Allow six weeks for udder health

National Dairy Show 2013: exhibitor bred champion Jersey Laurelelm Commercia Glamour shown by Ricky Barrett, Ballinhassig, Co Cork, with Richard Tyrell, Irish Jersey Society, sponsor.

The mastitis infection risk is five to seven times higher during the early dry period and just prior to calving, compared to during the lactation.

So it’s important to dry off cows correctly, to minimise problems. Plan for at least a six-week dry period to maximise udder health, and use your breeding records to select cow groups for drying off at the correct time.

* Dry off cows as soon as production is less than nine litres per day.

* On the drying-off date, stop milking cows producing 12 litres or less per day.

* Dry cows off abruptly; do not skip milkings.

* Milk out fully at the last milking.

* Mark cows before they are treated, to minimise the chance of mistaken identity and accidents later.

* Wearing clean gloves, thoroughly disinfect the teat ends, starting with the ones furthest away. Carefully administer dry cow treatment, starting with the nearest teats.

If using internal teat sealants, take care to close off the top of the teat, and do not massage the udder after infusion.

* Cover the whole surface of the teat in freshly prepared teat disinfectant.

* Avoid cows lying down on bare ground or areas that are soiled with manure in the two hours directly after you administer dry cow treatment.

* Separate the cows and put them into a clean, dry paddock for three to four days after drying off. If cows are being housed, ensure that the cubicles are clean and dry.


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