“When a cow calves, it is kept in the hospital pen for three days. Hospital pens are checked daily, and we monitor the health of the cows and check for antibiotic residues to ensure quality of milk,” said Kris Wardin of Evergreen Dairy Farm, one of six herds to win Platinum honors in this year’s National Dairy Quality Awards competition. “Heifers are all cultured for mastitis pathogens the first day of milking,” added the St. Johns, Mich., dairyman.
"Any cow with a previous history of high somatic cell count (SCC) or Staphylococcus aureus is cultured,” added Wardin, who ships his milk to the Michigan Milk Producers Association. “SCC reports from DHIA (Dairy Herd Information Association) help identify cows needing attention throughout lactation.”
All six of this year’s Platinum winners of the National Mastitis Council’s (NMC) awards share additional insight in this Hoard’s Dairyman Intel as well as the Round Table found on pages 52 to 54 of the January 25, 2020, issue of Hoard’s Dairyman. This year’s competition drew over 80 nominations and winners received their awards at the NMC annual meeting on January 31, 2020.
Here are responses from the other five winners regarding the question “Describe your fresh cow monitoring.”
Fischer-Clark, Hatley, Wis.: All cows have individual SCC done through DHIA monthly testing. Cows with a somatic cell score greater than 400,000 for two months back-to-back have their milk cultured on farm. We use tri-plates.
Maple Ridge, Stratford, Wis.: Cleanliness!
For the first six milkings, notes are taken for every milking and treatments are administered for any clinical cases. Every treated cow is tested for antibiotic residues before its milk goes in the bulk tank. If it is a first-time clinical case, we culture and treat, respectively, if gram positive.
RKB, Faribault, Minn.: Fresh cows are kept in the special needs pen, marked with duct tape, and milked at the end of milking. The strip cup is closely monitored, and they are checked with the California Mastitis Test (CMT). Cows are treated if they show signs of mastitis. Their milk is withheld per dry cow treatment labels.
Wilson Centennial, Carson City, Mich.: Milk samples are taken after the antibiotic withholding time has passed and sent to Ovid Lab to confirm antibiotic clearance. If cows are negative, we move on to CMT steps. If positive, we wait an additional three days and retest. We run CMT on all cows, including the first-calf heifers. If they score a 3 or higher on CMT, we take the milk sample to Sterner Vet Clinic for culturing. We will discuss treatment options if the culture comes back with an uncommon pathogen or make culling decisions. We repeat these steps until CMT scores are 2 or less and milk is able to go into bulk tanks. We utilize the following vaccinations/treatments for dry-off as well as to ensure quality of milk: Endovac-Dairy, Bovi-Shield Gold, and Multimin.
Windmill, Middleton, Idaho: We individually sample all fresh cows and heifers and send the samples to the lab for testing for Staph. aureus, Mycoplasma, and Strep ag.