Well planned drying off programme is foundation for a healthy herd
A lot of thought and time should be dedicated to drying off - as what is done now can significantly affect a cow's ability to be profitable next year
The time of year has come again where our attention becomes focused on drying off cows.
The dry period is the time a cow needs to prepare for her next lactation.
A minimum of 60 days is recommended so cows calving in January should be dried off now.
A lot of thought and time should be dedicated to drying off as what is done now can significantly affect a cow's ability to be profitable next year.
What tube should I use? Every farm is different and every year is different. What works in a neighbour's herd may not work in yours. Similarly, what was effective in your own herd last year may not be as effective this year. Tube selection should be based on diagnostics: i.e. a number of samples taken from high SCC cows will be sent by your vet to the lab in order to determine what bacteria are present in the herd and what antibiotics will work effectively. Samples should be taken carefully and hygienically as any contamination can affect the accuracy of results.
Should I use a teat sealer?
The simple answer is yes. If we think about it, the only way bacteria can enter the udder is through the teat end.
Without a sealer, we are relying on the cow to form a natural seal after drying off. Studies have shown that 50 days after drying off, one in five cows will have teat canals open to infection.
The highest risk of developing mastitis during the dry period is in the days before calving. Using a sealer correctly will ensure that the teat canal remains closed until the cow is calved and the sealer is removed. The cost of using a sealer in a 100 cow herd can be up to €500.