High cluster vacuums cause additional unnecessary teat end damage
‘Hyperkeratosis’ is the buzz word of late. It refers to the damage caused by excessive suctioning i.e. when the cow has expelled all the milk in its udder. This damage to the teat tissue reduces milk production and impacts on the overall health of the udder, with scar tissue growth narrowing the teat duct, resulting in longer milking times and additional stress on the teat tissue.
Damaged teat ends are characterised by ringing and fronds, and are directly linked to cases of mastitis that do not respond to treatment.
Milking technology expert, Dr Dirk Homberg, argues that a more “gentle” milking regime can dramatically reduce teat damage and reduce the risk of mastitis by +40%.
Studies show that whilst the vacuum in the liner should always be approximately 40 kPa, the optimal level should be 20 kPa during the rest phase.
Dr Homberg explains that teats that are milked gently enhance udder health, outlining the value of dynamic teat vacuums, and maximising protection against infection:
- By temporarily lowering the cluster vacuum, teats can recover from the stress of the suction phase. Typically teats are stretched by up to 70% creating significant stress on the teat tissue.
- Blood flow is enhanced when suction is temporarily reduced, allowing it to flow naturally, without interruption.
- Introducing a rest phase also reduces the massage pressure the liner exerts on the teats.
Homberg suggests that contrary to popular belief, a massage pressure of >20kPa is not required to “push back” body fluids that were previously aspirated. Indeed pressures over 20kPa can be damaging as well as being uncomfortable for the cow. This, combined with stretched, swollen teat ends significantly damages tissue.
To find out more about our full range of mastitis management programmes, call Derek Patterson at Agricaretrade on 028 9446 2266.
 Agricultural Institute of Saxony, backed by extensive research by the Technical University of Munchen-Weihenstephan.