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     Dry Cow Yard 

    The dry cow yard is split into two; near dry cows and far dry cows

    We use selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) for cows on the main dairy. A SDCT program treats some cows at dry off with an antibiotic which can reduce antibiotic use and costs for dairy farms. All cows are treated with an internal teat sealant.

    Upon first indroduction only a few cows in the herd were treated with SDCT, but over a number of years SDCT has increased within the herd, reducing antibiotic use, due to the continued improvements in udder health across the herd.

    Far Off Dry Cows

    The far off dry cows are dried off from milking at 8 weeks pre calving. The group will always consist of up to 25 cows that are 4 to 8 weeks pre calving.

    During the months March to September the far dry cows live outside and are rotationally grazed on less ‘lush’ paddocks or are grazed on a ‘leader-follower’ system. This means that they follow the milking cows and graze off the less nutritional grass after the milking cows come out of the paddock, this system is used as the nutritional needs of these cows are not as great as the milking herd.

    Near Dry Cows

    The near dry cows are 3 week pre calving and are housed during this period. We need to carefully control their diet and feed intakes. This is the critical period that can have positive and negative effects on the lactation to follow. Both far and near cows get the same diet, the near dry cows have additional protected calcium top dressed onto their ration, to help prevent hypocalcaemia (milk fever) and retained foetal membranes (RFM).

    Calving Cows

    Calving cows are checked throughout the day and we operate a rota for night checks. Once a cow is calving we move her into a clean calving box, if intervention is needed this is a safe place for both the herdsperson and the animal. Once a calf is born the dam gets a fresh cow drink, which is a warm drink of around 30 litres with a sachet of electrolytes that provides energy, vitamins and calcium. If the cow is in her 3rd or above lactation she will receive a calcium bolus as well. The calf is given at least 4 litres of warm pasteurised colostrum, that has been quality tested and frozen in special bags for storage, the calf is also tagged and the navel is dipped with iodine. The calf is then moved to the calf unit and the cow joins the fresh milking group with ad-lib access to fresh cow Total mixed ration (TMR) diet.

    The dairy unit also has access to a mobile milking machine that can be used to milk any cow in a pen should we need immediate colostrum or feel that the cow needs time to recover post calving before entering the milking parlour.

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