A COLLEGE has seen reduced mastitis instances in its dairy cows since using a new bedding sanitsier. 

Lackham Campus at Wiltshire College has been using the new sanitiser to prevent mastitis in its 200 Friesian-Holstein herd. 

Richard Ingram, dairy farm manager, said they reconsidered bedding management practices last winter. 

“We’d previously been using lime bedding but wanted to explore a gentler alternative that’d still do the job in sanitising our sawdust cubicles," he said. 

“Strains of bacteria which commonly cause mastitis to thrive in more alkaline conditions whereas good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, can thrive in more acidic conditions. This can be cultivated by using a bedding sanitiser." 

South West Farmer: Dairy unit at Lackham Campus.Dairy unit at Lackham Campus. (Image: Wiltshire College)

Mr Ingram decided to use Actisan 360 from Timac Agro UK, which is a disinfectant-free drying agent, with the ability to absorb three times its own weight in moisture.

According to Timac Agro UK, damp bedding is a 'major' risk factor for mastitis, so reducing moisture content, while also creating a slightly acidic environment, supports the growth of good bacteria. This good bacteria can then act as an alternative antibiotic-free mastitis treatment. 

"Actisan 360 gentle on their skin and teats, so there isn’t a risk of skin lesions forming after prolonged contact,” he added.

“We have 130 students studying agriculture at the college and they undertake the day-to-day husbandry of the units. It’s reassuring knowing it’s also safe for them to use daily.”

Matt Bell, business development manager at Timac Agro UK, says farmers should consider adding bedding sanitiser as we head into winter housing. 

“Mastitis control and prevention requires a multifaceted approach, so it’s essential to incorporate protocols that cover all aspects of the farm and herd," he said. 

“Farmers should consider housing environment, heifer management, teat hygiene in and out of the parlour, and record all mastitis cases in the herd.

“While bedding sanitisation is a key element of this prevention strategy, the greatest success will come as part of an integrated holistic programme.”