By Sherry Bunting
BALATON, Minn. — In conjunction with the Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota recently, The Lingen family hosted a “pizza-and-demonstration” seminar attended by 25 producers and milking employees representing 12 dairies ranging from 80 to 800 cows.
They came out April 1st to see the ‘udderly innovative’ Udder Comfort Spray Gun system that is used on all fresh cows at Lingen Dairy and to hear from Josh Lingen, along with New York dairy producer Chuck Worden, who has the same system at his Wormont Dairy, Cassville. Before getting to the parlor to test drive the spray gun, Worden showed a video of its use at Beer Farms in northern Indiana, where 150 first-calf heifers freshen monthly.
At Lingen Dairy, Balaton, Minnesota, cows are milked robotically, but fresh cows are started in the parlor. Josh Lingen has been using the spray gun system for 18 months.
Attendees gathered at noon to have pizza and ice cream, followed by a video on the spray gun system and comments from Worden, who has been using the spray gun system for one year, which is set up in his swing parlor on a hose reel for easy pull-down access. The gun works on the parlor air supply.
Worden has developed a “0 to 100 in 7 days” protocol, where fresh cows and heifers receive a fast minimal application of Udder Comfort through the spray gun for the first seven days post-calving. He concentrates the application to the udder floor and up the crease in one swift motion front to rear, after each milking, before fresh animals exit the parlor.
“We have reduced our somatic cell counts to be consistently below 200,000 for the first time in our 30-plus years of dairying,” said Worden. “We have Hispanic milking employees, along with family members milking, and everyone finds the gun easy to use, as well as fast, efficient and effective.”
The purpose of post-fresh applications is to reduce swelling and set the cow up to fulfill her genetic potential, according to Worden. He and his wife Vanessa and sons Wayne, Mark and Eric operate their 260-cow dairy in central New York.
I liken this to a runner with a swollen foot, being free to perform to his potential once that swelling is removed,” said Worden. “Likewise, for fresh cows, a simple application for the first seven days after calving — using the most innovative udder spray system in the industry — is all it takes to accomplish the goal.”
Lingen Dairy is home to 250 milk cows with a rolling herd average of 31,500 pounds. Cows average 94 pounds per day up to 100 pounds, and SCC runs consistently around 120,000. The farm is operated by Randy and Denice Lingen and their son Josh and his fiancé Andrea Guio Monje. Josh’s sister Hailey also helps in the milking parlor, where fresh cows and heifers are milked before moving to the adjacent Lely robotic facility.
“I love it,” said Lingen. “This spray gun system makes the application process so easy and we use 30 percent less product for the same coverage.”
Lingen sprays the udders of fresh cows after each milking in the parlor for the first three to seven days after calving. Then, in the robot barn, he spot-sprays, with the conventional spray bottles, any cow with an elevated conductivity on the robotic system printout each morning.
“She’s doing her part, so we’ve got to be doing ours. We want to free her to reach her milking potential and produce the highest quality milk at the same time,” said Worden about the importance of fresh cow comfort to their future performance. “Transition success is like a three-legged stool. We focus on a healthy uterus and a healthy rumen, and of course the third leg being a healthy udder.
“That’s where comfort really matters,” he added. “We’re finding out that a little Udder Comfort goes a long way. By focusing on the bottom the udder and the crease, with a small application after each milking for a week, we have found better results than coating the entire udder for just a few milkings. This also conserves on our product use, making it faster and more cost-effective for large dairies with faster parlor throughputs.”
“This is a premium product, and when we bought our first 15-gallon drum, we had sticker-shock, but we actually use about $100 worth of product per month on our fresh cows and heifers with the efficiency of the spray gun,” Lingen reported. “Our milk quality bonus more than pays for the product we use to achieve it.”
For more information about obtaining a free Udder Comfort Spray Gun with the purchase of five- and 15-gallon containers, and to find a local distributor, contact Udder Comfort International at 888.773.7153 and visit uddercomfort.com.
Josh Lingen of Lingen Dairy, Balaton, Minnesota starts every fresh cow and heifer in the parlor where they receive Udder Comfort for the first three to seven days before coming to the robot barn, where Josh also follows up on any animal with a high conductivity on the daily printout from the robots. Photo by Sherry Bunting
Andrea Guio Monje has her veterinary degree and helps her fiancé Josh Lingen to manage the Lingen Dairy herd. Here, she is explaining to fellow Minnesota dairy producers, Rick Lingen and Brody Alderson, how the spray gun system works.
Rick Lingen (left) and Chuck Worden (center) talk about the system as Dick Kidman of Kidman Dairy tries the spray gun on a few selected cows ranging from 48 hours fresh to two weeks fresh for comparison.
Josh Lingen demonstrates the Udder Comfort Spray Gun system on six cows ranging from 48 hours to two weeks fresh.
Chuck Worden of Cassville, New York, talks about the Udder Comfort Spray Gun system during a “pizza-and-demonstration” meeting at Lingen Dairy, Balaton, Minnesota attended by 25 dairy producers and milking employees, representing 12 farms ranging from 80 to 800 cows. Attendees had the opportunity to try the gun installed at the farm after lunch.