CellCheck Newsletter July FINAL

July Edition 2019

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

CellCheck NEWSLETTER

www.AnimalHealthIreland.ie

PROGRAMME NEWS | 03

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR | 05 CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH | 09 RESEARCH UPDATE | 10

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.

NATIONAL MASTITIS CONTROL PROGRAMME Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41WN27

CellCheck AnimalHealthIreland.ie

CELLCHECK PROGRAMME

Programme news

Finola McCoy, Programme Manager

W elcome to July’s CellCheck newsletter. As many Irish herds have expanded over the last few years, clusters are milking a few more cows every day than they used to. Over time this adds up and means that liners should be changed sooner than they were in the past. Liners should be changed after 2,000 milkings (or 6 months, whichever comes first). Do you know how many yours have already done this year? To find out, see this month’s Tip of the Month. Our guest contributor this month is Tom Ryan, formerly of Teagasc. In Tom’s article, he outlines some of the things to consider when designing and building cow housing, in order to minimise the risk of mastitis. If we want to reduce the mastitis challenge in the environment, then our goal is to have housing and bedding that is clean, dry and comfortable. One way to assess howwell we are doing on this is by performing a hygiene score on the animals. Our featured research article this month explains how we can use hygiene scores and looks at how they can relate to the level of mastitis in the herd. Last but not least, it’s never too early to start preparing for the dry period. With the right hygiene, management and support, many herds are successfully reducing their antibiotic use at drying off, by developing selective dry cow strategies in consultation with their veterinary practitioners. A free Dry Cow Consult is available again this year for eligible herds, delivered through the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health, funded by the Rural Development Programme and coordinated by Animal Health Ireland. For more information, see page 4.

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

If old cubicle divisions need to be replaced, take the opportunity, if possible, to correct any faults with the design. Cows will tolerate cubicles with design flaws, however lying times will be reduced and cows will be stressed... Dirty cubicle beds coupled with leaked milk produces a very severe mastitis risk. CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH CellCheck recommends that liners are changed every 2,000 milkings, or every 6 months whichever comes first. PAGE 5

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | July Edition 2019

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Housing design to minimise mastitis

Tom Ryan, Teagasc (retired)

M astitis in cows is almost always caused by bacteria which have gained access to the udder through the teat canal. These bacteria may have spread from other cows (contagious) or may be picked up in the cow’s environment i.e. from manure, soil, bedding, calving areas, etc. Bacteria such as E. coli and Strep. uberis , which survive in the cow’s environment, can cause severe cases of mastitis. Anything that will reduce the numbers of bacteria in the cow’s environment or minimise exposure of teats to these bacteria will reduce the mastitis risk. Good housing design helps to reduce the level of clinical and subclinical mastitis making it easier to produce quality milk. It does this by creating conditions that minimise teat end exposure to manure and bacteria. Cubicles A cow can spend 12 to 14 hours a day lying down if cubicles are comfortable. Cows need room to exhibit natural body movement when lying down and getting up; much the same as they would do in the field. Cows positioned comfortably will be able to rest and can easily regurgitate and chew the cud. 70 to 80% of this rumination takes place while cows are lying down. The length and width of cubicles depends on the size of cows. The general recommendation for length is 2.6m facing a wall and 2.4m each for double rows head to head (longer for very big cows). The width should be about 1.17m (wider for very big cows). Good length allows cows to lunge forward when lying down and getting up. Sufficient width will ensure she can lie straight and get up and lie down without obstruction. To increase lunging space in your current

Good housing design helps to reduce the level of clinical and subclinical mastitis making it easier to produce quality milk .

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | July Edition 2019

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HOUSING DESIGN TO MINIMISE MASTITIS

cubicles, you may need to remove walls between double rows or any other obstruction at the front of the cubicles e.g. a low rail. If old cubicle divisions need to be replaced, take the opportunity, if possible, to correct any faults with the design. Cows will tolerate cubicles with design flaws, however lying times will be reduced and cows will be stressed. Cows under stress will dung more on their beds, especially when getting up. Freshly calved cows excrete large numbers of E. coli in the faeces. Dirty cubicle beds coupled with leaked milk produces a very severe mastitis risk. Some dunging on the beds is inevitable. Typically, if less than 10% of beds have dung on them, either the cubicles are too short or the brisket board is too far back. Neckrails and brisket boards Incorrect positioning of the neckrail is a common problem. The purpose of the neck rail is to position the cow properly in the cubicle and prevent her from standing too far forward and dunging on the back of the bed. The neck rail is too far back in many sheds and cows are unable to stand fully in the cubicle. They end up standing with the back feet in the passageway. The feet are standing on concrete rather than on a soft cubicle mat. The feet are also getting dirtier which in turn leads to a dirtier udder and teats. Just moving the neck rail forward slightly can

