CellCheck_Newsletter_November _Final

NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

ANIMAL HEALTH IRELAND Contributing to a profitable and sustainable farming and agri-food sector through improved animal health CellCheck NEWSLETTER

CELLCHECK PROGRAMME NEWS

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www.AnimalHealthIreland.ie

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR P4

CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH P7

NATIONAL MASTITIS CONTROL PROGRAMME

CellCheck AnimalHealthIreland.ie Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41 WN27

AHI gratefully acknowledges the financial and other contributions of our stakeholders to the CellCheck programme.

NATIONAL MASTITIS CONTROL PROGRAMME

CellCheck AnimalHealthIreland.ie Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41 WN27

CELLCHECK PROGRAMME

November News

Finola McCoy, Programme Manager

W elcome to the November issue of the CellCheck newsletter. One of the key activities in the CellCheck calendar this month will be the presentation of the CellCheck Milking For Quality awards at a national ceremony in Kilkenny on Thursday November 23 rd . The winners are currently being notified by their co-ops of their success, and I would like to congratulate all! We continue to see annual progress, even among the suppliers with the best somatic cell counts in the country, with all winners for the 2016 supply year having an SCC of 78,000 cells/mL or less, compared to 93,000 cells/mL in 2015! It is also important to remember that while this award scheme recognises the 500 suppliers with the best average SCC, there are many more suppliers achieving excellent standards of udder health, with only decimal points separating them from the award winners. This issue also looks in more detail at the decisions around dry cow therapy, and how the current concern around antibiotic resistance may influence some of these decisions. This is a changing landscape, as a greater body of research grows and helps to answer some of our questions. However, there are still some questions that we don’t have conclusive evidence or answers for yet, so how best to proceed? Different countries have adopted different strategies in relation to using antibiotic dry cow therapy, but with no universal agreement or evidence yet on what is the ‘best’ strategy. However, what is universally recognised is the importance of having good milk recording data to help inform these strategies, and excellent hygiene and dry cow management. Finally, our guest contributor this month is Brendan Dillon from Glanbia, who looks at the importance of regular milking machine maintenance and discusses some of the routine checks that farmers should carry out in between services in order to keep a finger on the pulse.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

Guest Contributor

The Importance of a Milking Machine Service

Brendan Dillon, CellCheck Technical Working Group Member and Milk Quality Advisor, Glanbia

T he Irish Milk Quality Co-operative Society (IMQCS) was set up in 1989 with the aim to improve Irish quality standards and to ensure Irish milking machine installations and testing standards equate with the best international standards. To be an IMQCS-registered milking machine technician, all technicians must be affiliated with IMQCS, and must attend a refresher course every two years. For a Bord Bia SDAS audit, a farmer must have a milking machine test report and this report is required to come from an IMQCS registered technician. All IMQCS-registered technicians are listed on the ICOS website www.milkquality.ie. During our CellCheck Farmer Workshops, we highlight the importance of an efficient and effective operating milking machine. The milking machine is the dairy farmer’s combine harvester. This machine is used every day, for 300 days in seasonal milk production, and for winter milk production it is used for 365 days a year. The milking machine runs for three to four hours per day and over the course of one lactation, it is on the cow for between 60 and 70 hours. Therefore, it is critical that the milking machine is functioning to its maximum and to ensure that, it should be tested by a qualified technician every six months.

FUNCTION OF THE MILKING MACHINE The milking machine applies intermittent vacuum to the teat end, which causes the teat end to open and lets the milk flow out. A constant vacuum level should be maintained in the system throughout the milking. The pulsation system is responsible for maintaining good blood circulation, and rest periods for the teat. As well as a test every 6 months, there are regular checks that farmers can do, which can give an early indicator of a machine problem, which should prompt follow-up investigation.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

A. Daily checks

• Air admission holes are usually in the claw piece. If the hole is blocked liner slips can occur and there will be milk in the liners when the cluster is being taken off. Use the proper tool designed to unblock or clear the air admission holes. • The vacuum gauge is critical-tap the face of the gauge to ensure the needle is not stuck. • When the milking machine is working and milking, the pulsation should be regular; listen to the relays and if they are out of sync, get the machine tested. • As milk enters the receiving jar, there should be a steady flow except when emptying the recorder jars. If there is turbulence, air leaks are likely. • Check cows’ teats as you remove the clusters. If teats are discoloured, either red or blue, it can suggest problems such as high vacuum or over milking and this should be investigated. • Observe cows when they are milking-unsettled cows can be an indicator of a milking machine problem. • All liners come with marking on the lip and on the stem; ensure these markings are aligned. • The filter on the pulsation airline needs to be kept clean to avoid dirt getting into the relays. • When milking, make sure the regulator is releasing air; a hissing sound should be heard. • Liner condition is critical. Liners are the only component of the machine that comes in direct contact with the cows’ teats, and they need to be kept in good condition. When liners are worn, they lose their shape and do not massage the teat correctly, resulting in longer milking times and reduced yields. Worn liners are also a source of bacteria, particularly thermoduric bacteria, as the bugs hide in the cracks in the liner. Liners should be changed every 2,000 milkings or every six months, whichever comes first. • The drain valve on the air line should be open when the milking machine has stopped working. Any milk/water coming from this airline post-milking would suggest a cut liner or pulse tube. • The oil in the vacuum pump forms a seal between the rotor and the frame of the motor, to keep the vacuum from leaking air/vacuum.

