NOVEMBER 2018 Management Hints • • your vet but always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, Dry off cows milking less than 7 litres per day, If the herd SCC level is high get a sensitivity test done (instructions below), and it is essential to use a long acting dry cow tube to ensure that there is adequate antibiotic for the entire dry period. Change the dry cow tube (active ingredient) every 3 to 4 years and do not use a dry cow tube with the same antibiotic as the lactating tube used during the season, particularly if the cure rate was low. Dry off cows abruptly, no once-a-day milking, Have a culling policy; dry off cow that had 3 or more clinical cases during the current lactation and/ or three or more readings over 400,000 cells/ml, especially if the cow is old, As younger cows are generally not chronic you should CMT test (a cheap, simple do-it-yourself job) them, prior to drying off, to identify the problem quarter/s. Then treat this quarter with two lactating tubes + dry cow tube + sealer. If there are two or more problem quarters, a course of injectable antibiotic may be required, under veterinary supervision, Seven days before expected drying off, withdraw PLAN YOUR DRY COW STRATEGY: X Dry cow therapy results in the reduction of new cases of mastitis by 50%-90%. • It also heals cows with mastitis, particularly, young cows. • However, a cow that has ‘chronic’ mastitis will not be healed and even with the best dry cow treatment she will have mastitis next year. X As this is a very strenuous job and demands your full concentration to do it carefully and hygienically, therefore, you should only do 15-20 cows each day. X From a mastitis point of view when should you dry off cows? It must be based on • Expected calving date and yield: you must leave at least 56 days to calving so as to enhance the cure rate (10 weeks best of all). • SCC levels in individual cows: cows over 300,000 cells/ml should be dried off early. • First calvers should be dried off when they have 270 days milked to let the udder develop/heal and allow time for the heifer to grow. X Prepare for drying off by having a policy on the following: • Decide which antibiotic to use by consulting • • • • • 55