Question posted by Willem Koops, ZuivelNL.
This question was one of the main topics of the last British & The Netherlands exchange visit of farmers. Answers, ideas and R&D-needs are welcome at this online forum!
The new infections appear especially at the beginning and at the end of the drying off so shortening would have few impacts on it, even there are some infections in the middle. Omitting the dry period reduces risk but has deep impacts on production and colostrum. Here is a technical note about it (in french…)http://www.bretagne.synagri.com/ca1/PJ.nsf/TECHPJPARCLEF/20877/$File/Moduler%20la%20durée%20de%20tarissement%20V2.pdf?OpenElement
I’m not quite convinced that omitting the dry period entirely is a viable solution for every cow. Although there might be some metabolic benefits, the milk yield and colostrum quality will decrease significantly in the long run. According to the Dutch “Why Dry?“-project, shortening the duration of the dry period to 30 days might be feasible.
In terms of udder health, I think we should all focus on selective dry cow treatment rather than getting rid of the dry period altogether.
I agree with this point of view
As researchers of the WHYDRY and tailored dry period project we also believe that omitting the dry period is only for a select group of cows, with no history of mammary disease, with a history of metabolic diseases, and high producing in late lactation. We also want to emphasize on the posibility of a short (28-d) dry period! This has much less effect on milk yield in the subsequent lactation, compared with an omitted dry period, but does positively affect metabolic health in early lactation.
We are currently working on a mobile application which combines advise on selective dry cow therapy with dry period length.
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