1. Check air admission holes are clear 2. Read the vacuum gauge 3. Listen to the pulsators. 4. Watch milk entering receiver jar 5. Check teats as cups come off 6. Check cow behaviour

B. Weekly Checks

1. Check for twisted liners 2. Check filters on pulsator air lines 3. Listen to the regulator 4. Check liner condition 5. Check drain valves on pulsator air lines 6. Check vacuum pump oil level

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

1. Check effective reserve 2. Check milking times 3. Check liner slips C. Monthly checks

CONCLUSION The milking machine can have an effect on the incidence of mastitis. It can act as a vector for bacteria from cow to cow. It can damage the teat end, increase bacteria at the teat end and create impact forces at the teat end. Therefore it is critical that the milking machine is serviced twice a year. Remember this is the dairy man’s combine harvester and where the money is made! finish it will usually be between seven and ten minutes. • During one milking, record the number of liner slips or squawks that need to be corrected by the milker. Five or less per 100 cows is acceptable, while 10 or more per 100 cows suggests that the machine needs servicing. • Effective reserve can be checked by closing the buttons on all the clawpieces and then opening just one. If the vacuum gauge drops by more than 2 kPa, then the effective reserve is not adequate. This test is applicable for plants with 16-32 units. If there are more than 32 units, open two units and check the vacuum gauge again. • The ‘milking time’ is roughly the time it takes to milk one cow. It will depend on cow yields, but from milk let-down to

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH Is it time to rethink how we use antibiotic dry cow therapy? W hat is antibiotic resistance, and why are we so concerned about it recently? What role does antibiotic use play in its development, and how can those of us working in the dairy sector positively influence this? Is there an opportunity for more prudent use of antibiotics on Irish dairy farms, particularly when drying off cows? What science is available to help guide these decisions, while still protecting the udder health of the herd? This article looks at these areas, drawing on national and international research to answer some of these questions, while also highlighting that there are still some questions to which we don’t have all the answers. WHAT IS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE? While antibiotic resistance, or AMR (antimicrobial resistance) as it is usually referred to, is a natural phenomenon and has been around as long as antimicrobials have been, it is fast becoming part of our everyday vocabulary. This is because the pace at which it has been developing in more recent years has increased, and it is now recognised as being a significant threat to human health. AMR is resistance of a microorganism to a drug to which it was previously susceptible. When the microorganism is a bacterium, and the drug to which it is resistant is an antibiotic, this is known as antibiotic resistance. THE IMPORTANCE OF ANTIBIOTICS IN HUMAN AND ANIMAL HEALTH [Click here] for previously published tips

Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have revolutionised human and animal health and improved the quality of all of our lives. However, this is now changing, with AMR effectively ‘weakening’ these invaluable medical treasures. By 2050, it is estimated that AMR-related deaths in humans will have increased more than 10- fold globally, with more people dying of AMR than from cancer (Figure 1). Hence the sense of urgency about addressing this issue, and doing so at a global level.

Figure 1. Estimated AMR-related deaths by 2050, relative to other causes of death. Source: www.amr-review.org.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH

AMR is linked to antibiotic use – increased antibiotic use in both humans and animals is linked to an increase in AMR. In relation to mastitis-causing pathogens, there is evidence to show that different bacterial species develop resistance to different antibiotic groups at different rates. Currently, antibiotics are used by doctors to treat sick people, and in the agricultural sector to treat animals. In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the linkage between AMR in people and antibiotic use in animals. For these reasons, there is increasing scrutiny of the use of antibiotics in the agricultural sector. There is agreement on the importance of antibiotics to treat sick animals. However, it is no longer considered acceptable that antibiotics should be used to prevent disease, particularly when there are other proven strategies. The focus of the Cellcheck programme is on improving herd and udder health, thereby reducing clinical and subclinical disease and also reducing the need for antimicrobials. THE ROLE OF ANTIBIOTIC DRY COW THERAPY The practice of dry cow therapy is being questioned in many countries, by farmers, consumers and society in general. Antibiotic dry cow therapy undoubtedly has an important role to play in treating infections that persist at the end of lactation and maximising cure rates. However, it has also traditionally been used to prevent new infections occurring over the dry period. Considering our changing attitude and approach towards the use of antibiotics in a ‘preventative’ fashion, do we also need to rethink how and why we use dry cow therapy? And in fact, how do we define dry cow “therapy”? Recent analysis of sales data in Ireland (More et al., 2017) indicated that sales of dry cow intramammary antibiotics were sufficient to treat 100% of the national milking herd i.e. all quarters of all cows are being treated at the end of lactation. This is what is referred to as ‘blanket dry cow therapy’ , which until recently was recognised as best practice in mastitis control and has made a very positive contribution to udder health in many countries. However, as we learn more about AMR and what drives it, we need to review what is considered best practice, as well as the implications of modifying those ‘traditional’ recommendations. Change is not without risk.

