CellCheck Newsletter MARCH FINAL

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

CELLCHECK PROGRAMME NEWS

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MARCH EDITION 2017

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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR Paschal Coughlan, HerdPlus Technical Support, ICBF

CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH P6

THE 1-2-3 OF THE CMT!

SERVICE PROVIDER NOTES P8

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

March News

Finola McCoy, Programme Manager

W elcome to the March edition of the CellCheck newsletter. Our guest contributor this month is Paschal Coughlan of ICBF. Paschal is writing about the value of milk recording for Irish dairy herds. Milk recording is often seen as an avoidable cost, particularly at times of low milk price. However, that is exactly when milk recording is most valuable as it enables farmers to maximise the profitability of their herd and make informed decisions relating to quality milk production. As we enter the busiest time of year for most dairy farmers and their service providers, it is useful to remember some quick tips that can really help to get the season off to a good start. Becoming a dab-hand with a CMT is one! Read about it in the CellCheck Tip

of the Month. Remember too, that taking milk samples from cows with mastitis in early lactation before using any treatment is a really good practice-it helps in understanding where the problem is coming from and how to prevent it in the future. Farmers should take a sample from all cases, label it well and put it in the freezer. Samples will be fine in the freezer for 4 months-they may never be needed, but on the other hand, if you are concerned about the number of cases of mastitis as the season progresses, there will be an invaluable bank of data already collected that can be sent to the lab for culture. In partnership with Limerick RVL, we have been involved in the development and roll-out of a laboratory proficiency test scheme, which commercial labs are participating in-more about this in the coming months!

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • MARCH EDITION 2017

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

10 benefits to be gained from milk recording

Paschal Coughlan, HerdPlus Technical Support, ICBF

A s we enter the era of precision agriculture, performance data and how we use it has never been of more importance. For the Irish dairy farmer the most important piece of performance data that can be collected is milk yield and quality results. As milk price projections are giving a more positive outlook for 2017, it is expected that dairy farmers may have more capital to invest in the long term profitability of their herds, through resuming or even entering milk recording for the first time. 1. The most obvious benefit of milk recording is that it allows the farmer to track their best and worst producers. This allows the farmer to make management decisions such as; which cows are underperforming and may be suitable to cull or, which cows are producing in your system and are more suitable for breeding replacements. 2. Regular milk recording will also allow the herd owner to keep track of the somatic cell count (SCC) of each cow. This will identify and facilitate the management of repeat offenders and could dramatically decrease your herds overall SCC and improve milk price. 3. Herds that are milk recording get a CellCheck Farm Summary Report after each recording-this report highlights the areas of excellence in terms of mastitis control, and also areas that could be improved. It quantifies the daily loss occurring as a result of high SCC cows, so the herd owner can clearly see what can be gained financially from preventing infection.

4. Milk recording adds significant value to any surplus breeding stock being sold off farm and increases the chances of a bull calf being selected to enter AI through the Gene Ireland programme.

5. Milk recording results are fed into ICBF’s genetic evaluations. This allows us to give your cows an EBI with a higher reliability. Herds that are milk recording also get access to high EBI young bulls through the Gene Ireland programme. Getting these bulls tested in herds that are milk recording allows ICBF to prove these bulls in a shorter period of time, thereby increasing the speed of genetic gain.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • MARCH EDITION 2017

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

6. In autumn 2017, ICBF plans to launch a new culling tool known as ‘Cows Own Worth’ or COW. This will rank cows on their expected profit potential for the rest of their lifetime. The COW will take into account the environmental aspects such as; calving date, age, milk recording results, health events, etc. The COW will act as a guide in choosing which cows to cull from your herd, and will only be available for herds that are milk recording.

7. Cost effective pregnancy diagnosis is now possible through milk samples. This service will indicate if a cow is in calf or not.

8. Milk recording data provided the phenotypic (on the ground) data that has allowed ICBF to launch genomic evaluations for the Holstein/Friesian breed. In time more milk records for crossbred cows will enable ICBF to launch genomics for crossbreds. 9. Herds that milk record at least four times in the calendar year and have the dry off dates recorded for their cows receive an Annual Report every year from ICBF. This report is now being requested by banks when farmers are seeking finance, to benchmark performance and repayment ability. 10. Milk recording records increase the compensation available for animals that have to be culled because of a positive TB reaction.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • MARCH EDITION 2017

CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH

The 1-2-3 of the CMT! E arly identification of mastitis gives you the best chance of cure, and of preventing persistent problems. Clinical cases will have obvious signs, such as clots in the milk or a swollen quarter, but what about the subclinical cases? These have no signs at all, other than a high somatic cell count (SCC). The California Mastitis Test (CMT) is a quick and easy ‘cow-side’ test that is useful for detecting subclinical mastitis by estimating the SCC of the milk. The test works on the principle that mixing milk with a reagent causes the somatic cells in the milk to rupture. When the DNA is released from these cells, it coagulates and forms slime-the more cells there are in the milk, the more “jelly-like” the result! It is good practice to check all cows and 1st lactation animals with the CMT before including their milk in the bulk tank for the first time-that way you can be confident that any problem cows are picked up early, before they cause more trouble. [Click here] for previously published tips

3 easy steps!

1. After discarding the first 3-4 squirts of foremilk, collect 2-3 squirts of milk from each quarter in each separate well. 2. Add an equal amount of reagent to each well. Swirl the paddle gently, mixing for 10 secs. 3. Look at the consistency of the fluid in each well (not the colour), and record the amount of gel reaction that occurs within 20 seconds (from none to almost solidified).

CMT kits are available from most co-op retail stores and veterinary clinics and are very inexpensive. Replacement bottles of reagent can be purchased separately. This is one of the best investments to make in your dairy-go get one and start practising!

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER MARCH EDITION 2017

CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH

What do the results mean? • Results are generally categorised as follows: negative, trace, 1, 2, 3. • This test is subjective! i.e. what you score as 1, your neighbour might score as a 2. • Remember-the important thing is that any positive reaction (1,2 or 3) indicates a high SCC in that quarter. • To become accurate and consistent, practice on cows with a known high SCC .

For more information, see the CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control, or see the YouTube video below

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • MARCH EDITION 2017

Service Provider Notes Next phase of CellCheck Farmer Workshop delivery

P lanning for the second phase of CellCheck Farmer Workshop delivery as part of the Dairy KT programme is underway. The online booking system will open in March, allowing group facilitators to select dates for workshops for each of their discussion groups. Delivery of workshops will then commence in mid-May and continue until the end of October. More information will follow in the coming months, including some tips and refreshers on workshop content and delivery, based on review of the workshops delivered to date and feedback from participants and delivery teams.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • MARCH EDITION 2017

CELLCHECK REGIONAL COORDINATORS

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

Paul Cullinan 087 2470803 Mayo/Sligo Aurivo

Brendan Dillon 087 2626851 Cork/Waterford/ Wexford/Wicklow Glanbia

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Tom Starr 087 6697010 Tipperary/Limerick National Co-op

Sean McCarthy 066 7163200 Kerry/Clare Kerry Agribusiness

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John Fitzpatrick 086 0426567 Kilkenny/Laois/Carlow/ Kildare/Dublin Glanbia

Sinead Treanor 023 8822369 West Cork Carbery Group

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Tom Downes 087 2564669 Longford/Monaghan Lakeland Dairies

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Andrew O’Neill 086 1836505 Tipperary Tipperary Co-Op

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER • MARCH EDITION 2017

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