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Running an efficient farm after restrictions to antibiotics

As we think this topic can soon affect your farms (even if you are not in the EU), we are listing the opinions of some experts and a case history that may be helpful towards this change.

As we explained in the previous episode, sometimes Antibiotics are used in dairy farms on different occasions, such as when drying off or as a 'catch all approach' in dairy cows. This is often the case on farms with outdated facilities or where management is poorly uneducated on modern farm practices. The use of these substances will be strictly limited n the future, even when supported by veterinary prescriptions.

So how can dairy farmers replace and lower the use of antibiotics and still remain successful? This episode of the blog will explore this question by looking into what two of our milking experts have to say and by focusing on the case study of a farm local to our Italian site who ha made a specific choice to reduce antibiotics use a few years ago.

Possible consequences of the Antibiotics regulations from the point of view of a dairy farmer:
In your opinion, what will be the consequences and impacts of the new Antibiotics regulations to dairy farmers?” I asked this question to Luiz Cutolo, our milking expert and Managing Director of our Branch in Castro – Brazil. Here is his answer:

The risk of the cost of Mastitis for farmers is to too high, with high involuntary culling, farmers will need to look a lot closer to implement more techniques that avoid this:

  • To avoid Mastitis, farmers need to:
    • Improve milking hygiene: through Chemicals, towels and good prep routines.
    • Aim for a healthier milking routine: choose the right liners, Milking Machine set-ups (good rates of Pulsation, Vacuum and Take-off, etc.)

"Teat health will probably become more important than milking speed."

  • They will have to look for the signs of and improve early Mastitis detection:
    • More use of milking sensors to detect mastitis: Individual cow conductivity or lactose deviation.
    • Use of alternative treatment protocols aligned with early mastitis detection: Anti-inflammatory Medicines etc

In terms of products, those focusing on a healthier milking routine and early Mastitis detection will gain popularity. It will be critical for farms to combine both good products and services in the future to help ensure the milking equipment is performing at the top level and correctly set-up.

A case study: Fattoria Rossi

Fattoria Rossi is a family-owned Dairy farm in Italy, it is managed by three brothers who run the shop next door to the parlour as well as a pig farm as well. The milk is devoted to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese production. The herd is made by approx. 250 cows, 120-130 in lactation. They have been “antibiotics free” and are certified in this for both cows and pigs, they have also been rewarded certifications and awards for excellent cow welfare. Their Cows are antibiotics free from birth to death, with their pigs being antibiotics free from the 49th day from birth.

Rossi’s farm philosophy is based on 5 fundamental pillars:

  • Environmental caution
  • Animals’ welfare
  • Certified raw materials
  • Product traceability
  • A Local products focus (km 0)

They firmly believe that it is essential to respect animal well- being, giving them enough space & light and importantly to them, a comfortable life. A healthy and correct organic diet is fundamental as well as respecting their natural rhythm. Cows can choose whether to pasture or to find shelter in the barn. They cultivate the land without the use of chemical weeding or chemicals fertilizers, as their farm is a “closed-loop” farm, meaning they do not buy animals externally: all of them are born and die within the farm itself. This strong emphasis on managing the farm with an organic and natural focus, helps their animals to avoid infection and illnesses. They prefer quality to quantity in favour of a longer healthier and happier life for their herd and in tern are rewarded with quality produce.

If you want to learn more click here: Fattoria Rossi

The milk used for Parmigiano – Reggiano needs to be “perfect” otherwise the long seasoning would be compromised. But it seems that special care for the herd’s wellbeing and the udder health will be key to comply with the antibiotics regulations and to fight Anti Microbials Resistance.
An antibiotics-free farm is possible, though it requires engagement, investment and certain conditions (love and care). A healthy herd is easier to achieve and to maintain, with smaller efforts and strong commitment going a long way!

I would like to give a special “thank you” to the co-authors of this Blog posts series, our milking experts: Luiz Cutolo and Colin Reece!

 

Co-Author: Luiz Cutolo, MD of Castro Site Brazil (Director of milkrite | InterPuls South America)

Bachelor in Animal Science (BSc), Professor of Masters in Production Medicine & Health Programs at Rehagro – discipline of Milking Systems

 

Co-Author: Colin Reece, Sales Director India, Pakistan, Middle East and South Africa,

Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree focused in Animal Science from Seale Hayne Agricultural College.

 

 

Date: 20 August 2020

  • Summary:
    In this episode of the blog we will cover how you can still run an effective farm without the use/dependence on antibiotics.