Herd Health Focus
Individual milk recordings
Attention given to the data
generated by individual milk
Precise recording of all clinical
Knowledge of the bacterial agents
commonly associated with mastitis
on the individual farm
The Drying-off Technique
Identify those animals for drying off
and those for culling based on BCS,
SCC and milk yield. Dry off cows
when yield drops to 8 10 litres/day
High yielding cows will requires a
reduction in the energy
density of the diet, in an
attempt to reduce milk
production prior to the
Dry cows off abruptly
in batches at a BCS
of 3 - 3.25 and remove
from the milking herd
Turn off the phone and
avoid distractions. This
procedure requires the
farmer`s full attention
and concentration. Allow
sufficient time for the dry
off procedure and don`t
Segregate cows to be
dried off into one group
and milk them out fully
at the end of milking.
Do not undertake foot
trimming at the same
time. This risks bacterial
transfer to the udder.
Ensure hands are
clean and dry and wear
Teats must be cleaned
with commercial wipes
and dried before the dry
cow tube is inserted. The
teats furthest away are
cleaned first followed by
Partly insert the tube end
into the teat canal. Treat
all 4 quarters - the teats
nearest first followed by
those furthest away.
Teat sealant, used on
most farms, should be deposited in
the teat rather than allowing it to
enter the gland.
Teat dip or spray is essential after
the dry cow tube is inserted to
remove any bacteria which may be
a source of new infection. Apply
after drying off and for 2 weeks
thereafter. Apply teat dip during
the 2 weeks prior to calving also.
Mark the cow with a large paint
mark visible during milking and
make sure she is segregated from
the milking herd.
Cows should stand for at least a 1
hour period after drying off in an
area that is clean and dry.
Record animal identity, drying off
date and dry cow product used
and its withdrawal period. This is
critical information in case a cow
Monitor for signs of mastitis
regularly during the dry period.
Getting management of the dry
period right is essential. Done
correctly it is an opportunity to deal
with current udder infections and
prevent new infections establishing.
Meticulous attention to detail such as
DCT selection and hygiene are key to
cow health as well as to the success
of the next lactation.