The value of a Milk Quality Consult
Every year in autumn, prior to spring calving cows being dried off, we endeavor to conduct a Milk Quality Consult (MQC) with all of our dairy clients.
MQC's are way more than just a prescription exercise for dry cow therapy (DCT) antibiotics. While DCT is an important part of mastitis control, it is only one part. A MQC is a valuable opportunity for you to actually sit down and talk with your vet in a focused way - to identify areas of success and areas for improvement, to set goals around reducing your bulk milk somatic cell count (BMSCC) and, if applicable, make a plan to reduce clinical mastitis in your herd.
Included is discussion on your:
- BMSCC curve - what does it tell us about mastitis in your herd?
- Rate of clinical mastitis - is it a cause for concern? When do the cases occur? What is the rate of calving mastitis in both your heifers and cows?
- Herd test data - what percentage of your herd is sub-clinically infected and what is the new infection rate?
- Estimated cost of mastitis - what is mastitis currently costing you and what you stand to gain from improvement?
You stand to gain, on a number of levels, by improving your milk quality:
- Increased production - reducing the BMSCC from 250,000 to 125,000 results in a 1.8% increase in herd production.
- Reduced animal health costs - the cost of treating a case of clinical mastitis ranges from $90 to $200.
- No grades - grades for breaching BMSCC limits can be costly.
- Reduced losses - fewer deaths, dried-off quarters, damaged udders and less culling.
- Less stressed and happier staff - management of mastitis cases and rising BMSCC adds to workload and stress levels.
- Milk payment incentives - Open Country provides milk payment incentives for meeting company BMSCC targets. Fonterra review this option regularly and it may be introduced in the future.
- Pride in producing a quality product (and bragging rights to your neighbours!)
The way to get the most out of your MQC is by supplying as much and as accurate information as possible. If you are signed up to Infovet and regularly enter your clinical mastitis events into Minda, then we already have most of the information we need. If not we will ask you, prior to your MQC, to fill in a milk quality review questionnaire.
Together lets work together to identify any milk-quality problems, responsibly select the most appropriate DCT option and get a reduction in your BMSCC in the coming season.