Non-antibiotic bolus a major focus in improving udder health outcomes

A dairy producer has refocused efforts to lower somatic cell count (SCC) in his Holstein Friesian herd with a non-antibiotic approach to udder health management.

Discarded milk and price penalties were reducing the profitability of milk produced by Seamus Crawford’s 110-cow herd.

Seamus farms at Garryspillane near Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, with land stocked at 3.1 cows/ha. The farm grows 13.5t/ha of grass and the herd produces 6,587L of milk/cow/year at 3.52% protein and 3.8% butterfat from 0.85t/year of concentrates. 84% of the spring-calving herd calves in the first six weeks.

Some cows had an SCC exceeding 600,000 cells/ml and at these levels Seamus wasn’t getting paid the highest available price for his milk due to milk quality price penalties.

And, because he was using antibiotics to treat individual cows, their milk could not be sold during the withdrawal period and that was lost revenue too. So, Seamus decided to try a different approach from antibiotic treatment.

Simple solution made a big difference

This followed the launch by Mayo Healthcare of a new method of tackling udder health challenges without antibiotic use.

Maycillin is a bolus engineered to release allicin, a substance used in bolus form in several countries as an alternative to antibiotics in both clinical and sub clinical challenges.

“I use a number of Mayo Healthcare products and have for several years and have been very happy with the results so I thought I would try Maycillin,’’ says Seamus.

He was introduced to Maycillin by his local Mayo Healthcare representative, Pat Corbett, after its launch in Ireland in 2019.

Cows over 500kg are given two boluses; once administered it quickly releases and remains active in the udder for three weeks. And with clinical cases of mastitis costing an average of €230/cow, farmers need solutions for protecting udder health without needing to resort to antibiotics, says Pat.

“A herd of 100 cows with an SCC of 100,000 cells/ml can capture €11,700 more profit than a similar herd with an SCC of 400,000,’’ he calculates.

This simple solution made a big difference to udder health in Seamus’ herd.

“When the cows are treated promptly it is very effective against mastitis,’’ he says. “There is no swelling, hardening or reddening in the affected quarter. The cow sheds clots for a few days and these then clear.’’

This indicates that the product is working. In one cow with an SCC of 633,000 cells/ml, the level reduced to 38,000 after treatment and another from 536,000 to 125,000. With SCC in Seamus’ herd now averaging 126,000 cells/ml, he is receiving the highest price for his milk.

“I also treat cows at calving if they have a high SCC; these initially went up but then came down and are now holding at 120,000 to 130,000,’’ he says.

Seamus is currently considering using Maycillin on all cows with an SCC greater than 250,000 cells/ml.

“Udder health is so important now with selective dry cow therapy becoming the norm,’’ he says.

Further information

For more information, go to: www.mayohealthcare.ie; or simply click here