Drying Off Dairy Cows
The mammary gland is a complicated organ where physiological and biochemical changes are shaped. Dry period is a transition process in which biochemical and cellular changes occur in the mammary gland.
Dry Period Management is an extremely important part of mastitis control programs. This period is highly critical for udder health because the mammary epithelium rests, regenerates and prepares for the next lactation during this period.
In addition, dry period is not only important in terms of udder health and milk yield, but also provides the cow´s metabolic preparation to calving. Vitamin and mineral imbalances observed especially in the periparturient period cause some diseases like hypocalcemia (due to lack of calcium). The dry period helps animals replace their vitamin and mineral reserves.
Importance of Dry Period
Studies have demonstrated that dry period can be shortened up to 4 weeks or prolonged up to 10 weeks. However, these studies report that the most appropriate period would be 50 to 70 days for both udder health and milk yield aspects. If dry period length is kept shorter than 40 days, the mammary gland enters in colostrogenesis stage (the period that colostrum is started to be produced) after active involution. In this case, the milk yield remains below expectations during the lactation period.
According to studies, if the dry period is kept very short, 18-29% loss in milk yield is observed in the next lactation. A dry period longer than 70 days, on the other hand, entails a drop in overall milk quantities obtained as a result of shortening in subsequent lactation period, as well as fattening of the cow until calving.
MilkingCloud Cattle Management Software notifies you of the time when you need to Dry Off your animals, via e-mail. Having designed according to the life cycle of a cattle, the Cattle Management Software will track the dry period of your pregnant animals, on your behalf.
Dry Off Treatment and Its Importance
Studies indicate that 48% of dairy cows get infected during the first 3 weeks of the dry period and almost half of the infections can be permanent for the next lactation period. Consequently, antibiotic therapy during the dry period is considered as the most effective way to eliminate udder infections that existed before the dry period begins. In various studies conducted, it was demonstrated that treatment rate can be elevated and the risk for new infections lowered with intra mammary antibiotics used at the beginning of the dry period. It is for this reason that dry-off period treatment has been considered as one of the most critical elements of any mastitis control schemes.