Improving Bactoscan Results With Kilco

Date: 18/04/18

Improving Bactoscan Results With Kilco

Milk income at a Carmarthenshire dairy farm has been boosted by 0.6 pence per litre (ppl) after improvements to the bulk tank and milking plant cleaning routines.

The bactoscan count at Clomendy Farm – the home of the UK’s highest yielding Brown Swiss cow of 2016 - had been running at between 38,000 and 45,000. This was a huge financial cost to the business because it incurred price penalties from milk buyer, Muller, when the bactoscan exceeded 30,000.

“The bactoscan had been fluctuating for months and we just couldn’t get on top of it,’’ explains Mark Williams, who farms with his parents, Malcolm and Glenys, and his wife, Sian.

What had become a major financial challenge for the business was resolved when Kilco bulk tank and milking plant chemicals were used.

Kilco Morning Wash, an alkaline-based product, is used for washing the plant after the morning and evening milkings and a phosphoric and nitric acid-based product, Dual Acid Cleaner, at the afternoon milking. Kilco Morning Wash is also used to wash the tank for four washes followed by Dual Acid Cleaner at the fifth wash to remove milkstone build-up.

Within a week the bactoscan at Clomendy was 22,000 and has since remained stable. This means an additional 0.6ppl because of a Muller price incentive for farmers who achieve both the bactoscan and cell count bands; the latest cell count reading was 190,000 cells/ml.

“It has been a huge relief and an obvious financial gain for the business,’’ says Mark.

Before and after milking, teats are sprayed with Kilco Nanodual.

The farm, at Llangain, near Carmarthen, is home to the award-winning Elite Brown Swiss and Jersey herd and the Lyganlan Holstein herd. For four consecutive years, the Williams’s won the Brown Swiss cow championship at the Royal Welsh Show and in 2015 clinched both the reserve interbreed dairy championship and the reserve interbreed dairy pairs championship. The family has been exhibiting Holsteins for many years but Brown Swiss were only introduced seven years ago; this breed now makes up 35% of total cow numbers.

The all-year-round calving herd of 300 cows is milked three times a day, with the Holsteins averaging 11,200 litres at 3.85% butterfat and 3.28% protein and the Brown Swiss 10,100 litres at 4.01% butterfat and 3.5% protein. The herd is high yielding but one Brown Swiss cow, a second calver, surpassed all others in the UK on yield by producing 19,060 litres with 1420kg of milk solids from a 305-day lactation. This output also ranked her as the second highest yielder of all breeds. 

Cows are housed throughout the year and this was a reason for the shift to three times a day milking four years ago.

“We were getting problems with environmental mastitis because of milk leaking on the bedding but increasing the frequency of milking solved that problem, and it pays too,’’ says Mark.

Total mixed ration includes 12kg blend, 5kg bread, 26kg silage, 0.5kg of hay and minerals.

Herd health is a priority but digital dermatitis was proving a challenge.

“There was an underlying problem, nothing major, but it was always there,’’ Mark recalls.

“We had been using a terramycin spray once a week but if we missed a week the digital dermatitis came back.’’

The solution came in the form of twice-weekly footbathing with Kilco Farmalin, an aldehyde and QUAT-free disinfectant that contains a topical antibacterial agent effective against the main causes of lameness in dairy cattle.

“We have been using it for three weeks and we are really noticing a difference,’’ says Mark.

He now uses this in conjunction with Kilco Farmalin Maintenance, a product proven to improve hoof and skin condition.

“Kilco products have improved the health of the herd and milk quality and this has had an obvious financial gain,’’ says Mark.


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