Winter is coming! Lucky for many of us that means a later alarm clock in the morning and some time off the farm. But until we take those milking aprons off yet, Vet Dan has some handy reminders as we approach winter to ensure your herd are prepared for a successful Dry Off.
Vaccination’s up to date
Are all your lepto and salmonella vaccinations up to date? These diseases post significant health risks to both your animals and staff. Do first shot early (April at the latest if this is the first time using salmonella vaccine).
Remember to order your rotavirus vaccines for winter with our retail too!
We highly recommend pre-dry-off blood and liver tests, this is to ensure TE levels are correct to lead them into winter and subsequent calving. Also great for assessing how the minerals you have used for the season have worked (or not) and creating a plan for next season.
We commonly see toxic copper levels now and using this data we can help you with what Trace Element supplements you may need over winter.
Apart from the main reasons for culling (eg. empty, udder conformation, etc) it is important to make sure you are culling any cows with chronic mastitis infections. Utilising herd SCC data from multiple years is the best way to find these, vets are great at creating ‘cull cow guides’ for farmers. This will be the best thing you can do to set up for low mastitis and SCCs next season.
Dry Off Treatment Decisions
Work with your vet to create the best treatment plan for your cows. Range from blanket treatment, to break down into different groups. As more and more farmers (quite rightly) are no longer applying blanket dry cow to their herds, have you considered the huge benefits from using teat seal only in groups on your farm?
Read more here: Understanding Dry Cow Reduction
Ensuring R1s and Heifers are Ready for Winter
- Have they had adequate Trace Element supplements, and consider testing if unsure.
- When was the last time they were drenched?
- Vaccinations completed?
- Are they at target weights? If not how can you prioritise them this winter to achieve 90% of their adult weight at calving? We have weighing facilities with Weigh It Up where we can come to your yards when you have the animals next in and save any unnecessary yarding.
- Have you got your heifers booked in for Teatsealing yet?
Drying Off Plan
Dry off dates and transport booked in. Winter mobs planned out? This could be based on calving date or BCS. Feed plan for winding the cows down for dry off. Transition plan for winter crop?
As we look to booking in your Winter Consults with your KeyVets, they will understand the nuances of your particular farm and be able to guide you into ensuring that we are helping you the best way we can, not only for a successful dry off, but for a successful start to the next season.
- Dan Cragg