More farmers teat sealing heifers

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The number of dairy farmers choosing to teat seal heifers has nearly doubled this year in comparison to last season for at least one provider of the service.

Oamaru Veterinary Centre are mid-way through their heifer teat sealing programme and believe more people are seeing the benefits.

“Last season we did 6800 and this year we are looking to do about 12,000 heifers,” said coordinator and rural vet technician, Sonja Dobbie.

“Some people (who haven’t teat sealed before) are doing half their herd as a trial.”

Each teat has a tube of teat seal inserted to help protect the animal from mastitis. During the first few milkings, teats are stripped before cups go on to get rid of any product.

Wet conditions this year will also be contributing to an increase in numbers.

Ms Dobson said research showed that teat sealing could reduce heifer mastitis in the spring by between one-third to half of all cases.

She said some people used their own teams but the biggest concern was hygiene.

“There is no antibiotic in the product so if you do your own, it has to be done very hygienically.”

The team has been covering an area from Dunback to Otaio and inland to Omarama.

By LINDA MCCARTHY