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Dry Period Length

The optimal dry period length between lactations in dairy cows has been debated for many years. Traditionally, an 8-week dry period was considered the ideal duration - balancing a rest period, allowing the udder and milk tissues to regenerate, with preparation for calving and milk production. This recommendation was established during the 1940s, and was backed up by retrospective analysis of milk yield data from farm records.

More recently, this body of work has been questioned, this issue looks at the implications of altering the length of dry period, and why it might be a suitable management tool on some farms.

Issued June 2018.

About Kingshay insight publications

insight publications replace the Farming Notes which have been produced by Kingshay since 1991, publishing on issues critical to the success of a modern dairy farm business. These briefings which now include dairy insight, business insight and research insight, provide dairy farmers, large animal vets, farm consultants and other interested parties with the most important and timely information in a concise two-page format. The information contained in our insight publications is written and updated by our experts to ensure accuracy and save you time.

A selection of insight publications and Farming Notes are available to buy individually from our online shop. To gain access to all our publications become a Kingshay member.

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