News & Advice

Managing Cows Around Dry Off

May 5, 2017 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare, Farm systems

Drying off your cows is not just about using the best dry cow product for your farm. It is important for cows to be managed well over this time. 
How your cows are dried off can influence how many udder infections establish during the dry period. 
The aim is to shut down milk secretion and seal the teat canal as rapidly as possible – this usually takes about two weeks. Most new infections occur in quarters where the teat canal has not sealed. 
Low producers should be dried off as their production reaches less than 5L /day (<0.4kgMS/day). 
The aim is to have cows producing between 5-10L/day at drying off. For cows already doing this no changes in diet are needed. Bear in mind however if the average for the herd is still 10L/cow/day, around half the herd will still be producing over 10L/day. 
For high producing cows doing over 10L/day (>1.0kgMS), intakes should be reduced by around 30% depending on production and concentrates should be stopped. 
Water should be maintained at all times and cows should be fed maintenance for the next week or more until obvious swelling of the udders subside. Maintenance levels vary on the size of the cow and how far away from calving they are. 
Avoid allowing them to lie down on bare ground or areas that are with significant manure/effluent, especially in the two hours immediately after you dry off. 

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