What are the goals of good bedding management? Are we clear about all the systems and materials available? Do you check the status of bedding materials when doing your milk quality visits?
Dr. Oriol Franquesa shared with us the answers to these questions among other key aspects of bedding management which are crucial for the prevention of bovine mastitis, during the Quick talk session that you can watch in the following video:
Among other interesting ideas that he shared, we can highlight a few points:
- You need to have clear goals when approaching bedding management (cow comfort and udder hygiene).
- Why do we say: “having cows clean, dry and comfortable will make cold, thirsty and hungry bacteria?”.
- Let’s check the characteristics of open yards (space, maintenance…) and the different materials that can be used, as they will require different management.
- Regarding freestalls, whatever material you use, have them full, clean and dry.
Every material is different and may lead to different types of mastitis. What should we know about sand? Is it all advantages…or not?
Compost is a cheap material… but which parameters will help us to know the quality of the bedding? What mechanisms are available for making management easier?…
When talking about sawdust, it may look like it’s an easy option, but be careful! It is the perfect medium for bacteria such as E. coli, Serratia and Klebsiella to grow in!
Other options such as straw are very commonly used, but did you know that straw does not absorb humidity per se – it will depend on the size of the particle you cut!
Do mattresses increase cow comfort?… how can we be sure that we are maintaining them properly?
In the end, there’s no “magic” or “perfect” material for bedding, we need to know how to evaluate the current maintenance of the bedding. If is not good, it is crucial to take action and change those aspects that are jeopardizing our milk quality goals!