Maintaining the cow’s welfare is vital through the dry-off period as a healthy cow leads to a more productive and efficient dry period that benefits future lactations and producer profitability.
The abrupt dry-off method in cows that are still producing considerable amounts of milk results in the accumulation of the milk in the udder. This leads to milk leakage and udder engorgement (increase of udder volume and pressure) which causes discomfort and udder pain. On the other hand, cows dried off gradually by changing the quality or quantity of feed may suffer from hunger.
Animal welfare problems caused by drying off are more pronounced in high producing dairy cows and are therefore likely to become more and more important.View the welfare assessment