Winter housing changes can help minimise heifer mastitis
Heifer mastitis has been a significant problem for a number of farmers this year.
A few have experienced mastitis prior to calving down, and I talked to one farmer from south Tipperary who had 30pc of his heifers pick up mastitis. Of these, one-third lost a quarter, one third were cured and the remainder were still being treated.
Another farmer from Enniscorty also experienced mastitis in 40pc of the heifers after calving.
He was disappointed with the rate of mastitis as he made significant changes to the winter and calving accommodation of these animals, as well as teat spraying the heifers before calving.
He did note that the heifers in question were bagged up really tightly and often leaked milk, and he wonders whether the supplementary feeding this year had a role to play in the incidence of heifer mastitis.
Luckily, the mastitis problems were easily cured but he's now considering the use of teat sealers on in-calf heifers next year.
In contrast, Mitchell Hayes from Blarney, Co Cork recorded a significant reduction in the incidence of heifer mastitis as a result of changing the winter accommodation from an out-wintering pad to well-bedded loose housing.
Padraic Cummins from Oranmore, Co Galway had no problems with the in-calf heifers and puts this down to running these through the parlour with last year's first calves to feed and teat dip.