Drying-off is probably the single biggest opportunity to make a difference to mastitis control - it is the best chance to cure existing infections, and it is a very important part of preventing new infections, especially at calving.
Drying-off is so important in terms of preventing new infections at calving, that at Dairy Focus we don't think of drying-off as then end of one lactation, but rather as the start of the next one!
And if you get it wrong, or even not as good as it might be, you have to wait until the next dry-off for that cow, or group of cows, before you have another opportunity to achieve those goals.
How can you maximise this opportunity? What, if anything, could change?
Al farms participating in the Dairy Focus Mastitis Control System develop a specific Dairy Focus Dry-Off Strategy as part of their annual routine - significantly, we always find opportunities to make a difference.
We recently developed and ran a series of drying-off workshops - "Stop, Seal & Heal - successful drying-off" - with 150 dairy farmers in Northern Victoria.
At those workshops, 74% of the participants said they were going home to make significant changes to their dry-off routine.
Three quarters of farmers attending thought there was an opportunity for them to significantly improve their dry-off routine.
So how does a Dairy Focus Dry-Off Strategy discussion work?
At the start of every discussion, we discuss the goals for the farm, using the Countdown guidelines as a starting point.
Then we carefully work through six steps in detail - and it is the detail which is important!
In each step, we explain to you what is happening in the cow and her udder, why this step is important and how best practice can reduce the risk of mastitis.
How best practice is implemented at each step will often vary considerably from farm to farm - the strategy has to meet the day to day requirements of that farm.
- Timing of drying-off
- Method of drying-off
- Choice of Dry Cow Treatment Regime
- Application of the treatment at drying-off
- Post dry-off monitoring
Significantly, many farms tell us that the resulting strategy for their farm made the process far easier and much more organised, and everyone knew exactly what was going to happen, how to do it, and why they were doing it.
Many farms tell us that the strategy made the process far easier and much more organised.
A Dairy Focus Mastitis Dry-Off Strategy is a key component of the Dairy Focus Mastitis Control System. Each year, the strategy is reviewed to ensure it meets the current situation and requirements for the farm - because things do change!
For more information on a Dairy Focus Mastitis Dry-Off Strategy or mastitis control on your farm, call Dairy Focus now on (03) 58590706, or send us an email from here.