Over one million cows are due to be dried off for the winter over the coming weeks. How they are managed at drying off and throughout the dry period can have a big impact on the quality and volume of milk that they produce during the following lactation.
With this in mind, Teagasc and Animal Health Ireland – supported by the dairy processors Arrabawn, Aurivo, Carbery, Centenary Thurles, Dairygold, Glanbia, Kerry Agribusiness, Lakeland Dairies, LacPatrick, North Cork Creameries and Tipperary Co-op – have come together to organise a series of 13dry cow events throughout the country in October/November.
Speaking at the launch of the events, George Ramsbottom, Teagasc said: “Our research shows us that the foundations of the next lactation are laid down during the previous dry period. Cows need a minimum of 60 days dry between successive lactations and even longer where body condition score needs to be built up.”
Addressing the risk of antimicrobial resistance is increasingly an issue of concern according to Finola McCoy, Programme Manager with Animal Health Ireland. According to Finola: “One of the topics presented at these events will be selective dry cow therapy. The practice of only using dry cow antibiotic tubes in cows that have evidence or history of infection is increasing in many countries, including Ireland. However, it is not without risk and it’s important to understand what those risks are so we can minimise them, and make sure that we get good results.”
Each of the events will focus on four topics: introducing selective dry cow therapy; managing in-calf heifers to minimise the risk of mastitis; the skills of drying off cows safely; and the nutrition and management of the cow during the dry period for optimum performance in the next lactation. For more information visit www.teagasc.ie