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Use the dry period to heal udder disease

The EuroTier special feature "Healthy udders throughout the year" will offer practical solutions and recommendations for dairy farmers, including the importance of the period when the cows are not milking

FRANKFURT/MAIN, Germany, 7 November , 2016 – The dry period offers great opportunities to heal diseases of the udder, and whether that time is used effectively or not can be expressed by the cure rate*, which is a key figure that can be calculated using data from the udder health reports issued by the national milk recording organizations. This measurement provides an important guide as to whether an adequate dry cow regime is being followed.
Determining the cure rate
The cure rate achieved during the dry period reflects the number of animals that have improved their cell count from >100,000 cells/ml to <100,000 cells/ml while they were not milked. Average cure rates at farm level tend to be about 56%, but the best performing dairy farms can achieve figures of 75% or more, with some even reaching 100%!
If the cure rate during the dry period is too low, there may be factors that  prevent the mastitis infections from being treated effectively. These could include: is the mastitis infection sensitive to the antibiotic dry cow treatment being used? Is an appropriate dry cow management regime being used? Are there too many cows with chronic or incurable mastitis kept in the same building? Are the right management decisions being taken to reduce the risk of infection?
What experts say about the cure rate in the dry period
Cord Lilie, dairy farmer from Stemwede (Nordrhein-Westfalen) , comments: "The cure rate for the dry period is evaluated in our operation every four weeks after milk recording. The result gives us information on the quality of drying off with respect to the following: 1, Does our choice of antibiotic treatment at drying off match our site-specific spectrum of mastitis pathogens? 2, Is our housing and feeding system for the dry cows well designed so that the immune system of the cow can work optimally? In good conditions, we achieve a cure rate of 60%, and we always want to achieve at least 50%; if we don’t reach that figure, we check the above points."

Alois Rehrl, milk production adviser at Landeskuratorium der Erzeugerringe für tierische Veredelung in Bayern e.V. (LKV Bayern), says: "The cure rate figure gives me an overview of how well our strategies for reducing cell counts are working in practice. Permanently low cell counts in your cows can be difficult to achieve. And where there are high values, these require the use of an individually tailored antibiotic treatment regime along with optimal dry cow management."

Dr. Friederike Reinecke, a local government vet specializing in udder health in the town of Giessen, says : "The self-healing rate of mastitis infections during the dry period is between 20 and 50%. Calculating and monitoring the cure rate can help inform whether it is possible to optimize these values at farm level by adapting the dry cow management."

Organized by the DLG (German Agricultural Society), EuroTier 2016 takes place at Hanover’s Exhibition Grounds from 15th to 18th November. The "Healthy udders throughout the year" special feature can be found in Hall 12 at stand F25. It will feature an area of more than 580 square meters dedicated to practical solutions and recommendations for improving udder health.
*-Calculating the cure rate achieved during the dry period
Cure rate (%) = a/b x 100
a = number of cows with cell counts of >100,000 cells/ml that were treated when they were dried off and then had a cell count of <100,000 cells/ml at their first milk recording after calving.
b = total number of dry cows with cell counts of >100,000 cells/ml.
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Friedrich W. Rach

Press Officer Agriculture and Exhibitions

Malene Conlong

International media and communications manager