With continual genetic selection for increased milk production, the method chosen to dry-off dairy cows is more important than ever in terms of labour, cow health and cow welfare. There are two common ways of stopping milk production at the end of lactation (dry-off), neither of which favour all three axes:
When milk production is stopped by a sudden cessation of milking
- Easier management.
- High yielding cows are often difficult to dry-off abruptly and are more prone to milk leakage with increased risk of new intramammary infections.
- Causes udder engorgement, which can be painful and so represents a welfare concern.
When milk production is gradually reduced by different means before the day of dry-off