Cow comfort

Udder health and "cow comfort"

Learn how the type of bedding has an influence on udder vitality and milk production

Acute mastitis is caused by a combination of a variety of factors whose effects (stress, pathogens, environment, genetic endowments of the cow) can promote the outbreak of this inflammatory disease. Dr. Wilfried Wolter works for the Regional Administrative Authority and discussed the subject at a special event during a construction training show held on January 18, 2007. In his lecture on the topic of "cleaning concepts for walking surfaces and cubicles", Dr. Wilfried Wolter focused on the factor bedding and its impact on the health of the cows' udders. Dr. Wolters is responsible for monitoring compliance with the regulations applicable to milk at the producer's premises. According to Dr. Wolter, bedding that is not sufficiently clean will increase the degree of contamination at the udder and the adjacent parts of the cow's body. This will make it easier for bacteria and germs to enter the teat canal and multiply inside the udder. The result: Mastitis. Wolter claims that operations at a farm are not in order if more than one percent of the lactating cows per month has contracted classic mastitis.

Perfect bedding has the following characteristics

  • low-germ
  • no easily metabolizable substance
  • good hydrophilic properties
  • dry
  • pH-value > 9, i.e. alkaline
  • heat-insulating
  • low-cost
  • requires less working time
  • residue-free
  • skin-friendly

Bedding system made up of straw meal and lime. In contrast to saw meal, straw as a bedding component contains fewer coliform germs and has outstanding properties as a bedding material. However, straw is not suitable for heifers and dry cows with enlarged udders. Since these animals are not milked on a regular basis, advancing pathogens are not flushed out, increasing the risk of contracting a disease accordingly. 

The lime component increases the ph-value, creates an alkaline environment and has a drying effect. Conditions favorable to the growth of germs are, thereby, prevented.

The following needs to be observed when using lime: 

  • Grinding stage 1
  • 80-90% grain size < 0.09 mm
  • pH permanent > 9

Based on Dr. Wolters' findings, the health of your cows is largely dependent on the surface on which they rest. This type of bedding offers the additional advantage of putting less strain on the joints and the portion of the animals' skin that is in contact with the surface. Both of these factors help extend the time the animals spend lying down. According to Dr. Bjaerne Hoi, the blood flow through the udder of a cow lying down increases by 50% – which means that a cow that "likes" lying down is comfortable in that position and produces more milk more quickly. "The production of one kg of milk requires that 500 liters of blood flow through the udder", explains Hoi. This is why you should make the phase where the cows lie down and ruminant as comfortable for them as possible. 

BvL helps you create the conditions that are most beneficial to milk production: The mixer wagons included in our V-Mix series are examples of machinery that is ideally suited to produce base mixes of straw and lime, which can then be spread evenly across the cubicles using BvL bedding implements such as the V-COMFORT Bedding [more...]. Investments in these areas will not only ensure that your animals will stay healthy for a long time, but you will also exploit your economic potentials to the full extent.

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