It’s  Halloween and that dreadful white stuff is already making its first appearance! With farmers still busy in the field, winter will be here before we know it. With that being said, it’s time to knock out that list of final farm preparations for winter! It’s a lot easier to fix things now, than in subzero temperatures!

A good starting point of preparing your cows for winter is to take a very close look at teat ends and teat barrels. The optimal time to inspect is at unit detachment after milking. Inspect your teat ends for signs of rings and hyperkeratosis.  Hyperkeratosis on a teat offers more area for bacteria to build up on the teat end and cause problems.

A simple and effective way to test teat barrels is to wear a latex milking glove and slowly drag it across the teat. In this process, the less resistance the better. An ideal teat should let your glove glide right over; versus a chapped teat, which will make the glove pucker and catch. Using a post dip with at least 50% emollients is an ideal way to remedy dry teat skin. If you notice chapped teats now, it is important to input an action plan to remedy the situation ASAP. They won’t get better on their own in the coming cold temperatures.

One of the best things you can do for you and your cows is implementing a quality winter teat dip to your milking procedure. Cow’s teats are comparable to our fingers and lips in winter conditions. Neither one of us is happy when they’re dry and chapped! Some people are convinced that it’s actually better to refrain from using teat dip during cold temps, this however does more harm than good. When a teat becomes chapped it is because the skin has dried out due to lack of moisture and exfoliation, so not using post dip is taking away the opportunity to keep teats soft and supple. Using a winter teat dip also encourages healthy teats that are less prone to frostbite.

So by now you might be wondering, “Well which is the right post dip for me?” Well that’s a good question, with a few different scenarios. First of all, you want to refrain from using excess water on teats and udders during these cold months. This helps to avoid frozen teat ends. To start things off you want to use a germicidal pre-dip with good amounts of conditioner. Choosing a post-dip depends on your housing setup.  If cows will be going directly outside, a barrier dip is not recommended because it does not allow enough time for the dip to dry completely. Keeping post-dip warm before applying is a way to quicken the drying process. If cows stay completely covered from the elements, and temperatures stay above freezing, a barrier dip is a possible option. A good post-dip should have a broad spectrum kill, high emollient, (remember greater than 50 %!) and good conditioning properties.

There’s a long standing saying that goes “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Taking the time to check your teat ends now will save you a lot more time and money in the long run. Healthy, supple teats are less likely to contract mastitis, which leads to lower SCC, which leads to more milk in your bulk tank, and more money in your pocket.

Feel free to contact us with any dip related questions! We would be glad to serve you!