A biological bedding treatment that inoculates cubicles or loose housing with healthy bacteria to crowd out pathogens will be launched at DairyTech Online, 3-17 February. Pre-launch users of Cobiotex from EnviroSystems are reporting drier beds and 20 percent average lower straw use, reducing somatic cell counts and fewer lameness cases.
Developed in France where it is now used for 180,000 cows, the seven-strain bacterial formulation is carried in a hyper-absorbent powder. In cubicles, it is applied once-a-week to dehydrate the area underneath the udder and compete with pathogens for nutrients and living space. The formulation includes the only registered microbiological biocide in Europe.
A monitored trial with father and son Andrew and Tom Pemberton, selling milk to the public in the north west, saw a 10 percent reduction in somatic cell counts from 100 to 90 thousand cells/ml. Another in Paul Cashmore’s herd at Rowley Park Farm in Staffordshire recorded 70 percent fewer lameness cases requiring treatment. He also observed the cubicle building’s atmosphere to be noticeably fresher. EnviroSystems microbiologist Dr Henry Russell reports that, probably because of fewer lame cows, average milk sales also rose by two litres a cow, worth more than £1,000 a month extra income.
Both trials involved a pre-treatment observation phase, then three-month treatment period during full time housing. Microbiological analysis of bedding litter found significant changes in bacterial populations.
At Paul Cashmore’s, there was a 15-times increase of good bacteria in cubicle litter (chart 1). Dr Russell suggests that fewer lameness cases may be explained by a 90 percent reduction in Anaerobic Sulphite Reductive organisms (see chart 2). “These are an indicator for Treponema, the pathogens responsible for Digital Dermatitis, which it is not practical to measure directly on-farm,” he explains.
“Clearly, Cobiotex cannot fully prevent Digital Dermatitis, but these result demonstrate that it can reduce the presence of DD-causing organisms and the resulting risk of infection.”
Results at the Pemberton farm include the near elimination from cubicle litter of non-coliform Enterobacteria and 80 percent reduction in coliforms (chart 3). In good bacteria, there was a six-times increase in lactic bacteria and 25 percent-plus rise in friendly spore-formers (chart 4). More information is available from the EnviroSystems farm support team on 01772 860085 or at the website.