Known as Cups on Cups Off, the Dairy Australia two-day workshop is one of the most popular in the country.
Course participants learn hands-on methods for preventing, treating, and controlling mastitis in dairy herds.
Subtropical Dairy- the Queensland and northern NSW regional arm of Dairy Australia – facilitates Cups On Cups Off courses for the region.
Subtropical Dairy executive officer Brad Granzin said participants learned about how and why mastitis infections occurred and this enabled them to better manage herd health in extreme weather events.
“We have our fair share of heat waves and floods, so knowing what actions to take and tools to use to prevent mastitis in either event is vital for farm business profitability,” he said.
“Dairy farmers get a premium for top quality milk, but its more than that, they know it takes healthy cows to produce this milk and quality milk is what our consumers want.”
Casino, NSW dairy farmer Sam Tonge has completed several courses as he likes to attend them with new staff.
All his staff members have completed at least one, two-day course.
“The course has an external expert presenting the material, always an experienced dairy veterinarian, and the content is consistent,” he said.
“This means everyone is getting the best and most up-to-date advice and learning best practice from an independent expert.
“It’s a unifying exercise, for the whole milking team and means we are milking the cows and managing mastitis using the best principles and practice.
“That should translate into better milk quality and less clinical cases of mastitis.”
These courses have guided how Sam and his wife Fleur ensure their grazing herd can manage difficult weather conditions.
Removing mastitis risk factors from their business has also been crucial to managing wet and hot weather.
“One of the other things Cups On Cups Off talks about is that in extremely wet conditions it takes about an hour for the teat end to close,” Sam said.
“Under very wet conditions one of the other strategies we now use is to provide some hay or silage for the milkers so they go out and eat immediately after milking, ensuring they are standing up while their teat ends are closing.
“Without this feed they might lay in the mud where there’s much more risk of environmental bacteria getting in.”
Cups On Cups Off follows the Countdown 2020 mastitis guidelines developed by Dairy Australia.
Dairy Australia and Subtropical Dairy receive funding from dairy industry levy payments.