Teagasc’s Tom O’Dwyer, Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer, discusses selective dry cow therapy in this month’s dairy advisory newsletter.
November is the month when many younger and thinner spring-calving dairy cows are dried off.
“Regulations around the use of antibiotics are set to change in 2022, so it’s time to start considering the role of selective dry cow therapy or drying off without antibiotics.”
O’Dwyer explained that based on the recommendations presented at the dry cow events that Teagasc ran in conjunction with Animal Health Ireland (AHI) and the co-ops, selective dry cow therapy should be considered on the following farms:
- Those where bulk tank somatic cell count (SCC) was low throughout 2019 (bulk SCC levels) was low throughout 2019 (bulk SCC levels <200,000 cells/ml throughout the year, and particularly towards the end of lactation);
- Those that milk recorded a minimum of three times during 2019, with the last recording within 30 days of drying-off individual cows; and,
- Those with a low incidence of new mastitis cases occurring within the last three months (<2% new infection rate).
- Cows suitable for selective dry cow therapy in such herds, should also have the following;
- Had no clinical mastitis during their 2019 lactation;
- Had a consistently low cell count in all milk recordings during the lactation (<100,000 cells/ml in all tests); and,
- Present no difficulties at the time of drying-off such as warts on the end of teats, being extremely dirty, proving difficult to teat seal hygienically or free milking.