Technical Information

Below you will find technical information about the dairy industry and how to prevent disease and contamination.

“Strep ag Mastitis Can Be Eliminated From Your Herd”

“The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Milking Routines”
University of Wisconsin Extension Publication (pdf format)

Udder Prep Routine Without Water Effective in Reducing Mastitis

Call it "one step" udder prep.  Or waterless udder prep.  Or waterless milking.  Whatever the name, an udder prep routine without water is finding favor among an increasing number of dairy producers and dairy practitioners.

The reason:  Better mastitis control and lower somatic cell counts.

Testimonials from dairy producers using waterless udder prep and accumulated data from formal studies show that the elimination of water from the udder prep, or pre-milking routine, pays dividends.

  • greater throughput in the milking parlor;
  • standardized milking procedure; and
  • the control of mastitis-causing pathogens

More effective cleaning of the teat, especially the teat end: 

  • facilitated milk let-down; and
  • provided a more standardized udder prep routine to remove variation from milker to milker.  All figure importantly in the "waterless" or "one-step" udder prep procedure.

Basically, the routine is as follows:

  • When the cow is presented for milking, the teats are predipped or sprayed with sanitizing teat dip.
  • With a gloved hand, sides of the teat are rubbed with a vertical motion, and thumb/forefinger movement across the teat end cleans and encourages milk let-down.
  • Quarters are forestripped and checked for mastitis.
  • Teats are re-dipped.
  • After 15 to 30 seconds, teats are wiped dry.
  • Milking unit is attached.

Following are comments from Dr. Jeff Reneau, extension dairy practitioner, University of Minnesota, and Dr. Andy Johnson, dairy practitioner and consultant, Seymour, Wisconsin.

Dr. Jeff Reneau

"Field studies in Minnesota indicated that 80% of herds experiencing either high somatic cell count or high levels of mastitis do not follow recommended milking procedure.  Approximately 3 to 4 years ago it became apparent to us that if an "ideal" pre-milking cow prep procedure could be developed which could be practically applied on dairies, great advances could be made in milk quality, udder health, and milking efficiency."

"Milking procedure is often a sensitive matter.  No one likes to be told that his/her personal milking habits are wrong or bad.  Yet everyone is intrigued by something new and if it is both practical and effective they are usually willing to give it a try."

"The ‘One-Step Cow Prep’ was developed with this in mind.  After testing the procedure to be sure that it was effective, we began recommending the ‘One-Step Cow Prep’ procedure in those herds where it could be applied effectively.  The success was very encouraging."

"Obviously the ‘One-Step’ procedure involves more than a single step.  The title ‘One-Step’ was meant to convey the fact that washing and predipping were combined into a single step, the predip being used as the wash solution."

"The procedure is ideal for milking parlors but will also work in a stall barn.  Done correctly the procedure eliminates water use, removes all dirt and debris from the teat surfaces, assures complete teat coverage with predip, maximizes milk let-down response, contributing to improved milking efficiency."

"Equally importantly is the fact that this technique standardizes the pre-milking cow prep procedure.  Every milker is doing the same procedure for every milking during a cow’s lactation.  Data from Denmark documented a 5% production increase where a standardized milking procedure was used."

Dr. Andy Johnson:

"I have found that whether you are milking 20,000 cows, 2,000 cows or 10 cows, the waterless udder prep technique works very well if it is done correctly."

Water is our biggest enemy in mastitis control.  Eliminate water, and you eliminate our biggest problem."

I have California dairies that have shut off their wash pens and reduced their incidence of coliform mastitis significantly.  I have stanchion barns in Wisconsin dairies seeing big drops in somatic cell counts."

To be effective, you have to keep the waterless udder prep technique simple so everyone will use it.  What I say is Strip, dip, dry, and apply."

There are four absolutely key factors:  (1) use an approved, effective predip; (2) make sure 75% of the teat is covered with predip; (3) leave the predip on 15 to 30 seconds; and (4) make sure the predip is properly wiped off."

Follow the procedure religiously, and you will get the maximum benefits from it."

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