Post-milking teat disinfectant has an important role to play in controlling somatic cell counts (SCC) and mastitis within herds.

Mastitis is the most economically challenging disease on Irish dairy farms, with mild cases costing €200 and more severe cases costing over €700 – this includes lost production and treatment costs.

Cow teats are the only part of the cow that come into direct contact with the milking machine. Contact between the two can lead to the development of mastitis if not managed correctly.

Cows exiting the milking parlour are also at high risk of developing mastitis if the post-milking treatment is not completed correctly.

Most herds in Ireland already use a teat disinfectant in the form of a dip or a spray to reduce the amount of bacteria present on a cow’s teat.

Teat disinfectant

It is important that the teat disinfectant is applied straight after the cluster has been removed from the cow, before the sphincter canal starts to close.

Applying the disinfectant straight away reduces the amount of time bacteria has to enter the teat opening.

Spraying should be done before cows move off and are directed upwards, with the whole area of the teat being covered.

A more effective way for better teat coverage is teat dipping; it offers farmers better teat coverage, but takes more time.

It should also be noted that if the teat-dip cup is not cleaned between milkings, it can become a vessel to help with the spread of bacteria.


It is important that you continually monitor the effectiveness of your post-milking teat disinfectant application.

About 10ml/cow should be used for a dip and 15ml/cow for a spray. Using your herd size, you can determine if you are using enough disinfectant.

For a 100-cow herd, farmers should be using 1L of disinfectant for a dip and 1.5L for a spray per milking.

It is also important to check that the full teat is getting covered.

Spray the cow’s four teats like you normally do, using a paper towel to remove the spray from one teat.

There should be an even coverage of the teat; if not, repeat the process until there is.

A small change in the way you apply the spray can make it more effective and should reduce the bacteria present on the cows teat.