Considerations after drying off dairy cows

Once dairy cows are dried off, make sure that daily post-checks are completed. All staff should be trained to remove teat sealant when necessary and should be aware of withdrawal periods.

Back to: Drying off dairy cows

During the dry period, check udder daily

Observe cows daily during the dry period

Look for swollen quarters. If quarters look swollen, move to appropriate handling facilities and check the udders manually.

Manual checks of swollen quarters

  • Check quarters for swelling, heat, hardness, redness and pain – compare between all quarters
  • Avoid handling or stripping unaffected quarters so that the teat seal or plug remains intact
  • If suspicious, consult with a vet before treating as a clinical case
  • A full course of treatment should be used and given at the recommended time intervals, as per the label
  • Remember to record full details of the clinical case and treatment

Removing teat sealant

  • The dry period ends with the calving down of the cow and the start of the next lactation
  • Teat sealant must be fully stripped out prior to attaching the cluster at the first milking of the lactation
  • Pinch the base of the teat where it joins the udder. Then, with the other hand, strip each teat with one long slow action
  • Generally, teat sealant can be removed in one long string. If not, strip 10–12 times while pinching the base of the teat
  • To prevent blackspot in cheese and accumulation of sealant in milking machine filters, teat sealant must not enter the bulk milk tank

Some milk buyers require farmers to complete training on the use of teat sealant. This training is provided by the farm vet in conjunction with the product manufacturer guidelines. A certificate of completion lasts for 3 years.

Withdrawal periods for dry cow antibiotics

  • There are withdrawal periods for intramammary antibiotics but not for internal teat sealants
  • The long-acting nature of the antibiotic dry cow tubes means there is a prolonged milk withdrawal period
  • Care must be taken to observe withdrawal times, especially if cows calve early

 If a cow calves early:

  • Check the dates for their dry cow therapy withdrawal period
  • Instructions must be followed appropriately for each antibiotic product

Not adhering to withdrawal periods may lead to an antibiotic residue failure. If you are in any doubt, milk can be tested using an inhibitory substance test.

Speak to your vet about Milksure training on how to safeguard residue-free milk.

Useful links

Managing mastitis

Mastitis control plan