Autumn-calving cows are entering the final third of their lactation and will start being dried off in late-June or early July. Farmers should be planning for this by first determining each cow’s body condition score (BCS).

Having cows in the correct BCS ahead of drying off is important as to ensure that they have a successful calving and lactation.

Failure to have cows in the correct BCS at calving may lead to issues such as difficult calvings, fertility issues, ketosis or milk fever.

These issues add stress and increase the workload on farms, in what is an already a busy time of the year.

Running cows through the crush now will allow for the identification of cows that are not in the ideal BCS ahead of drying off.

Detecting cows with a BCS that is too low now, will allow adequate time to make decisions that will help them catch up.

Similarly, it allows for detecting cows that have a BCS that is too high, which is also an issue.

Autumn-calving herds in 2022

This year’s autumn-calving herds will be the first to experience life without blanket dry-cow therapy.

So this is also a good time to sit down with a vet and/or milk quality advisor to determine which cows may be suitable for selective dry-cow therapy (SDCT).

Milk recording results from herds will determine the cows that should be suitable for SDCT.

The cell count limits and cows suitable should be determined between eacch individual farmer and their vet/milk quality advisor; a generic figure should not be used to determine suitability.

A limit for one farmer’s herd may not suit another, so it should be determined on a herd-by-herd basis.

This is where the use of milk recording plays such a key role on farms moving forward, with the more data being available on the herd the better.