News & Advice

Making Dry off Count

Mar 30, 2017 | Dairy, Milk Quality

By Hamish Clare, Anexa FVC Morrinsville Veterinarian, Advanced Mastitis Accredited Advisor
  • Your  Milk Quality Consult  (MQC) is a great opportunity to review the current season’s performance as well as deciding on the best approach at dry off for your herd. 
  • The number of herds using teatsealant through  selective therapy or combination therapy  (teatsealant + antibiotic DCT) has increased a lot in the last four years. We have seen some fantastic results, with clinical mastitis rates over the calving period often dropping by half or more. On 2 particular farms the incidence of mastitis dropped from 27% and 32% to 7% and 12 % respectively in the following season after moving to combination therapy! 
  • Every year we see problems where  hygiene at dry off  has been poor and cows have developed mastitis as a result. Bacteria present on the outside of a cow’s teats come from dirt and faeces, and can cause severe infections if pushed inside the udder during treatment. These can be highly resistant to antibiotics and can cause cow deaths. This is especially important if you are using teatsealant alone. If you have never used teatsealant before, and are planning to this season, make sure you discuss this with your Vet. If you are not sure about hygiene or you need extra manpower, our technicians are available to help. 
  • Cull persistently infected cows.  Culling problem cows is the best way to eliminate some infections from the herd. If cows had high somatic cell counts (HSCCs) last season and are high again this season despite having received DCT then they should be placed on the cull list. Cows greater than seven years old and cows with lumps (abscesses or scar tissue) felt in the udder should be prioritised. We can help you sort out a cull list using herd test and treatment information if required. 
  • If you are struggling to keep your bulk tank somatic cell counts (BTSCC) down late in lactation, and not finding clots on your filter, or haven’t herd tested recently to easily identify HSCC cows then look for and  dry off those cows doing low production  (around or less than 5L/day) which can easily have SCCs of 500,000. The next step would be to Rapid Mastitis Test (RMT) the whole herd to find the worst high somatic spore count (HSCC) cows. This can be a time consuming job but our Technicians are available to help if needed. 

For further information, please talk to your Anexa lead Vet, we’re here to help.

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