Enhancing Dairy Excellence: The Critical Role of Dry Off and Herdwatch’s Solution

Diarmaid O'Connor

| Cattle & Dairy | General

| Nov 30, 2023

Milk recording screens cows in parlour

As the backbone of a successful dairy operation, the dry-off process plays a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being and productivity of your herd. In this guide, we’ll delve into the significance of a meticulous dry-off routine and explore how Herdwatch empowers farmers to master this essential aspect of dairy management.

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!

In response to the evolving landscape of dairy farming, Herdwatch provides a comprehensive solution to simplify and enhance dry-off management. By utilising Herdwatch, farmers gain access to a dedicated Dry Off Management section, offering an insightful dashboard that covers vital aspects such as milking cows in the herd, average herd SCC, SDCT suitability, and more.

Navigate the Cows to Dry view within the Dry Off Management section to make well-informed decisions about which animals to prioritise for the dry-off process. This view provides essential information, including last calving date, expected calving date, milk yield, health indicators, and more. With a simple tap, add selected animals to your dry-off or treatment records.

In the dynamic world of dairy farming, mastering the dry-off process is non-negotiable. Herdwatch stands as a valuable ally, providing farmers with the tools and insights needed to elevate their dry-off management. From maintaining regulatory compliance to making informed decisions about individual animals, Herdwatch is a comprehensive solution designed to enhance the health and productivity of your dairy herd.

Recording a Dry Off in Herdwatch: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Medicinal Dry-Off with Tubes/Sealer:

Build Your Medicine Cabinet:

  1. Navigate to the home screen and select ‘Remedy/Medicine Purchase.’
  2. Choose from the list, use the search bar, or scan the medicine to add it to your cabinet.
  3. Enter details such as Date of Purchase, Unit of Measure, Quantity Purchased, Supplier, and Treatment Reason.
  4. Select ‘Save’ to add the tube/sealer to your cabinet.

Apply to Animals:

  1. On the home screen, select ‘Cattle Treatment.’
  2. Choose ‘From Remedy Cabinet.’
  3. Select the tube/sealer from the cabinet.
  4. Enter Date Administered, Administered by, and dose details.
  5. Ensure Treatment Reason is selected as Dry Off and choose the Dry Off Treatment Type.
  6. This triggers information to go to ICBF; the treatment reason appears overnight, and the treatment type is updated on the first Monday of every month.
  7. Select the animals and ‘Save.’

Natural Dry-Off:

  1. On the home screen, tap the orange plus button (+).
  2. Scroll or search for ‘Dry Off (Natural).’
  3. Enter the date and select the animals.
  4. Select ‘Save.’
  1. Dry-Off Alerts:

Set Watchboard Alerts to ensure timely dry-offs. Standard alerts are configured for:

  • 60 days before Calving for Cows.
  • 80 Days Pre-Calving for Heifers.

Easily customize these alerts in your Watchboard settings.

  1. Cows Not Dry Smartlist:

Utilise the “Cows Not Dry” Smartlist to identify breeding females without a recorded dry-off. This list offers valuable insights into cows that haven’t been dried yet and indicates the number of days from calving. No alerts are triggered; it’s a straightforward list for proactive management.

With Herdwatch, recording dry-offs becomes a streamlined process, ensuring the health and productivity of your dairy herd. Whether employing medicinal methods with tubes/sealers or opting for a natural dry-off, Herdwatch provides an intuitive platform for meticulous record-keeping. Take advantage of Watchboard Alerts and Smartlists to stay ahead of dry-off schedules and make informed decisions for the well-being of your herd. Embrace the efficiency and precision offered by Herdwatch in managing this critical aspect of dairy farming.

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 21,000 other happy farmers saving time on farm paperwork and managing their farms more efficiently by downloading the Herdwatch app today.

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