Watch for signs of Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease. View more information


Countdown: Managing Mastitis

The Countdown project is an investment in mastitis management and milk quality control. Milk quality is an important component of farm productivity and profitability. Higher quality milk also generates additional industry wealth through manufacturing efficiencies and builds Australia’s market reputation for quality milk.

Countdown resources

Consensus on the most effective approach to controlling milk cell counts and reducing the occurrence of new mastitis infections has been developed as part of the Countdown project.

This agreed body of knowledge has been distilled into clear, consistent messages for farmers and their advisers in Countdown Technotes and Countdown Farm Guidelines. Countdown resources have been used internationally through a memorandum of understanding with DairyNZ and Animal Health Ireland as a basis for their milk quality programs.

Countdown Resources

Many other Countdown resources have been developed which can be found on the Countdown Resources page.

Managing bulk milk cell counts

Bulk milk cell count (BMCC) refers to the concentration of cells (expressed as cells per millilitre) produced by the entire herd into the milk in the vat. BMCC is used:

  • At the farm level to assess milk quality status and alert farmers to mastitis problems. The BMCC is an indirect way of estimating the level of subclinical mastitis in the herd
  • By dairy processing companies to determine payments to suppliers, decide how the supply will be processed and market particular products
  • Nationally to calculate the winners of the annual Australian Milk Quality Awards and to report on Australia’s milk quality internationally

The BMCC is an important determinant of milk quality and the price paid for raw milk. Dairy farmers work hard to have a low BMCC to optimise payments for milk produced. Sometimes, seasonal conditions or farm-related factors make managing the BMCC challenging. Countdown has developed a number of resources for dairy farmers and their advisors to use in order to achieve a low BMCC.

Managing clinical mastitis

More information is available on the managing bulk milk cell count page.

Managing clinical mastitis

Despite continued efforts to reduce the spread of mastitis, clinical mastitis is an inevitable and common event with lactating dairy cows. Clinical mastitis can be influenced by environmental conditions, milking machines, milking hygiene and routines, including teat disinfection.

Early detection and treatment of clinical mastitis cases reduces the risk of severe cases developing. It also reduces the likelihood of infection being passed to other cows and the development of chronic infections. Clinical cases which are missed can markedly increase the BMCC because they produce very high numbers of cells.

More information is available on the managing clinical mastitis page.

Building capability with mastitis control

Cups On Cups Off is one of Dairy Australia's most popular workshops. Participants learn hands-on methods for preventing, treating and controlling mastitis in dairy herds. The course comprises two sessions held over two days which are run by Countdown trained milk quality experts and facilitators.

Improving milk quality and reducing mastitis

Countdown has invested in developing capability in veterinarians, field officers and milk quality staff, herd improvement personnel, milking machine technicians and other dairy advisors since 2000.

More information is available on the find a milk quality advisor page.

You're viewing the Western Dairy website. To view other regional dairy information, select a region.
Cookies help Dairy Australia improve your website experience. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.