Properly Utilizing Current Technology and Processes Can Help Dairies Minimize Mastitis-Related Risks and Costs

With new digital solutions like AutoMast, the guesswork of determining the treatment protocol for a cow with mastitis is completely eliminated.

Tulare, Calif.

The challenge of managing mastitis is one that can cost dairy producers significantly in terms of time, productivity and their bottom line. According to various industry studies, mastitis either directly or indirectly costs the dairy industry an estimated $1.7 billion to $2 billion annually. Each occurrence of mastitis accounts for roughly $444 – $128 in direct costs, including hospitalization and antibiotic costs, and $316 in indirect costs such as wasted milk, missed production and hampered efficiency.

While eliminating mastitis is not a reality, there are important steps producers can take to help insulate themselves against mastitis-related losses. Those steps start with process and leadership.

From The Top

Approaching mastitis control, in many cases, needs to come from the top. Dairy managers and veterinarians need to be bought-in and aligned on holistically approaching the mastitis situation on their operation. That starts with developing an approved process for mastitis control and treatment after identification. The veterinarian has a very key role in this process.  They need to lay out exactly how each pathogen that is detected will be treated.

With new digital solutions like AutoMast, a feature included in Valley Agricultural Software’s (VAS) DairyComp software suite, the guesswork of determining the treatment protocol for a cow with mastitis is completely eliminated. Each test result is automatically loaded into the dairy’s DairyComp, and an email is sent to the veterinarian. Once testing results are automatically delivered within the DairyComp platform, operations that have direct processes tied to those results know exactly what next steps they must take with a given animal.

Dairy managers and veterinarians need to be bought-in and aligned on holistically approaching the mastitis situation on their operation.

Eliminating Overtreatment

By having test results in real-time using a solution like AutoMast, which tracks the pathogen identification, diagnosis, severity, and treatment protocols, producers and veterinarians know definitively if the animal requires systemic treatment with antibiotics.

Prior to these advances, dairies relied on analog solutions like testing strips that didn’t tell the entire story. That lack of clarity led to more cows than necessary being treated with antibiotics, thus increasing the risk of the animal becoming immune to the treatment as well as the liability of contaminated milk entering the production stream and ending up in the consumer food supply.

Helping to Tighten Belts

In a domestic dairy market wrestling with booming surpluses and low market prices, a solution for automating and streamlining mastitis protocols can help producers trim their losses associated with the disease.

In some cases, operations using VAS’ solution were able to reduce antibiotic use, and the associated costs, by 70 percent. Furthermore, the operation minimizes the risk of contaminated milk entering the food supply, over-medicating cows that don’t benefit from antibiotics, and lower hospital costs.

For more information about gaining the upper hand on mastitis control for your operation, visit VAS.com.