50% Reduction in Mastitis Cases in Front Quarters
Mastitis is a problem for every dairy operation and North Yorkshire-based Metcalfe Farms is no exception. Always looking to improve and safeguard the health of their NMR RABDF Gold Cup winning herd, Philp Metcalfe was eager to find a simple solution which promoted the health of their cow’s udders and complete milking.
Their 1,300 strong herd of pedigree Holsteins are milked through a 72-point BouMatic rotary parlour. Over time they noticed a worrying trend, their records showed twice as many cases of mastitis in the front two teats compared to the back.
Having investigated further with their dairy consultant, it became apparent that weight strain on the teats caused by dangling pipes was a significant contributor. Being a common problem in rotary parlours – Metcalfe Farms approached experienced dairy equipment innovators, JF Hudson for a simple mechanical solution.
As a result, the Lactalign cluster support was born.
Two years on at Washfold and its impact has been better than Metcalfe Farms could have hoped for, and Lactalign has now been installed on a further four NMR RABDF Gold Cup winning farms.
At the bottom of the page, you will find graphs showing the difference Lactalign has made at Metcalfe Farms (click on the image to enlarge).
Evaluation of Lactalign
To assess the effectiveness of Lactalign, an independent study was carried out by the Dairy Group's Ian Ohnstad. Over a three-month period Ian compared and assessed the effectiveness of Lactalign at Metcalfe Farms.
By presenting the weight of the cluster evenly under the cow and distributing the cluster’s weight evenly over all four quarters, the following reductions were observed thanks to the herd experiencing a more comfortable milking.
Reduction in cases of mastitis in the front quarters
Reduction in liner slippage
Reduction in the number of kick-offs
Reduction in reattachments
Whilst any increase in overall milk yield wasn’t easily identifiable, there was a significant saving in the time taken to reattach clusters. This allowed the milkers to focus more on teat preparation and cluster attachment.
Furthermore, there was a 50% reduction in the total number of cases of mastitis, particularly across the front teats. Assuming the widely accepted average cost of £225 per case of mastitis, using Lactalign helped to significantly reduce costs.
Further details of the conclusions of the study are available here.