Source: Hoard’s Dairyman 

As dairy farming advances in genetics, nutrition, and management, the task of drying off high-producing cows has become increasingly complex. High milk production complicates the traditional abrupt cessation of milking, raising the risk of mastitis due to delayed udder involution, slower protective factor concentrations, and greater susceptibility to bacterial growth. Challenges specific to high-producing cows include increased milk leakage, delayed formation of protective keratin plugs in the teat, and excessive udder pressure leading to discomfort and stress.

To mitigate these risks, farmers can implement strategies to reduce milk yield prior to drying off. These include switching to a high-fiber, lower energy diet that limits intake and reduces milk production by 40% to 60%, or altering milking frequency, which can also decrease milk yield by up to 40%. Alternatively, extending lactation to allow milk production to decrease naturally may be beneficial, though it requires careful management to ensure a sufficiently long dry period for udder recovery.

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