Thursday, 23 July 2020 09:11

Mastitis prevention move pays off

Written by  Adam Fricker
When it comes to mastitis prevention, farmer Enda Hawe targets specific cows based on herd results. When it comes to mastitis prevention, farmer Enda Hawe targets specific cows based on herd results.

Dairy farmer Enda Hawe’s focus on mastitis prevention and teat condition rather than blanket use of DCT during dry off is paying dividends.

A former Sharemilker of the Year, Enda Hawe has run his own farm in Rakaia for the last two years under the banner Emerald Pastures – a nod to his homeland, Ireland.

His approach to drying off has evolved over the years, with the aim now being mastitis prevention, including a real focus on the importance of maintaining excellent teat condition.

Rather than opting for blanket use of antibiotics when drying off, he targets specific cows based on their performance in herd test results.

“Approaching drying off, I like to wind the cows down quite hard. I minimise the green feed, and substitute with straw to reduce the quantity of milk flow,” says Hawe. “I make sure I get the teat spray on there. And I don’t blanket dry cow [therapy]. I selectively chose the cows to administer dry cow therapy (DCT) to, based on their herd tests.”

He says that by keeping somatic cell counts down all year by using the right products, he doesn’t end up with an unnecessarily high DCT bill at the end of the season. This approach to drying off has worked well for him for over 10 years now. 

Part of Hawe’s regime during the last decade has been choosing the right teatspray – in his case, Deosan TeatX. Eleven years ago, he saw better teat condition within a week of first using the product and has stuck with it ever since. He says he started using it as a teatspray before his cows calved, aiming to lift teat condition in his herd – a key component of his ‘prevention’ approach to mastitis.

In the same way that his selective use of DCT saves him money, using a teatspray with a fast-acting surfactant formulation that delivers the ‘actives’ to where the bugs are, pays dividends. If the active ingredient doesn’t get into skin, it is probably a waste of money.

Science backs up Hawe’s belief in incorporating good teatspray into an effective mastitis prevention regime. Otago University Professor Greg Cook, whose work has focused on antimicrobial resistance, teamed up with Kiwi-owned agrichemical company, Deosan, to advance the science around teatsprays – sanitizing products that prevent infections in the first place, reducing the need for antibiotics later on.

Deosan managing director Kip Bodle says the work with Professor Cook on teatsprays sharpened Deosan’s focus onto what is best for the cow.  He says what is best for the cow is not formulations loaded with unnecessarily high levels of ‘actives’, it is formulations that enhance the cow’s natural defence mechanisms.

“Enhancing rather than hindering its natural defence mechanisms against mastitis is more about skin condition than killing bugs,” says Bodle. “So we started by reviewing our surfactant formulation to maintain a very fast penetration speed into the skin surface, then on emolliency to support skin condition, and then the level of active ingredient to kill mastitis bugs.”

More like this

Mastitis can milk you dry

Most clinical mastitis occurs over calving, so if you’ve had a good spring, you probably feel like you’re in the clear. 

Pig virus on the march

A new report warns that a virus decimating parts of the global pork industry could spread to more countries next year.

Facial eczema – the hidden killer

Most of the damage caused by facial eczema (FE) is subclinical (no obvious external signs) and goes unnoticed until it’s too late, comments Agritrade.



Limited feed puts ewes at risk

Severe feed shortages in parts of the country mean many ewes are on a nutritional knife-edge heading into lambing and could be at risk of developing metabolic disorders.

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped him getting out and about in difficult environments.


$10 payout!

A small but select group of Fonterra farmers are on the cusp of setting a new milk payout record.

The migrant workers dilemma

Dairy farmers want more Kiwi workers, but they also want relaxed immigration restrictions. So, what's the problem?

Producing milk, the Miraka way

The goal of Māori-owned dairy company Miraka, near Taupo, is to become the most sustainable dairy company in the world.

Machinery & Products

Landpower invests in cow central

One of Australasia’s largest, privately-owned farm machinery distributors, Landpower is building a new $10 million complex adjacent to Hamilton Airport.

Maize moisture in a moment

With forage maize playing such an important part of the New Zealand fodder supply chain, a useful hand-held moisture measuring…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

A ticking timebomb?

There could be another dairy health scare brewing in China and this one starts in our backyard.

Please explain

Does anyone in the Government understand the essential role St John Ambulance has in our society?

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter