Ahead of drying-off taking place on farms you should be booking or planning in your final milk recording for the year.

Completing a milk recording of your herd in the coming weeks is vital to ensure that you have up-to-date records on your cows ahead of drying-off.

These records are vital for tracking cell counts in cows, and for determining which cows will require antibiotics during drying-off.

Challenging weather conditions will have forced many farmers to house cows, while some have gotten back out to grass – some have not.

There is always going to be a certain amount of milk produced from the cubicle shed; however, it can put pressure on cell counts.

Milk recording

You should arrange a milk recording for your herd to help identify cows that may have somatic cell count (SCC) issues 45 days out from drying-off, at the latest.

During the year, at least four milking recordings should be completed, which means you will have a good amount of data on all your cows.

Not only does this allow you to select cows with SCC issues, it also helps to identify which cows are suitable for sealer only.

The cows that are deemed suitable will vary from farm to farm, with a number of factors having an impact on the cows that are selected.

These factors include: low SCC during lactation; having not had mastitis during lactation; and have no warts or other defects on their teat/udders.

You also need to consider your drying-off routine and the environment that the cows will be spending the dry period in.

If records show poor drying-off success such as a spike in mastitis cases shortly after calving, improvements likely need to be made.

They could be simple management practices such as ensuring that the cubicle shed is disinfected when not being used.


When it comes to drying-off, having high hygiene standards is vital, as well as selecting the right cows. If the process is not completed correctly, the results are unlikely going to be good.

During drying-off and during the dry period, any errors will be exposed when infection pressure is high.