New Regulations for Dry Cow Therapy for 2022- Are you ready?


| General

| Nov 11, 2022

Cattle in parlour milk recordings screens

Blanket Dry-Off is out and Selective Dry Cow Therapy is in! Here’s what you need to know before you start drying off cows!


Under Regulation (EU) 2019/6 on veterinary medicinal products, the blanket use of antibiotic dry cow therapy has been prohibited since January 28th, 2022, which means farmers are no longer allowed to administer dry cow tubes to all cows in the herd by default (blanket dry cow therapy). This is part of a targeted global action plan to reduce the use on anti-biotics in food chains, which have been increasing the levels of anti-biotic resistance in humans.

This is the first time this will have an impact on Spring calving herds as these herds were dried off after the 2021 milking season and before the regulations came into effect.

The Importance of the Dry Period

The purpose of the dry period is to give lactating animals a period of rest. A minimum of a 60-day dry cow rest period is recommended as in practice shorter periods have been found to have a negative effect on cow performance in the next lactation. It is also important to adhere to a 60-day minimum for any cows with high Somatic Cell Count (SCC) at dry off. This gives these cows time to recover and any possible infection to cure before the next lactation with treatment if necessary.

The risk of infection during the dry period is up to seven times higher than during lactation. This highlights how important it is to dry off cows correctly. This is of particular importance when implementing Selective Dry Cow therapy (SDCT) as there is no preventative antibiotics administered so cleanliness is key. Therefore, a good dry off routine is critical to ensure pathogens are not introduced into the teat canal during the process.

Consult your veterinary practitioner for advice on cows with SCC issues or infections at dry off or during lactation. Under the new regulations this medication will be prescribed on an individual basis. 

Vets Advice

Hazell Mullins, Clinical Director at Highfield Veterinary Group provides advice to farmers on the implementation of Selective Dry Cow Therapy on farm and best practices.



Hazell’s Criteria for SDCT

Herd Selection 

  1. Bulk Tank SCC consistently <200,000 cells/ml
  2. Milk recording: ideally monthly
  3. Records of clinical cases and outcomes
  4. < 2% clinical case rate in the last 3 months of lactation

Cow selection

  1. SCC consistently <200,000 – last 4 recordings
  2. No clinical case throughout the lactation (important to record all cases as sometimes will not be reflected in the milk recordings)
  3. No skin lesions

Hazell’s Top Tips for SDCT dry-off day

  • Eat breakfast – Don’t be hangry!
  • Be organised – lay out everything on a table or other side of herring bone
  • Spotless parlour/crush before startingimage-png-2
  • Teat score – make sure surface of the teat is smooth
  • Use gloves
  • Bucket of cotton pads in surgical spirts or else remove wipes from packets and place in surgical spirit
  • Do not place sealers in warm water to soften – Pseudomonas risk
  • Stand in clean yard for 30 mins
  • Remember – treat your cows like surgical patients – embrace your inner surgeon!


Dry Off/SDCT Management in Herdwatch

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By using Herdwatch, you will be able to access all the information needed to select cows to be dried off, within the Dry Off Management feature. Here you will find a detailed dashboard which includes cows in herd, average herd SCC, cows suitable for SDCT, cows to dry, cows dried, milk records and more.

Herdwatch is fully compliant with all quality assurance standards in Ireland & the UK and allows farmers to record all remedy usage, register calves, cattle movements, breeding records, map your farm and more on a simple to use app.

You too can join Hazell and over 18,000 other happy farmers saving time on farm paperwork and managing their farms more efficiently by downloading the Herdwatch app today.



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