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | July Edition 2019

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HOUSING DESIGN TO MINIMISE MASTITIS

solve the problem. Reposition the neckrail on a few bays first to find the best position. Observe how the cows are responding before finally adjusting all the neck rails. Another problem is that the height of the neckrail is usually too low. The rail is just at a height where the cow’s head should be. A low neckrail may cause cows to stand diagonally in the cubicle and as a result lie diagonally which leads to more soiling of the bed. Moving it forward will help somewhat. It is generally accepted that the neckrail should be about 1.25m above the bed. Observe cows as they stand in the cubicle to assess the problem. A brisket board is essential as it helps the cow to lie down in the right place; not too far forward or too far back, allowing her room to lunge forward and get up without hitting the neckrail. A low (about 10cm) and rounded brisket board is ideal. Again position the brisket board in a few bays initially to decide on the best location. There are many other issues with cubicle house design and use that need monitoring, e.g. the level of bullying, available feed space, animal area, passageway widths, gradient on passageways, slippery floors, dirty and narrow crossover points, not enough water troughs, poor cubicle occupancy and cows lying on slats or passageways, frequency and effectiveness of scraping and inadequate slurry storage, grouping of cows and ease of moving cows to/from the cubicle house for calving/milking. If there are problems with some of these issues, really it’s about identifying the cause and taking steps to find a practical solution. There are a whole host of day to day management tasks the need to be carefully carried out as well. Well-designed facilities will never compensate for poor attention to detail in this regard. Good maintenance of facilities is important also; maintenance is best carried out during the summer months. Ventilation Good ventilation in buildings is required for health and performance of housed livestock. The purpose of ventilation is to supply oxygen rich air and remove gases, odours, dust, bacteria and the heat and moisture generated by the housed livestock. Cows lose a lot of fluid every day; up to 5 litres from breathing and through the skin, 20 litres from urine and 30 litres from faeces. Observations of animal houses for ventilation problems should focus on size, location and type of inlets and outlets, roof pitch, height of the eaves, proximity/interference from other buildings and the presence of stale air and condensation during the housing period. Look out for damp bedding/mats due to high humidity and condensation. The presence of a lot of cobwebs, staining and drip lines on purlins and rust spots on metal cladding also indicate a problem. Avoid draughts in cow housing, particularly draughts at ground level which could cause chilling of the udder. Chilling of the udder reduces the cow’s ability to fight infection from bacteria that have penetrated the teat canal. Don’t allow cows to stand in draughty yards after milking in cold weather as the chilling affect will lead to chapping and cracking of the teats. The critical element which affects draughts is the internal airflow pattern established in the house. The airflow pattern does not change with the windspeed outside the house, however, the speed of air within the house is directly related to outside airspeed. Fast moving air causes draughts, so check for draughts at animal level. Doors left open or missing will funnel in wind and rain. Look out for poor occupancy of cubicles close to open doors.

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | July Edition 2019

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HOUSING DESIGN TO MINIMISE MASTITIS

Calving facilities Cows must have a clean dry environment for calving. They are very susceptible to infection around calving because their natural defence mechanisms are low. Calving facilities are inadequate on many farms and with compact calving and with planned expansion these facilities will be further stretched. Good calving facilities make it easier to prevent disease occurrence and spread. Weaknesses in inadequate facilities will show up, leading to increased losses, poor hygiene, extra costs, etc. Provide a straw bedded area for grouping cows prior to calving. Ideally, you would like to be able to divide this area into at least two separate areas side by side. Allow space for about 15% of the herd at 10 to 12m 2 per cow. This space would include a straw bedded area and ideally a slatted area for feeding. Slurry, seepage and washings would also be collected in the tank. To minimise the spread of disease, the drainage and washings from calving boxes and group calving areas should be piped directly from these areas and not be allowed to flow or seep across adjacent pens and passages. Even though individual calving boxes seem to be going out of favour it is essential to have some individual calving boxes, for problem cases, etc. As a guide, at least 3 calving boxes for every 100 cows would be desirable. Have enough space in calving boxes - at least 4.8m on one side by at least 3m. Have headgates – one per pen or one per two pens. A square pen of about 4.8m x 4.8m is desirable where no headgate is present. Design in health and safety as a priority. One safety feature worth considering is to face a headgate onto a passageway. This will allow you to secure an animal in the headgate before entering the pen. Provide headgates in group pens also. An area close by where equipment, disinfectant, etc., can be stored and hands and boots washed and disinfected is essential. Good natural and artificial light is essential. Calving cameras are generally regarded as desirable. Access for cleaning out and feeding mechanically should be provided. Make provision for shutting animals away from feed to limit night-time calving. Use a steel float finish on walls and tamped finish on the floor for ease of disinfection and to prevent slipping. A host of other factors such as, routine milking maintenance and testing, correct liner change intervals, good milking routine, good hygiene and teat disinfection are just as important in preventing mastitis. However, if mastitis and somatic cell count are a problem in your herd then the points made above must be investigated to see if they are contributing to the cause of the problem.

