The dry period between lactations is an essential phase for the dairy cow’s next productive cycle. During this period, the recovery and renewal of mammary and milk-secreting tissues occurs, in addition to playing an important role in eliminating cases of subclinical mastitis in the herd. It is during this period that fetal development is maximum, the cow prepares for the moment of birth and the beginning of a new lactation period.
The cow must be dried between 60 and 45 days before the expected calving date. Classic methods, such as abrupt drying and gradual drying, promote stress, discomfort and potentially reduce the efficiency of the immune system, in addition to increasing the animals’ SCC, which can also impact the growth of calves in the womb.
“Ensuring the comfort and well-being of cows during the drying period is one of the biggest challenges for rural producers, especially in herds with high-production animals. Both the abrupt drying process and the gradual drying interfere with the well-being of the cows, in addition to facilitating the occurrence of mastitis, capable of persisting throughout the following lactation and causing important losses for the producer”, warns Marcos Malacco, veterinary manager of veterinary services for cattle from Ceva Saúde Animal.
Currently, the milk producer has a tool to assist during this process, a drying facilitator. The strategy, known as “Smart Drying”, which basically provides the animal with favorable conditions so that it can express its greatest genetic potential, optimizing current lactation, such as less stress, less handling, lower risk of new infections and increasing milk production in the next lactation. The measure promotes the reduction of milk production without having to restrict the cow’s diet or milking, factors that contribute to increasing the animal’s CSS and the level of stress due to batch changes and/or diet, being considered a good-friendly strategy -being animal.
“Cabergoline acts to inhibit the secretion of prolactin, which is the hormone responsible for stimulating milk production. In this way, production decreases progressively, without increasing intramammary pressure, greatly reducing milk leakage, preventing the opening of the teats and the entry of bacteria or other agents into the udder. Another factor that favors the animal is that this intelligent drying process increases the production of lactoferrin, a substance that contributes to reducing iron levels in the mammary gland and, consequently, bacterial multiplication. ,” Malacco explains.
Another advantage of intelligent drying is that cows can have their lactation extended, without interfering with their or their calf’s health and well-being. The application of Cabergoline at the time of the last milking of the lactation period, and the immediate transfer of the animal to the dry herd in a suitable location, away from milking stimuli, promptly acts to reduce milk production.
With intelligent solutions for herds of all sizes, Ceva has in its portfolio the Velactis®, the first and only Cabergoline-based drug intended for use in dairy herds. Application in a single dose, of 5 mL per cow, facilitates management and promotes well-being, enabling the cow to express its best productive potential in the next lactation.
“The adoption of intelligent drying by the farm also has benefits for animal management, as it is not necessary to make batch or diet changes. For cows, which are sociable and methodical animals, and who do not appreciate changes in their routine, this basic management maintenance is important because it also has a positive effect on their well-being. Furthermore, studies show that herds that undergo smart drying have around 20% fewer cases of clinical mastitis during the next production period. Also in a study conducted in Brazil, the use of Velactis® drying provided greater milk production in the following lactation, with an average of 1.89 L more milk per day. “, ends.
Smart drying is, without a doubt, the future of the national dairy production chain, with large-scale benefits for producers, focused on quality and optimization of management and, mainly, on animal well-being and health.