Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) members Michael and Margaret Laffan farm alongside their son Andrew, in Adare, Co. Limerick.

Their herd – The Everground herd – comprises 40 grass-based cows, producing an average annual milk yield of 9800L from 2t of concentrates per cow.

Currently, the herd’s udder health is being managed with virtually no antibiotics; however, this has not always been the case.

High SCC

According to the Laffans, the main health challenge in their herd had been high somatic cell counts (SCC).

The Laffans used antibiotics to deal with this issue but it meant that milk had to be withheld from sale. Not only was this resulting in lost milk income, but antibiotics were a major cost to the business.

In 2019, Mayo Healthcare representative Pat Corbett introduced the family to Maycillin, a dairy health system in bolus from which releases allium sativum.

Cows in the Everground herd that have a cell count of 250,000 cells/ml or higher are now bolused with Maycillin.

The Laffans report that the average SCC in their herd is now running at 75,000 cells/ml, compared to 177,000 in the same period in 2019.

This is approx. a 58% decrease for the herd’s SCC.

“We use virtually no antibiotics for treating udder health issues such as mastitis, repeat mastitis and high cell counts,’’ said Margaret.

This, said Margaret, gives her peace of mind in the parlour, as there is no longer the danger of antibiotic milk accidentally entering the bulk tank.

And with no milk withdrawal period for cows that have been given the bolus, every drop of milk produced can be sold.

In 2020, the Laffans also used Maycillin Dry during drying off on selected cows dried-off with teat sealant only and these cows have calved-down this spring without any issues.

For more information on Maycillin, visit the Mayo Healthcare website by clicking here.