How this Kilkenny farmer reduced his SCC and mastitis cases
The importance of cow hygiene and comfort cannot be stressed enough when it comes to the winter housing period.
For dairy herds, the biggest risk of infection indoors is when cows are lying on cubicles; their udder and teat come into contact with unhygienic surfaces which can feature a build-up of faeces, urine and sometimes milk. In addition, the cow is also transmitting her heat onto the cubicle, making it an ideal area for bacteria to survive and multiply.
During this period, the group most at risk of contracting mastitis are milking cows, as their teat canals are open for two-to-three hours per day in comparison to dry cows. Cows close to calving are also at risk as they can leak milk for a few days before calving down.
For most farmers, the use of cubicle lime is critical to increase the pH of cubicle beds and inhibit the growth of bacteria. Once such farmer is Andrew Leeson, who is currently milking 360 cows on a 340ac platform in Co. Kilkenny.
In the video (below), Andrew discusses the key role that Bennettsbridge Limestone’s cubicle lime has played in minimising the growth of bacteria and optimising herd health and performance.
Why choose Bennettsbridge limestone cubicle lime?
Bennettsbridge Limestone’s cubicle lime is a unique disinfectant product, that combines all the antibacterial benefits of a hydrated lime in a mild, super-absorbent blend which will inhibit the growth of bacteria, aid in the prevention of mastitis and provide excellent cow comfort.
It is formulated using hydrated lime and a superfine limestone powder which comes from the Bennettsbridge Limestone high purity calcium quarry in Kilkenny.
The cubicle lime is finely ground for high surface area coverage and maximum absorption, ensuring cows are clean, dry and comfortable for longer. It successfully deactivates E.coli, salmonella and mastitis-causing bacteria such as staphylococcal and streptococcal by raising the pH above 12.5 (until deactivated).
Bennettsbridge Limestone offers a full range of Cubicle Lime Blends, available in 1t bags. The stronger the hydrated lime blends, the longer it will sustain pH levels of treated areas for lasting animal protection.
- Superfine regular lime;
- 10% hydrated blend;
- 30% hydrated blend;
- 50% hydrated blend.
Bennettsbridge Limestone offers nationwide delivery direct to farm within two working days.
Steps to minimise the growth of bacteria and increase cow comfort
The below steps should be implemented to help minimise the growth of bacteria:
- The design of the cubicle can make a big difference when it comes to hygiene. The brisket board should be on, or just above the mat and is there to stop the cow from lying too far up the cubicle and to keep her rear end just off the back of the mat.
- Passageways should be scraped down and cleaned twice daily. When using automatic scrapers, it is recommended to run these six to eight times per day to reduce the volume of dung being brought onto the cubicle bed.
- The use of rubber mats is also recommended as they make the cleaning process easier and increase hygiene levels.
- As mentioned above, hydrated cubicle lime is recommended as a cubicle disinfectant as its pH is 12.4 above the tolerance threshold for streptococcal and staphylococcal bacteria; two of the most common causes of mastitis.
- When applying cubicle lime, the optimum amount per cubicle is approximately a fistful. Other ways of administering cubicle lime include using a scoop to ensure an even amount is spread. Gloves and goggles should always be worn when applying cubicle lime as it can lead to severe eye irritation.