Given the difficult year and tight cash flows, treatment cost at drying-off has been closely scrutinised and some farms have needed to compromise in favour of cost.
We should consider the impact of a compromise in terms of the two broad goals for dry-off treatment -
* Treatment of existing infections
* Prevention of new infections
The options at dry-off will have included antibiotic dry cow therapy, teat sealant (or a combination of both), blanket therapy, selective therapy, and different choices for different cows.
The options chosen at drying-off will probably be the single biggest influence on the risk of mastitis at calving and in early lactation!
If you had to choose an option at drying-off that was not necessarily "the best", there may be a "work around" to lessen the risk.
A specifically constructed calving management plan will help to reduce that risk, and commonly this may involve little or no monetary expenditure, but it may require a bit more effort and work - the choice is yours!
We recommend that you take the time to discuss your options with your vet/adviser to see how you can get the best result.
And remember that any supporting information that you can bring to a discussion with your adviser, e.g. milk culture results, clinical case records, etc., will aid that discussion.
At Dairy Focus, we have developed a telephone/webinar facility to be able to effectively discuss these options.
And no matter what option you decide on, prevention of clinical mastitis and new infections at calving has got to be a good outcome for the rest of the lactation!