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Use antibiotics
TAke-HOMe MessAGes –
ANTiBiOTiCs Use iN MAsTiTis
prudently and
at the right time
tackling high somatic cell count cows before questioning when and why cows are treated has helped a somerset producer improve the way he uses antibiotics, as Aly Balsom reports
dOwN Cell COUNTs
Campaign aims
Nothing focuses the mind
than knowing that if you a conventional production system. 1 To raise awareness of
don’t get it right the first Depending on their certifier, some best practice use of
time, you could have to wait four farmers are also restricted as to which medicines
times as long before you can sell classes of antibiotic they can use.
2 To safeguard the
For producer Nigel Vicary, you’re-out rule, which means when continued effective use
moving from conventional to an animal is treated with antibiotics when it comes to mastitis, part of
of medicines to maintain
organic production has initiated a more than three times in a year she reducing overall antibiotic use is
long-term livestock
complete change in mindset about is no longer classified as organic prudent use at the right time. By
health and productivity
how he uses antibiotics and helped and her milk cannot be sold. doing so, infection pressure will be
3 To encourage wider
Mr Vicary says this particular rule reduced and so will antibiotics use
adoption of RUMA
has meant any antibiotic treatment in the long term.
However, Mr Vicary explains must be carefully considered. “The that improvements to medicine three-strikes rule made us really cells/ml for the first time, we’ll go use haven’t just been due to milk focus on where we use antibiotics.” Get involved
Online For more information
overhaul, which has included a RedUCiNG THe NUMBeR Of
on the campaign, visit www.
reduction in cow numbers, CHRONiC HiGH Cell COUNT COws
increased acreage and a focus on Now, the main aim is to target new further understand the causal path- Forums What are your
cow environment, has reduced infection rates by identifying a cow ogen,” says Mr Hayton. The CMT stress and driven down infection before she becomes chronically is a cow-side milk test that uses a pressures. He also praises the daily infected, through analysis of milk- A cow is classified as chronically made based on these results and the Alastair Hayton says the best chance to cure mastitis is at the start of infection.
happened when the herd of 250 infected when she has two or more stage of lactation, udder condition our forums
consecutive milk readings of more and whether she’s in-calf.
“It was then we had to record than 200,000 cells/ml.
dRyiNG Off
Mr Vicary says not being able eration cephalosporin antibiotics. Email
The aim is to pick cows up early cially from a longer milk withdrawal Antibiotics use at drying off is also to use antibiotics at drying off has However, recurring mastitis caused Post Making Sense of
and be proactive in preventing in organic – along with associated otics,” says Mr Vicary, who supplies them from becoming chronically costs, a treatment will cost more “The best chance to cure is at it is justified,” explains Mr Hayton.
or bacteriology – something Mr UsiNG ReCORds
the emphasis on mastitis control the start of infection,” explains Mr Hayton believes is relevant to all Using herd management software losporins stopped being used when and responsible medicine use Hayton. “When a cow has one otics use isn’t necessarily about herd was chronically infected and should be no different, says vet reading of 200,000 cells/ml or not using them. We don’t want 10% had cell counts of more than “I think the organic approach ing data, as well as undertaking a Alastair Hayton of Synergy Farm above, this means she could spread not to treat, as this will result in 200,000 cells/ml. This compares to antibiotics use at drying off will DairyCo Mastitis Control Plan, has restrictions to be mirrored in con- infection and be at increased risk more chronic cows and increased to 20-25% of the herd chronically be coming to the national herd,” been fundamental to identifying ventional systems, Mr Hayton says “There may be a bigger stick to of developing clinical mastitis. She infection pressure. Part of reducing infected in 2008 and one-third of could self-cure or she could get overall antibiotics use is prudent use Contagious pathogens were first with the use of these antibiotics.
antibiotics when a quarter is not identified as the root cause of mas- At Marks Barn Farm, every cow tion pressure will reduce and so will infected can predispose a cow to titis. Consequently parlour checks gens were controlled, there was a with a somatic cell count (SCC) of antibiotics use in the long term.” coliform mastitis. Equally, there is were undertaken, milking times shift towards environmental mas- By using a targeted approach count cows. I now know she’s a extended and a cluster flush system titis. Consequently stocking rates, THRee-sTRikes RUle
looked at so a positive decision can to treatment in combination with reservoir for infection, so I don’t lihood of a new infection being installed.
improved management, clinical bother breeding from her,” says Because the farm is certified by have been addressed.
“When a cow goes over 200,000 mastitis rates have been driven Mr Vicary.
every one litre more than 10 litres the Soil Association, they are not 34 FarmersWeekly  26 april 2013
26 april 2013  FarmersWeekly 35


28.4 correspondence nr

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