It's time to start thinking about dry off

Before long most farms will have completed pregnancy testing and you’ll be making decisions about which cows have to go on the truck. Married up with this is the need to start planning for drying off. Here are some recommendations to make sure you and the herd are ready.

Make sure you have a herd test booked which is no more than 80 days prior to when you are likely to dry off your cows

We have to be increasingly careful about antibiotic usage and it won’t be long before we can’t use whole herd dry-cow therapy at all or only under very strict circumstances. To be able to use the Smart SAMM Plan or any other version of “selective dry cow” we need to have herd test data. We like to use three or more tests to decide which cows to give antibiotic to, but we can get away with only one herd test as long as it is within 80 days of when the cow is dried off. So, if you haven’t already, call up your herd testing rep and get a date booked in.

Book in a mastitis review consult with your vet and sign up to Infovet (if you haven’t already)

At the dry cow consult, as well as getting a prescription, you can utilise the time to discuss overall mastitis control in your herd. Think of it like going to an accountant. You could get them to just do your tax returns or you could ask them to help improve your business. The accountant (if they’re a good accountant!) should be able to drill into the financial details of your business with you to figure out where to focus to get more profit out of what you do. A dry cow consult is similar. We can just talk through general principles and get you a prescription for what we think you’ll need or we can spend a bit more time and drill into your information and records to pin point where you are best to spend your time and money to improve mastitis control in your herd. All this is made a lot simpler and more effective if you are signed up to Infovet. Signing up costs you nothing and is quick and easy, and most of the time you only have to do it once, so get into it!

Bring in some milk samples for mastitis culturing

The end of the season is a good time to bring in milk samples for bacterial culturing. You can bring in samples from cows with clinical mastitis or high cell counts or both. This will allow us to get a picture of what is going on on your farm and help us tailor recommendations to help with mastitis control. Without them we have to guess what bacteria are causing the problems in your herd. Late lactation is a time when we see chronic infectious subclinical mastitis building up. We really want to know if there is Staph Aureus in the high cell count cows in particular because often the only way to get on top of a Staph Aureus problem is culling chronically infected cows.

As always if you need so book something in or you want to discuss anything further give your friendly vet clinic a call.

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