News & Advice

So, you’re about to dry off? Here are 5 tips to help make the dry period go smoothly…

Mar 23, 2022 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare, Milk Quality

It’s better to be prepared, don’t wait until just before you dry off the herd to have your milk quality consult. Your vet can help you make more informed decisions around milk quality for your herd in plenty of time for the coming season. With the introduction of our Milk Quality Consult app, we don’t need to do these consults face-to-face; we can ‘meet’ with you over the phone or by video call. Just chat to your vet (or clinic receptionist) to sort the best system for you.

Please make sure you follow the link you will receive by email and fill in your milk quality information. Filling this out before your consult makes the consult much quicker.

Five tips to help make the dry period go smoothly… 

1. Don’t let your cows run back to the paddock after drying off.

If possible, get someone to walk or bike in front of each mob to slow them down when they head back to the paddock. 


2. Try to slow down cows as you move them to each new break or paddock, especially for the first few days after drying off.

Why?  Immediately after drying off, dry cow antibiotics and sealant are more easily flung from teats by cows running and swinging their udders. Especially as udders fill up in the first few days after drying off. Losing these products may mean you end up with a few more cases of dry period mastitis or early lactation mastitis. Look out for strings of sealant or DCT on races – if you see this, it may mean cows were allowed (or pushed) to run too much. 


3. Make sure all staff know to watch for signs of mastitis every day when shifting cows.

These can be as obvious as a swollen quarter or as subtle as a slightly lame cow or a cow that’s slower to move.  

Why?  If you don’t look, you don’t find. Catching cases sooner means you will have a better chance to cure infection. This is especially important with cows that appear sick. Ring your vet ASAP if you get sick cows in the first 72 hours after drying off.


4. Any cows that look like they might have mastitis need to be brought to the shed for closer inspection and treatment. 

Why?  You need to have a closer look and feel the udder. Feel for heat and hard quarters. Only strip quarters that are hot and hard. Do not turn a blind eye. 


5. Avoid bringing cows to the shed or close to the shed until 14 days post dry off.

Try and graze them in paddocks furthest away from the shed. Even if you have a feed pad close to the shed, we recommend you feed out in the paddock for at least the first few days after drying off. 

Why?  Bringing cows close to the shed can stimulate milk let down which slows involution of the udder and may lead to milk leaking. This can mean the teats aren’t sealed, leading to cases of dry period mastitis.

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