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 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Winterize Milking Management Program

Dairy Pipeline: December 1998

Gerald M. (Jerry) Jones
Extension Dairy Scientist, Milk Quality and Milking Management
Virginia Tech

Winterize your milking management program. With the expected cold and/or wet weather, there are certain precautions that you should consider. Teat skin chapping can become a problem with the onset of cold windy weather. Chapping makes the teat more susceptible to development of new mastitis infections. Pre- and post-milking teat dips need to include skin conditioner (e.g., glycerin, lanolin), but no more than 10-14% because higher concentrations reduce bacterial killing activity. The same germicide probably should be used in both pre-dip and post-dip (e.g., iodine, chlorhexidine, etc.). Teats must be dry when milking units are attached and when cows exit the milking parlor. Many dairy farms have found that teats can be dried more effectively with cloth towels. Avoid using any water to wash teats and udders because of the difficulty of getting them dry, which means that cows need to be housed in clean and dry conditions so that they are fairly clean when they enter the parlor. Dr. Larry Fox, Washington State University, recommends that postmilking teat dip should be continued during cold weather but cows should not be turned outside until teat dip has dried for 1 minute and teats have been blotted dry with a towel before exposure to cold windy conditions. Also they found that udder salves and creams offer no advantage because they are more likely to support Staph. aureus colonization on teat skin. Ointments did not improve teat skin condition sufficient to offset increased Staph. aureus colonization on teat skin and teat ends. In some cases, an iodophor teat dip caused more teat chapping and slower healing but Staph. aureus colonization was less.

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