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Whether or not a mastitis management program works well in practice comes down to the people involved. Team work and communication can help you get the right people doing the right things at the right time.

Dairy Australia's Countdown Downunder project leader, Dr John Penry, has some tips for building a team approach to mastitis management.

Firstly, everyone involved needs to understand mastitis: where the various risks occur on the farm and what to do to manage those risks. That usually involves some training. Ideally, have all managers and staff do the course together. It's a good step towards building a team culture.

The second step is for everyone to take personal responsibility for the practices involved in managing mastitis risk on farm. Countdown Downunder has clear guidelines for on-farm practices to manage mastitis.

"If you want staff to take personal responsibility for putting those guidelines into practice, it's worth getting them involved in working out the day-to-day procedures. Working together builds the team spirit and creates shared ownership of the final decisions," said Dr Penry.

"If you ask the team to work out the farm's processes, they'll talk about the logistics that make the difference between a good intention and good practice. The process they come up with will be workable and valued."

Involving staff in making the decisions means the mastitis management practices become part of the team culture rather than policies imposed from above.

"Taking the time and effort to involve your team in working out the farm's mastitis management protocols pays for itself many times over - in reduced treatment costs, avoided production losses, and less stress in the dairy," Dr Penry said.

For more tips on team work, visit The People in Dairy website (Live Library, Working Together module): For more information about managing mastitis visit or phone Countdown Downunder (03) 9620-7283.

Countdown Downunder is an example of your levy at work. For more information on this and other examples of your levy at work visit