Teat Disinfection : Importance in Dairy Farming

Teat disinfection is a key part of udder infection prevention by helping reduce the amount of bacteria on teats, and should be done before and after milking. Teat wiping before milking is essential to complete the cleaning process. It also stimulates the milk-ejection reflex and removes excess disinfectant.

How Does Teat Sanitation Help ?

  • Reduces environmental bacteria on the teat prior to milking.
  • Also reduces the risk of new infections caused by such bacteria, which often develop into clinical mastitis.
  • Coats the milk film on the teat with an anti-bacterial solution.
  • Helps prevent the transmission of contagious bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Improves teat condition by combination of skin conditioner and disinfectant.

There are Mainly Two Types of Teat Cleaning Process :

  1. Pre-Milking Teat Disinfection
  2. Post- Milking Teat Disinfection

Pre-Milking Teat Disinfection

The primary objectives of good pre-milking udder preparation are to produce high quality milk and minimize mastitis. Procedures for udder preparation should ensure that teats are manually cleaned and thoroughly dried before machine attachment to minimize bacterial counts and sediment in milk.

Step 1 : Teats should be relatively clean, since surface dirt reduces the efficiency of disinfectant.

Removing the Organic Material from Teat

Step 2 : Teats must be entirely submerged in solution.

Teat Dipping in Solution

Step 3 : Teats must remain in contact with the solution for at least 30 seconds or as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 4 : Teats must be thoroughly wiped to remove solution. For best cleaning action teats should be wiped in a circular motion with particular attention paid to teat ends. Wiping stimulates milk let-down and reduces the risk of contamination by disinfectants such as iodine. Undiluted udder wash sanitizers should not be used as pre-milking disinfectant dips, since they are not formulated for this purpose and do not have the same germicidal activity level as formulated teat dips.

After disinfection of udders, the milking procedure starts. For manual milking process, the person should properly sanitize the Hands before touching the teats. For Machine milking process, the equipment should be properly washed and cleaned.

Post Milking Teat Disinfection :

Effective post-milking teat disinfection (PMTD) is essential for a good milking routine and a critical control point for contagious mastitis.  The aim of PMTD is to remove any mastitis causing pathogens from the teat surface. It also controls bacteria present on any sores on the teats, promoting quicker healing.  

Teat disinfection should cover the whole teat of every cow after every milking, so check regularly to ensure this is happening.  

It’s important to dip or spray teats immediately after removing the cluster unit or immediately after the manual milking process. This allows the disinfectant to get to work before the teat canal (small opening on teats) begins to close and before any bacteria have the opportunity to colonise and multiply.  

Step 1 : Disinfectant must be applied as soon as possible after removing the milking unit.

Step 2 : Teat Disinfectant must coat the entire surface that was covered by the teat liner.

Step 3 : Do not wipe disinfectant. In very cold weather, you should remove the excess disinfectant at the end of the teat to prevent cracking and freezing.

Step 4 : Products should contain an approved germicide to eliminate bacteria and a skin conditioner, since sores can harbour bacteria.

Which Method is better Disinfectant spraying or Disinfectant Dipping ?

Ideally Teat Dipping is suggested due to mainly two disadvantages of spraying :

  • Harder to coat the entire teat than using a teat dip cup
  • Requires more product and may increase iodine content of milk (iodine permeates skin)
Ideal Teat Dip Cup

For an Effective Teat Dip

  • Observe expiry dates
  • Avoid exposing products to freezing temperatures or to extreme heat
  • Keep containers closed
  • Follow directions of dilutions mentioned on the Label
  • Do not interchange pre- and post-milking disinfectant (keep containers clearly labelled)
  • Do not put diluted disinfectant back into their original containers
  • Use only a non-return teat dip cup
  • If disinfectant becomes cloudy during milking or is contaminated by bedding or manure, discard the remainder, carefully wash the cup and refill with clean solution
  • Clean cup after each milking and refill with fresh disinfectant

Keep cup with you or nearby for rapid application

Is Iodine Disinfectant Cost effective ?

Iodine used is 1.6% and it is further diluted. According to reports 1 ltr of Iodine 1.6% can last for approximately 100 milking sessions per cow. Also when used in recommended quantities, Iodine does not effect the chemical balance of milk, making it fit to consume.

References :   http://www.agromedia.ca/ADM_Articles/content/milkprep.pdf 




Written By – Hemant Bhoir


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