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How to avoid mastitis damaging profits

Posted on 05 January 2018

Farmers urged to invest in prevention, rather than cure, to ease suffering and save cash

Environmental mastitis hits farmers hard in the pocket, as well as damaging animal health, but early action means prevention produces real benefits, farmers have been told.

Industry expert Kevin Havekes, limestone sales manager at Kilwaughter Lime explained that environmental mastitis accounts for more than 50% of all mastitis cases in UK cattle, with the associated costs of lost production.

“The largest portion of the cost is in lost milk production, not just in the existing lactation, but damage to tissues can be permanent and affect subsequent lactations,” he said. “The economic impact is thought to be around of £149-£250 per case and infects in the region of 30 to 70 cows in an average 100 cow herd each year. Environmental mastitis can cost a 100-cow herd between £4500 and £17,500 per year.”

Costs associated with environmental mastitis are not just from treatment alone. In fact, mastitis treatment is less than 15% of the total economic cost. Thus, prevention is cheaper than the cure. Farmers should pay attention to preventing conditions that allow the bacteria causing environmental mastitis to thrive.

Bacteria (such as E.Coli & Strep Uberis) that causes environmental mastitis infections, prefer conditions where moisture and organic materials are prevalent.

Organic materials such as sawdust, crop residues, paper, pulp or compost are readily available and highly absorbent. They also act as food sources for environmental mastitis inducing bacteria. As it becomes wet, it makes it easy for bacteria present to grow and multiply.

Even when bedding areas treated with organic materials are maintained and replenished daily, there is no guarantee that the material itself is free from bacteria.

MasterCAL bedding lime is ideal for farmers to use for bedding livestock, says Kevin. It is a blend of hydrated lime and high purity calcium carbonate. Highly absorbent, it is made from inorganic limestone.

The hydrated lime blended into the MasterCAL raises pH to a level of 12.4 and destroys bacteria. Plus, it minimises the risk of inflammation or burns associated with other treatments.

MasterCAL high protection bedding lime is ready-made and used regularly can reduce disease and infections that come from bacteria. MasterCAL reduces the risk of tissue damage and can help reduce lameness in housed livestock in addition to helping to reduce the incidence of environmental mastitis. It’s highly absorbent and inorganic, making it inhospitable to moulds and fermentation.

MasterCAL is available in 20kg paper bags or 1 tonne sacks.

MasterCAL High Protection Bedding Lime is available throughout Northern Ireland, GB and Ireland. Contact Kilwaughter Lime on 02828262132 to learn more on availability and on how MasterCAL can benefit your operation.