Research has demonstrated that proper dry-off methods are vital in promoting udder health during the nonlactating period and at calving. For high producing cows, it may be necessary to decrease dietary energy over the last 1-2 weeks of lactation by increasing fiber and eliminating grain. Abrupt cessation of milking is probably as good as intermittent milking with a diet change for low and medium producing cows; however, intermittent milking is recommended for high producing cows to decrease milk yield and minimize leakage at dry-off, which could lead to mastitis. First lactation cows should be given a 50- to 60-day dry period, but multiparous animals fare well with a 35- to 45-day dry period. Selective dry cow therapy with non lactating cow antibiotics plus teat seal is as effective as blanket dry cow therapy with non lactating cow antibiotics plus teat seal for cows with SCC less than 200,000/ml. However, blanket dry therapy with both products is recommended for cows that dry off with greater than 200,000/ml. It is important to follow recommended infusion techniques to preserve the protective components of teat canal keratin and the sphincter muscle. And lastly, use of coliform vaccines will enhance immunity over the dry period and reduce clinical coliform mastitis in early lactation. This publication address these topics in more detail in order to help producers prevent mastitis in their dairy herds.

Status and Revision History
Published on Sep 17, 2015

Steve Nickerson Professor Emeritus, Animal & Dairy Science
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