DAIRY farmers should be taking practical steps in their parlour hygiene management to ensure antibiotic use is reduced to meet future milk marketing opportunities.

Rob Kelly, regional sales director, of Diversey, which owns the Deosan range of hygiene products, said: “As an industry we’re all aware of the concern and growing awareness of antibiotic use on farm, and the need for action to reduce current levels.

“Milk buyers are already introducing measures to encourage reduced use, and farmers should revisit their milking routines to ensure they’re implementing protocols that are compatible with good milk hygiene and udder health.

He said that a rigorous udder hygiene programme, carried out with robust products, helps to reduce the challenges of the environment responsible for infection, and encourage healthier, more productive cows, leading to improved milk quality.

“Post-milking teat disinfection plays a proven and crucial role in reducing the risk from mastitis-causing organisms and a well-formulated product will ensure hydrated skin that can withstand the changeable conditions particularly in the summer,” he said.

However, he said that when cows are outside, it can be tempting to cut back on key elements of pre-milking teat preparation, which can lead to fluctuating bactoscan results when cows are dirtier than normal and exposure of the teat to higher levels of bacteria can lead to infections.

Mr Kelly said: “Ensure teat skin condition is top of the agenda by seeking advice and choosing a pre-milking teat disinfectant that is fit for the environmental conditions your herd is exposed and which will help you bring super clean healthy teats speedily and effortlessly to the point of milking.”