Maximising udder health for improved herd performance through dynamic testing
Dynamic testing of the milking plant is a form of time and motion study, where all elements of the milking process (from the milking plant, to the milking routine and any effect on the cow’s teats) is taken into account.
Four dairy farmers in Carmarthenshire with an average herd size of 260 are taking part in this project to find out if dynamic testing can improve udder health in terms of reducing somatic cell counts, clinical mastitis and bactoscan levels.
The difference between dynamic testing and normal maintenance undertaken by manufacturers/farmers is that it tests the parlour when it is under stress, whereas the others do not. It also incorporates both mechanical issues and also husbandry issues and all of these combined contribute to improving udder health.
The project plan
Dynamic testing will be carried out by the farm’s vet every two months on each farm for one year, alongside the milk samples and teat scoring. The results from the testing will be analysed and then a variety of interventions can be implemented on farm to correct any issues depending on what is found. The diagram below includes a few examples of commonly encountered findings from dynamic testing and examples of possible solutions.
This project will investigate whether improvements can be made to udder health as a result of the changes made through dynamic testing. Changes made could also have wider benefits including a reduction in antibiotic usage and improved milking efficiency.