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If in doubt, leave it out!

Early lactation is a high risk time for bulk tank residues, particularly antibiotics, as many of the cows calving down will have been treated with dry cow antibiotic several weeks ago and it can be a very busy time of the farming year.  Milk contaminated with any residue of antibiotic must never enter the bulk tank.

1.    Ensure colostrum and transition milk is not included in the bulk tank.

•    Withhold milk for at least the first 8 milkings after calving-you can’t visually assess colostrum levels.

2.    Minimise residual teat sealer.

•    At first milking after calving, strip any cows treated with internal teat sealers at least 10-12 times

•    Withhold their milk for at least the first 8 milkings even if they didn’t get antibiotic dry cow therapy (DCT).

3.    Dilution is not the solution!

•    Once a cow calves check the exact date that she was treated with antibiotic DCT.

•    Ensure that the specified Minimum Dry Period days plus the Milk Withholding Time post-calving is adhered to before putting her milk in the bulk tank.

•    Cows calving earlier than expected may not have completed the full Minimum Dry Period. For these cows, you must follow the product instructions.

•    If you suspect an error in cow identity, treatment or calving date records, do not put the milk in the tank until the issue is resolved. Consult your milk processor immediately.

4.    Double check any bought-in cows

Make sure you ask the seller for exact treatment dates of any purchased cows. Find out what DCT products were used.

5.    Talk with your staff and relief milkers.

Make sure they know the routine for checking before putting the milk into the bulk tank.
Clearly mark all cows being excluded from the tank, and make sure all staff understand the marking system.

Finally, if you suspect any cows have been milked into the tank by mistake notify your milk processor immediately to avoid contaminating a full silo of milk.

For more information on reducing the risk of residues in milk, see Management Note F in the CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control.