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Teat sealant Active substance

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The number of dry cow intramammary tubes sold in Ireland from 2003 to 2015 containing either active antimicrobial substance or teat sealant.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH

WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND BENEFITS OF SELECTIVE DRY COW THERAPY? An alternative to blanket dry cow therapy is ‘selective dry cow therapy’ . This is when only selected cows i.e. those with infected quarters, are treated with antibiotic before drying off. Internal teat sealer is often then used in the remainder of the herd as one of the measures to prevent new infections. While this is considered a more prudent use of antibiotic and would reduce antibiotic use on many farms, we need to bear in mind that this practice is not without risk. So how can we manage this risk? The CellCheck Technical Working Group recently reviewed all of the science and research on dry cow therapy published since early 2000’s, and have identified the following key risks:

1. The first risk is of introducing bacteria when we infuse any intramammary tube into a quarter. When we use internal teat seal only, there is no antibiotic present as “backup” and so the potential consequences are even greater. These ‘introduced’ bacteria are capable of causing severe cases of mastitis, sometimes resulting in death, early in the dry period. Hygiene standards and practices at drying off – as outlined in detail in the CellCheck Farm Guidelines (pages 117-119) – are essential to protect the udder health of the uninfected cow. 2. The second risk is of missing the opportunity to cure quarters that were infected at the point of drying off, to maximise cure rates before the next lactation starts. A very common question is “how do I know which ones are the infected animals?” . There are many criteria that need be considered when making these decisions, including milk recording results and milk culture results. Even with all this information on hand, further questions remain such as “How many milk recording results do I need to have and how close to drying off do they need to be?” and “At what cow SCC level should I consider using antibiotic dry cow therapy?” . The reality is that there are still many unknowns, and not all of these key questions can yet be answered. Everyone agrees about the key role of milk recording in helping with this decision. At this point however, different countries have adopted different herd and cow-level thresholds for deciding to treat with antibiotics at drying off. This highlights that there isn’t one, simple answer to this question. Future research, both Irish and international, should help answer some of these questions, direct good and appropriate decision-making and help us to predict the outcomes and manage some of the risks involved.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH

IS SELECTIVE DRY COW THERAPY SUITABLE FOR MY HERD? Currently the CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control, including Management Note C, outline some of the essential herd and cow-level information that must be available in order to safely consider adopting a selective dry cow therapy approach.

Selective dry cow therapy can be considered in herds where:

• There are good clinical mastitis records, milk culture results and at least 3 milk recordings in the current lactation for each cow

• Bulk tank SCC is consistently <200,000 cells/mL

• Clinical mastitis in the herd is <2% over the last 3 months prior to drying off

• The recent infection rate in the herd is consistently <5%, as indicated on the CellCheck Farm Summary Report

• Hygiene standards at drying off and management of dry cows are excellent.

Within these suitable herds, antibiotic treatment may not be required for individual cows with a somatic cell count at each of the last 3 milk recordings of <200,000 cells/mL and no history of clinical mastitis, in this lactation. These cows should also be checked with a CMT prior to drying off. The ‘Milk Recording SCC’ profile, available on the ICBF website for all farmers that are milk recording, can be used to create a list of all cows with an SCC <200,000 cells/mL on the last 3 (or more) milk recordings, by setting the relevant filters. CONCLUSION All decisions around dry cow therapy should be made in consultation with a veterinary practitioner who has knowledge of the herd, its history and environment. Over time, as more research and technologies become available, these decision-making thresholds and recommendations may change, reflecting changes in our ability to predict infection and treatment outcomes. However, the fundamental requirements of good quality information, excellent hygiene and risk management will never change.

References: More S.J., Clegg T., McCoy F. The use of national-level data to describe trends in intramammary antimicrobial usage on Irish dairy farms from 2003 to 2015. J. Dairy Sci. 2017;100:6400–6413

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

CELLCHECK REGIONAL COORDINATORS

A Resource and Point of Contact for CellCheck Activities in your Area

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Tom Starr 087 6697010

Mícheal Guinan 086 3511852 micheal.guinan@aurivo.ie Mayo/Sligo Aurivo

tstarr@arrabawn.ie Tipperary/Limerick National Co-op

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John Fitzpatrick 086 0426567

Sean McCarthy 066 7163200 sean.mccarthy@kerry.ie Kerry/Clare Kerry Agribusiness

fitzpatrickj@glanbia.ie Kilkenny/Laois/Carlow/ Kildare/Dublin Glanbia

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Sinead Treanor streanor@carbery.com 023 8822369 West Cork Carbery Group

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Andrew O’Neill 086 1836505 aoneill@tipperary-coop.ie Tipperary Tipperary Co-Op

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Tom Downes 087 2564669

Denis Guiry 086 8098639 dguiry@dairygold.ie Cork/Tipperary/Limerick Dairygold

downest@lakeland.ie Longford/Monaghan Lakeland Dairies

Brendan Dillon 087 2626851 BrDillon@glanbia.ie

Cork/Waterford/ Wexford/Wicklow Glanbia

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • NOVEMBER EDITION 2017

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