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

So, you’re about to dry off? Here are 5 tips to help make the dry period smoother…
By Jemma Guyton, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Te Aroha

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.
You have likely heard that you will not be doing these consults face-to-face during lockdown. These will either be done via phone or video call (your vet will sort this with 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 smoother…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Any cows that look like they might have mastitis need to be bought 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.

  • 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. If you have a feed pad close to the shed, if possible, we recommend you feed out in the paddock if possible, 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.

    COVID-19 Risk Management Plan: Anexa staff will conduct milk quality consults via phone or video call.

    Date Added: Thursday, 2nd April 2020