April 2020


Studies have shown there are 75% fewer baceria on used gloves than bare hands.


We receive calls weekly from producers who are experiencing milk quality issues on their farm. Often, we find a common denominator on each farm for the source of the high somatic cell count (SCC).

It sounds elementary, but wearing gloves is a simple practice that could reduce contagious and environmental bacteria spread between individual quarters and cows.

Do you and your team wear gloves while milking cows? You should! Gloves are a minimalcost prevention tool for a large-cost problem. This preventative tool can help keep bacteria and dirt out of the cracks, crevices and fingernail beds on your hands. Additionally, milking gloves can easily be disinfected between cows because of their smooth surface.

Studies have shown there are 75% fewer bacteria on used gloves than on bare hands. Wearing gloves also reduces the spread of contagious and environmental bacteria by 50%.

Bacteria triggering contagious mastitis on a farm is hard to cure, causing farms loss of milk production and money. Cows infected with contagious mastitis often cause a high bulk tank SCC. Due to this, producers should take every step necessary to prevent the spread of bacteria to other herd mates or within the udder. This bacteria travels from quarter to quarter via milk on your hands or within the milking unit. To limit the spread of contagious mastitis, practices such as milking infected animals last, post-milking teat disinfectant, universal dry cow treatment and wearing gloves should be implemented on your farm.

Wearing gloves is an inexpensive way to help reduce overall herd SCC without a large investment. Will it take a while for you and your employees to get acclimated to how they feel? Yes, but it is worth the time and effort in the long run. Who knew something as easy as putting on a pair of milking gloves could help you reduce your overall herd SCC and increase profits on your farm?

Amber Yutzy
Amber Yutzy is a member of the dairy team at Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Extension.