An inappropriate milking routine strongly increases the risk for new intramammary infections.

Bacteria-loaded manure, dirt and bedding particles present on the teat skin can detach during milking and be transferred to the open teat end. To reduce the risk of new intramammary infections during milking, it is of utmost importance that the teats/teat ends are completely clean and dry prior to attaching the milking unit.

Quarters with dirty teat ends (score 3 or 4) are substantially more at risk of becoming infected than quarters with clean teat ends (score 1 or 2). The teat cleanliness can be improved by keeping the (slatted) stable floor clean and dry. Slurry-laden alleys facilitate soiling of the teats with manure. A thorough teat wiping with at least one towel per cow, disinfection of the teats with medicated towels or cleaning/foaming of the teats with pre-milking teat disinfectants are important as well.

In essence – scoring the cleanliness of the teats:
1. Click here and print the teat cleanliness score chart;
2. Take along the teat cleanliness score chart in the milking parlor;
3. Evaluate how much dip residues, manure and dirt are still present on the teat end after teat preparation by wiping a moist cloth over the teat end prior to attaching the milking unit. Aim to score at least 20% of the animals with a minimum of 20 animals;
4. Score the teat cleanliness on a scale of 1 to 4 using the criteria and pictures mentioned on the score chart;
5. Aggregate the number of quarters per score;
6. Aggregate the number of teats with scores 3 and 4 and divide those by the total number of scored teats;
7. Take action to improve the hygiene of the teat ends if more than 80% of the teats has a score ≥3.

Start scoring the cleanliness of your cows’ teats even today and seek to improve the udder health on your farm with the help of your herd health veterinarian!

This information has been provided by M-team (UGent), you can subcribe for the newsletter here