Effect of using an internal teat sealant at drying-off in cows wintered on forage crops in New Zealand on culling in the dry period and early lactation

2017-11-13T00:58:21Z (GMT) by AJ Bates B Saldias
<p><b>AIMS:</b> To determine the impact of treatment with internal teat sealant (ITS) compared to no treatment at drying-off on culling during the dry period and 90 days after calving, for cows wintered on forage crops.</p> <p><b>METHODS:</b> In four dairy herds in the South Island of New Zealand, cows with no history of clinical mastitis or somatic cell counts >100,000 cells/mL during the 2015–16 season were randomly assigned to treatment with ITS in each quarter (ITS group) or no treatment (Control group). Cows were otherwise treated similarly, wintered on forage crops and transferred to pasture for calving and lactation. Culling was defined as an unplanned exit from the herd, including cows sold for slaughter, cows slaughtered for salvage value and cows that died on farm. Culls and cull dates were recorded between drying-off and 90 days after calving.</p> <p><b>RESULTS:</b> Between drying-off and 90 days after calving 24/491 (4.9%) cows in the ITS group and 45/473 (9.5%) cows in the Control group were culled (RR=0.51; 95% CI=0.75–0.83), and between 30 days before calving and 90 days after calving 20/491 (4.1%) cows in the ITS group and 40/473 (8.5%) cows in the Control group were culled (RR=0.48; 95% CI=0.29–0.81). In the final multivariable logistic regression model, adjusting for dry-period length, cow age, breed and farm, the OR for culling in the study period was 0.43 (95% CI=0.23–0.81) for cows in the ITS compared with the Control group. For a Friesian/Jersey cow, aged 4–8 years, with a dry period of 30–80 days, dried-off without ITS, the probability of culling in the study period was 0.10 (95% CI=0.06–0.16), and for such a cow treated with ITS the probability was 0.05 (95% CI=0.03–0.08).</p> <p><b>CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE:</b> In these four herds, the use of ITS at drying-off reduced the incidence of culling between drying-off and 90 days after calving. The use of ITS at drying-off in cows prior to wintering on forage crops may provide additional benefit to farmers through reduced incidence of culling and should be considered in any cost–benefit analysis of its use.</p>