Get rid of the summer bugs

Posted on September 16, 2013 in Dairy Performance
HoskinsBy Ann Hoskins When it comes to our crops, this summer has been a crazy growing season with lots of ups and downs.  In contrast, it’s been a steady and great growing season for the bugs on our dairy farms and calf operations.  Many farms struggled with flies and pathogenic pests this year. As we move toward fall and cooler temperatures, it’s a great time to clean up and get rid of the summer bugs.  Limiting pathogens as much as possible will help reduce disease pressure amongst your young calves and lead to healthier replacements entering your milking herd.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Rinse your equipment:  Use lukewarm water to rinse any calf feeding equipment, such as pails or bottles.  Get rid of any residues that may be stuck in the corners or ridges.  Bugs feed on moist organic matter that can easily get stuck in these hard-to-clean places.
  • Wash with a hot, soapy water:  Use hot, soapy water to scrub all of your equipment, paying close attention to the hard-to-clean areas.
  • Scrub, scrub, scrub:  As you’re washing equipment, make sure you thoroughly scrub every surface with hard-bristled brushes.  This will help you get rid of any organic matter that you may have missed when rinsing the equipment.  Dedicate your brushes for their specific uses.  For example, brushes used for cleaning feeding equipment should not be used to clean anything else.
  • Replace worn brushes:  Over time, hard-bristled brushes get scratched and worn, making them good places for pathogens to gather.  Check the brushes to make sure the bristles are still hard and that they’re not moldy or dirty.  If they are, it’s time to invest in some new brushes.
  • Use a disinfectant to kill pathogens:  After you’ve scrubbed away all the organic matter, it’s time to use a disinfectant to sanitize the equipment.  Ask your veterinarian or dairy supply agent which chemical disinfectant would best fit your facility.
  • Let the equipment dry:  Where you have moisture, you will also have pathogens.  Designate an area for drying your equipment.  Stack pails and bottles in a way that allows for good air flow so the equipment dries quickly and completely.
  • Store it right:  If you’re not using equipment, store it in a clean and tidy place that will keep it from getting dirty before you use it again.

Contact iconCheck out the video below for our latest edition of Calf Chat to learn more about these cleaning processes. About the author:  Ann Hoskins is the Vita Plus calf products coordinator.  She grew up on a dairy farm in DeForest, Wis., which she says is instrumental to where she is today.  “The lessons and values I gained growing up in this industry have given me the passion to stay involved and continue to learn more every day.” Hoskins earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has spent that last five years at Vita Plus, working with producers to improve performance and help them reach the goals of their calf operations. 

Category: Animal health
Dairy Performance