Targeted approach to antibiotic use saves £thousands each year on Cornish dairy farm

13 Jun 2017

Andrew’s 700 crossbred cows are managed under a low-input, pasture-based system at Ennis Barton Farm, near St Columb.

The cows yield about 4,000 litres on once-a-day milking and milk is sold to Arla.

The farm had been treating all milkers with antibiotics at drying off to control mastitis.

“The change in antibiotic use came after our milk buyer asked us to consider selective dry cow therapy,” says Andrew.

“But we are not individually milk recorded so we didn’t have each cow’s cell count data to base a selective approach on,” he adds.

However, Andrew had previously bought a Draminski mastitis tester to get to the bottom of a number of cases some years earlier.

“We had the tester in the tool box so we used that to test and monitor each cow’s cell counts,” he says.

The cell count tests are carried out during lactation and again just before drying off. Any cows which produce a high cell count are marked with tail tape, monitored carefully for signs of mastitis and only treated if necessary.

At drying off, cell counts are tested again.

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