Contaminated silage a big risk for cows ahead of drying off
The Indian summer experienced in the months of September and October has made an incredible difference to the mood of dairy farmers.
Excellent crops of silage were harvested right through the month of October, giving farmers the means to bridge the gap in fodder requirements for the winter months.
In my experience, this Indian summer was best seen in north Kerry where rain usually limits the opportunity to graze land successfully in the back end of the year. This year, cows have continued to graze full-time through the month of October. In addition, new reseeds have had an excellent opportunity to establish. There has been an opportunity to graze these new reseeds which have boosted milk production. In addition, there is also the benefit of induced tillering to create a closed sward next spring.
November will herald the onset of dry-off therapy for the majority of grass-based dairy herds.
Standard procedures involving intra-mammary antibiotic infusions will have to change. The risks of antimicrobial resistance cannot be overlooked.
Milk recording should be a standard management practice.
Instead, we have only 50pc of dairy herds using this excellent service. We have to improve the efficiency of milk production. Milk recording provides that vital link with excellent information on milk yield, solids and SCC.
There should not be a need to use dry cow antibiotic infusions in cows with a history of low SCC. Aside from the cost savings, you are playing your part in reducing antimicrobial resistance.