize advisor and contractor,” says Ms Bishell.

Key advice for managing missed milkings:

  • Cows are resilient, those which have missed milkings for up to seven days can return to full or near-full milk production;
  • Expect fluctuations in somatic cell count (SCC) and the likelihood of increased numbers of cows with clinical mastitis;
  • Attention to hygiene is very important, ensure cups are applied to clean and dry teats, and wear gloves;
  • Teats should be sprayed manually after each milking;
  • Look for signs of soreness and ‘off colour’ cows, along with clots;
  • Wash milking machines inbetween the milkings of herds from different farm;
  • Keep penicillin cows and their milk separate.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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