why dry your best
Dry Your Best approaches the dry-off process by looking at three important axes, which are all closely linked:
The decisions made at dry-off and the impact on farm efficiency.
Is the impact that your approach to dry-off has on farm labour, time and efficiency
Is how dry-off methods affect the risk of contracting new intra-mammary infections, which can lead to clinical and subclinical mastitis
Currently there are two main dry off method options: abrupt or gradual. Both options have their positive and negative points:
(IMMEDIATE CESSATION OF MILKING)
When a cow stops being milked, milk production in that cow does not stop immediately. This leads to an increase in udder pressure as milk builds up (udder engorgement), which can cause pain and discomfort to the cow. It is estimated that between 2.5 and 4.6 million cows experience difficulties that include udder pain as a result of drying off. This increase in pressure can also cause milk to leak out of the udder and increase the chances of that cow becoming infected with bacteria and developing mastitis.
(CESSATION OF MILKING AFTER USING METHODS SUCH AS REDUCING FEEDING OR MILKING FREQUENCY IN ORDER TO REDUCE MILK PRODUCTION BEFORE DRY-OFF)
Whilst reducing milk production at dry-off is better for the cow's health and welfare, current gradual dry-off techniques increase the complexity of the management process for farmers. Cows need to be managed in different groups, according to a different feeding strategy or stage of lactation. This can be time-consuming and harder to keep track of.
If the quality or quantity of feeding is changed prior to dry-off, the method should be considered gradual.