The Importance of the Drying Off Period


| General

| Dec 14, 2018

Andrew Paterson dairy farmer in field with cows

Most dairy farms are currently undergoing their dry off period. The purpose of the drying off period is to give lactating animals a period of rest. This will give a cow the ability to calve at correct body condition and the ability to produce high quality milk during the next lactation season. A minimum of a 60-day dry cow rest period is recommended.

The risk of infection during the dry period is up to seven times higher than during lactation. This suggests how important it is to dry off cows correctly.




Tips When Drying Off Cows:

  • Plan: Drying off cows should be planned a few days in advance (The Herdwatch “due to Dry-Off” view can help you with this).
  • Help: Drying off does not need to be a one-person job. (Many hands make light work)
  • Groups: Where possible Dry off cows in smaller groups to avoid animals getting distressed and any complacency taking place. (Herdwatch will help you manage this too)
  • Milk: Carry out once a day milking prior to the dry off period. 
  • Hygiene: Cleanliness is of the upmost importance- wash and disinfect the parlor.
  • Sterilise: Wipe each teat individually with either a wipe or cotton wool and surgical spirit.
  • Use: A teat sealer should be used correctly to ensure that the teat  remains closed until the cow is calved and the sealer removed.
  • Gloves: Should be worn at all time during the drying off process.
  • Mark: Each cow that has been dried off so that she is clearly visible.
  • Discuss: with your vet whether selective dry cow therapy is suitable for your herd.
  • Record: each tag number, the tube used and the date of drying off. (This can be recorded in Herdwatch in order to keep you compliant with Bord Bia and Cross-compliance) 

Recording a dry off in Herdwatch:

It couldn’t be easier to record a dry off using Herdwatch.

Dry Offs can be recorded easily by following these steps…

>Tap Orange Plus Button (+) in the bottom right hand corner

>Tap Record a Remedy

>Tap Cattle Treatment

>Select the remedy

>Select treatment date

>Select administered by

>Tap Next top right hand corner

>Select animals

>Tap Save


By recording dry-offs in Herdwatch all records will be sent directly to ICBF/CIS and farmers have the peace of mind knowing that they are fully complaint with Bord Bia/Red Tractor and/or Quality Assurance standards.

Try the App for Free

The new Free-Plan which allows farmers to:

  • Download their Herd from APHIS (NI), BCMS (UK) or Agfood (IRL) 
  • Record 10 calf registrations
  • Record their medicine purchases
  • Record Heat detection and general tasks


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