Krawczel says the bedding additive did not affect teat-end cleanliness, teat-end callosity, or somatic cell counts. No meaningful treatment differences were observed in freestall cleanliness. Total bacteria counts were greater in the control for the first two days of sampling, but by day 7 there was no difference between the two bedding management approaches. On the other hand, environmental strep counts were greater in the control than the treatment. Counts increased over the course of the study for both control and treated sawdust. Coliform counts did not differ, but did increase over time. The additive did lower pH, but there were no differences in the overall dry matter. Fewer pathogens were found on the teats of cows housed with the treated bedding. There was a greater risk for pathogens found on the teat ends as pathogen load increased within the bedding and increased pH of the bedding.
The bedding additive worked as expected and was effective at lowering the risks of mastitis for dairy cows housed in freestalls using sawdust bedding. It still needs to be determined how practical its application may be on commercial farms. Within this study, freestalls were completely cleaned of bedding and pressure washed after 3 weeks. The additive would need to be added directly to the base of the freestall for effective use, so it would require all materials to be removed at regular intervals. Still, this may be worth the effort if current mastitis control practices are insufficient to control environmental pathogens, Krawczel says.