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | July Edition 2019

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CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH

Don’t risk it - time for a change!

[Click here] for previously published tips

C ellCheck recommends that liners are changed every 2,000 milkings, or every 6 months whichever comes first. This is to help prevent mastitis and ensure that maximum milk yields are being harvested. Cluster liners are designed to flex and squeeze the teat during each pulsation cycle. This massages teats and maintains blood supply. While liners are working they begin to lose tension, absorb fat and hold bacteria. After too many milkings this can reduce the speed and completeness of milking, resulting in a loss in milk yield. It also increases teat end damage and increase the spread of mastitis bacteria. Fatigued rubber can also hold bacteria and this can increase the total bacterial count (TBC) if dirt is being trapped. To calculate how many days it takes to reach 2,000 milkings, see page 52 of the CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control. For example, for the average Irish milk recording herd of 102 cows, if the full herd has been milking since March 1st in a 12 unit swing over parlour, the milking liners will have clocked up over 2,600 milkings by 31st July. These liners had completed 2,000 milkings by June 26th! Alternatively, estimate how often you should change your liners, based on the number of rows you’re milking:

No. of rows Days between changes (twice a day milking) 6 167 7 143 8 125 9 111 10 100 11 91 12 83 13 77 14 71

So, if you’re milking 8 rows of cows, you should be changing your liners every 125 days, which is approx every 4 months And if you’re milking 11 rows of cows, you should be changing your liners every 91 days, which is approx every 3 months

TIP

For more details, see www.cellcheck.ie

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | July Edition 2019

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RESEARCH UPDATE J. Dairy Sci. 86:3460–3465 © American Dairy Science Association, 2003.

Relationship Between Udder and Leg Hygiene Scores and Subclinical Mastitis

D. A. Schreiner 1 and P. L. Ruegg Department of Dairy Science University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706

ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between udder and leg hygiene scores of lactating dairy cattle and measures of subclinical mastitis. Study animals (n = 1250) consisted of lactating dairy cows from eight commercial dairy farms. Herds were enrolled during December 2000 and January 2001 and were visited bimonthly for a total of five visits per herd. Udder and leg hygiene scores were recorded by one person using a four-point scale ranging from one (very clean) to four (very dirty). Udder and leg hygiene scores were compared to bacteriological cultures of milk samples and monthly individual SCC values. Mean hygiene scores were 2.09 and 2.33 for udders and legs, respectively. Udder hygiene scores (UHS) were significantly associated with leg hygiene scores and varied among farms. Linear somatic cell scores increased as udder hygiene score increased. Significant differences in somatic cell scores were observed for all contrasts of udder hygiene score, except between scores of 1 and 2 and of 3 and 4. Linear somatic cell scores were associated with leg hygiene scores, but the only significant contrast was between leg hygiene scores of 2 and 4. There was a significant association between the prevalence of intramammary contagious pathogens and udder hygiene score. The prevalence of intramammary environmental pathogens was significantly associated with udder hygiene score and was 7.7, 10.0, 10.6, and 13.5% for UHS of 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. The prevalence of environmental pathogens was not associated with LHS. Cows with udder hygiene scores of 3 and 4 were 1.5 times more likely to have major pathogens isolated from milk samples compared with cows with hygiene scores of 1 and 2.

KEY WORDS: mastitis, milk quality, somatic cell count, udder hygiene

1 Present address: University of Wisconsin, Cooperative Extension, Green Lake Courthouse, 492 Hill St., Green Lake, WI 54941.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER | July Edition 2019

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

John Murphy 066 7163200 john.murphy@kerry.ie Kerry/Clare Kerry Agribusiness

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

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Aoife Feeney afeeney@carbery.com 087 3484901. 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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