cows in field

Recent ODairy Discussions – July 2020

By Liz Bawden, NODPA Board President

A producer wanted to test his recently harvested baleage and asked how long to leave it before testing. Most producers responded that it was best to leave the wrapped bales to “pickle” for at least 30 days before taking samples. It was recommended to take the samples early in the week, bag the sample in a small plastic bag and freeze immediately, and get them off to the lab quickly so they arrive to be tested in the same week. Two labs that were recommended were Dairy One and Agri-analysis. A producer recommended the Delhurst moisture meter if you are unsure of the moisture before baling and wrapping.

Having an issue with ringworm in heifers, one farmer asked the group about effective treatments. Several farmers noted that this fungal disease is an opportunist, waiting for a time when young stock are more vulnerable. Ringworm tends to show up “when there are other things depressing the immune system or at the end of winter after months of little sun and being fed the lesser quality hay.” It was suggested that the farmer look at his mineral package to make sure they are getting enough, especially Vitamins A,D,E, and Selenium. Other farmers added that they recognized the situation will resolve itself as the spring moves on and these young cattle are outside with plenty of sunshine and pasture. Some farmers reported treating it by wiping on apple cider vinegar. One farmer treated herself with it when she had a spot of ringworm contracted from a cow. She said “it hurt like the dickens, but it did clear up pretty fast”. Another reported using tea tree oil or an iodine paste. To prevent ringworm and lice, another farmer feeds kelp along with a chelated trace mineral product.

A few days after a normal calving, a Jersey cow flared up with mastitis. There was no improvement after “three days of Dr. Pauls treatment of colostrum whey, CEG and aloe C, which all have worked in the past. Have done two treatments of an ABC tube in the udder as well.” The affected quarter was still rock hard. One vet laid out his general treatment for a cow with any infection. Administer all by IV: 250ml Bovi-Sera, 250ml Vitamin C, 500ml dextrose with 60-90ml GetWell (you can also add 1cc/100lb flunixin, but there is an 8 day withholding). Follow up with 15-20ml Get Well orally 2 to 3 times a day. The IV combination may be repeated in 24 hours if needed. Another producer suggested that culturing the quarter would be the next step, so he would know what pathogen he was dealing with. It was reported that “many times infections around freshening occur either as a new infection when the natural or artificial plug dissolves within the last two weeks prior to freshening (and depending on environment the cow is lying in) or if there is a simmering former infection (shown by higher than normal SCC at dry off) which comes to a head while the fresh cow’s immune system is suppressed due to normal birthing activity.” Phyto-Mast was recommended to use at dry-off, and Amplimune was recommended to boost immune function. IMPRO colostrum whey products (given by IV) were also recommended. Another farmer added, “I found aspirin, garlic tincture orally, and stripping out the quarter at least four times a day helps any mastitis but is especially important for environmental mastitis because as the bacteria cells die as the cows immune system attacks they secrete toxins. I didn't use udder infusions for fear of introducing more bacteria into the udder but instead focused on getting the bad stuff out. We also had good luck with some homeopathic remedies if we matched up the symptoms with the remedy well enough.”