Success in the fight against Mastitis from Australia

Report from two great CowSignals Trainers

William and Kamilla from Australia. They are doing a fantastic job 'down under'. This is what they wrote:

"We thought you might like this clip. We have been working hard on creating a better life for the dairy cows on this farm. The one missing link was a soft and dry bed and we have had endless problems with sick cows, lameness, mastitis etc.

Finally 2 weeks ago the cows went into their new home. William has been working very hard on getting this shed right and we are so delighted with how it is going so far. These cows are milked in robots and number of milkings are up, milk production is up and so is rumination. So far, touch wood, no mastitis. Cows are doing 33 litres (all year round calving and 160 DIM) and the cows are looking a lot cleaner already. We are very excited and so are the owners!

Cheers from Australia

William Scott and Kamilla Breinhild

PS: We had to get this shed up “on a bit on a budget” so there are posts in the shed as a single span was too expensive. However, the owner came up with the great tyre idea around the posts as we said that they had to make sure that cows couldn’t injure themselves on the square posts. Anyway, the cows are loving the tyres….the scratch and rub against them so that was a whole other benefit in the end."

Please let us know what you think, post your comment below.
We love feedback, thanks!

Comments (13)

Chris King

Great to see the video and the cow's reaction to the barn. What was the base/composition of the flooring? Later when they settled down what were the observations regarding cows feeding, standing and lying down?

William

Hi Chris thanks for your comments. The building has a gravel base with 60cm of saw dust; which we intend to compost. This is a box robot farm and we have made the following observations. Rumination have increased to 400 up from 350 minutes. There was an increase in milk production of 3litres over 24 hours; the herd averages 33l/day. Half an hour after the cows had their run around they all lay down. We are trying to get some data loggers so we can find out exact lying times. The compost pack is stirred twice a day.

Ljiljana

It is like a sunshine regge! The joy of animals made me smiling and giggling!
I am sending that link to all my farm managers and my colleagues!
If Chris did not aked I would ask the same.

What I do not understand is that compost pack- like pressed saw dust?!
What is the price of one m3 ?

The best regards from Croatia!

Annelise Hever

Great work, congratulations! I am doing farm managment support for LELY (Switzerland) and I am working as nutritionist. You still can get more robot visits and healthier cows if you stimulate rumination further to at least 450 min / day on herd average. There is a direct correlation between activity and rumen health (pH). You can get there with more effective fiber of good quality (alfalfa) and a high dry matter intake by shorter feeding intervalls, means that the feed should be pushed more often - or pushed automatically. This will strenghten the immune system of the cows and is a great prevention for mastitis an high SCC. Make sure that there is plenty of focus on the cleanliness of the robot arm and the liners (and the brushes if it's a LELY), compost particles should be completely rinsed off all parts which are in touch with the udder. Otherwise bacteria will love it!

Donal

Great vid clip guys. And congrats on developing a cow friendly feature for your herd. I'm interested in your rumination statistic. How do you arrive at the figure of 400 rumination minutes per cow. Content cows do ruminate more and further full-fill their genetic potential. Well done again.

Halbe

Hai guys, you did a great job. It's like the cows who go out after a long winter into the pasture stretching their legs. That are a moments we all do it for: feeling happy seeing your cows are happy. A stress free environment for the cows means also no stress for the farmer. I think that mastitis is one of the most stressfull things for a dairyfarmer (running out of feed is the most stressing event). Greatings from France.

Bill Gehm

It would be interesting to see actual data regarding lameness and mastitis as the video does not provide that information. There are many farms with similar beeding and with natural (pasture based) that still suffer the same problems at the same rate as documented in many independent studies. As Annelise pointing out bacteria will still be present and thriving so you have to ask yourself what has changed to prevent that bacteria from being pumped up into the teat sinus during the milking process. If you still have bacteria and still have the liner pinching you will still have mastitis and if you have mastitis.

Kamilla

Hi Ljiljana, thanks for your support and message from Croatia. A compost pack is basically normal sawdust (kiln dried is preferred) that is stirred twice daily to aerate the pack which then composts the bedding material, manure and urine. We go down to a depth of approximately plus 30 cm when stirring it. The pack is very hot underneath but beautifully soft and dry on the top. More sawdust is added when the pack starts to become too moist. On this farm we have added sawdust twice in the last 4 weeks. The pack is started with about 30-40 cm depth of sawdust. The cost of the shed obviously varies but about $1000 (AU $) per cow. Each cow has 10m3 of space. Shed design is very important to get good ventilation.
Kind regards Kamilla

Kamilla

Halbe wrote:
Hai guys, you did a great job. It's like the cows who go out after a long winter into the pasture stretching their legs. That are a moments we all do it for: feeling happy seeing your cows are happy. A stress free environment for the cows means also no stress for the farmer. I think that mastitis is one of the most stressfull things for a dairyfarmer (running out of feed is the most stressing event). Greatings from France.

Hi Halbe
Nice to hear from you and thank you so much for your comments. We are really happy with how the new barn is going so far and the cows are so content and happy in there. We will keep you posted. Hope all is well with you in France. Best regards from us both

William

Bill Gehm wrote:
It would be interesting to see actual data regarding lameness and mastitis as the video does not provide that information. There are many farms with similar beeding and with natural (pasture based) that still suffer the same problems at the same rate as documented in many independent studies. As Annelise pointing out bacteria will still be present and thriving so you have to ask yourself what has changed to prevent that bacteria from being pumped up into the teat sinus during the milking process. If you still have bacteria and still have the liner pinching you will still have mastitis and if you have mastitis.

William

Bill you are correct that the compost bed would be full of bacteria; but the teat sphincter is closed when the cows are lying down and the surface of the bed is dry and does not stick to the teats. The process works as a well rested cow will get up to be milked, following her being milked she will stand and eat for about an hour before returning to the compost barn to rest. If the bed is wet and the material sticks to the teats, then yes you could have an increased chance of the animal contracting an infection. The success of this system working stems from animals who are well rested, have good immune systems and have healthy claws.

Kamilla

Annelise Hever wrote:
Great work, congratulations! I am doing farm managment support for LELY (Switzerland) and I am working as nutritionist. You still can get more robot visits and healthier cows if you stimulate rumination further to at least 450 min / day on herd average. There is a direct correlation between activity and rumen health (pH). You can get there with more effective fiber of good quality (alfalfa) and a high dry matter intake by shorter feeding intervalls, means that the feed should be pushed more often - or pushed automatically. This will strenghten the immune system of the cows and is a great prevention for mastitis an high SCC. Make sure that there is plenty of focus on the cleanliness of the robot arm and the liners (and the brushes if it's a LELY), compost particles should be completely rinsed off all parts which are in touch with the udder. Otherwise bacteria will love it!

Dear Annelise
Thank you very much for your comments and your support. We are really happy that ruminations have increased significantly since the cows went into this shed we are now sitting at around 450 min/day. Thanks for your comment about activity and ruminations; that is interesting and makes a lot of sense. We have certainly seen that the numbers of milkings per cow have improved (from 2.3 milking to 2.7). I am sure that this has a lot to do with healthier cows but also well-rested animals with better claw health. Best regards and thanks again Kamilla

Gerald Foelsch

Seems you have found a way to keep Cows Happy as well as the help. It's almost like turning out pasture without having to go catch them up. More relaxed caws Always produce MORE MILK!

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