DRY COW THERAPY
All farmers have an opportunity to maximise udder health when drying off cows and during the dry period, and in some cases to safely reduce the number of cows receiving antibiotic treatment as part of a drying off strategy. ‘Blanket dry cow therapy’, where all cows are treated with dry cow antibiotic tubes, was traditionally recognised as best practice in mastitis control and has made a very positive contribution to udder health in many countries. However, as we learn more about the association between antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, the practice of blanket dry cow therapy is being questioned in many countries, by farmers, consumers and society in general.
There is a growing interest and move towards ‘selective dry cow strategies’, which involve a more targeted use of antibiotic treatments. However, this practice is not without risk and may not be suitable for all herds.
FUNDED DRY COW CONSULT
As part of the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) funded through the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020, a Dry Cow Consult, between trained veterinary practitioners (see map below) and their clients, have been made available.
The purpose of the TASAH Dry Cow Consult is to enable farmers to engage with their vet to develop farm-specific selective dry cow strategies, where appropriate. Milk recording results and farm records will be reviewed, as well as current practices when drying off cows, to help develop and plan these strategies.
ELIGIBILITY AND REQUIREMENTS
In order to maximise the positive outcomes from this initiative, the service will be made available to herds that already have the necessary information and records to support decision-making and planning. To be considered eligible for the free service a dairy farmer must meet the following criteria:
- Average bulk milk tank SCC for the last 12 months is <200,000 cells/mL
- At least 4 whole herd milk recordings in the last 12 months
- HerdPlus member
Farmers availing of the TASAH service will also be expected to adopt the following practices:
- Ensure that the last milk recording is no older than 4 weeks at the time of the Dry Cow Consult
- Record the date of drying off and product used for all cows at the end of the 2020 lactation
- Commence milk recording within the first 2 months of the 2021 lactation
- Following the consult, record any clinical mastitis cases thereafter on ICBF, by SMS or the Animal Events page.