This winter will be the first under the new use of antibiotics regime. This effectively means that the blanket use of antibiotics is no longer permitted.

Now, the above line is not necessarily true, because, in some situations, the vet may prescribe the use of antibiotics across an entire herd if it was deemed to have an infection or be under severe risk of contracting infection during the dry period.

However, for the vast majority of farmers, they will no longer be able to use an antibiotic dry cow tube on every cow at drying off.

Therefore, farmers and vets need data to determine which cows are suitable for teat sealer only and which need an antibiotic.

The best way of getting this data is to milk record. There has been a big increase in milk recording this season, but a sizeable proportion of farmers still aren’t recording.


The advice from Animal Health Ireland is to try to carry out a recording in the next few weeks, as one recording within four to six weeks of drying off provides good data.

Some farmers are considering manual sampling of cows, but this is not recommended because it’s not representative of each quarter.

Using a CMT test is another option, but, again, this is not recommended because a quarter could be negative on a CMT test, but still have a relatively high somatic cell count.

The best option is to try to book in a milk recording over the next few weeks. This will provide really good information about which cows can and can’t get a sealer only.

Recorders are busy, but if they get enough notice they should be able to fit everyone in. Electronic DIY meters are provided by the recording agency.

At least two people are required for milk recording, one carrying out the milking and the other taking samples and recording cow numbers.

Making sure that cows are easily identified will make the job much easier for all concerned.