Dairy farmers can now test their knowledge and improve their drying off skills thanks to Farmers Weekly’s Dry Cow Therapy Academy, part of the Transition Cow Management course.
As part of the online training module, mastitis expert, Andrew Bradley, director of Quality Milk Management Services, runs through the importance of getting drying-off strategy right and provides pointers on best practice management strategy.
“Drying off is the single biggest investment most farmers make in udder health in a year and provides the best opportunity to cure existing infections and set a cow up for a productive subsequent lactation,” he says.
To ensure cows calve in with a healthy udder, cleanliness during the drying-off process and in the dry period itself are essential.
Close attention to somatic cell count (SCC) and clinical mastitis records is also a must to monitor the success a farm’s drying-off strategy, while also helping target management changes where necessary.
“With increasing global pressure for farmers to implement responsible use of antibiotics, records are also a vital tool in helping producers and vets establish how selective dry cow therapy could be implemented,” explains Dr Bradley.
The academy provides farmers with advice on:
- How to look at SCC and mastitis records to establish cure rates and new infection rates in the dry period
- The principles of selective dry cow therapy and the use of sealants
- How to carry out the drying-off process, with a step-by-step guide
- The key environmental considerations around drying off and the dry period.