At an online Dairylink programme webinar on Wednesday 6 January, Co Down farmer Stephen Wallace talked farmers through his dry cow routine.

After drying off on the Wallace farm, cows are offered baled silage, which was made from ground that received no slurry or potassium fertiliser.

This minimises the risk of metabolic disorders around calving time

Speaking on last week's webinar, Stephen said that he has had very few problems with milk fever so far this winter.

“I have had to put calcium into two cows. They weren’t down completely, but they were staggery.

"Other than that, it has been going pretty well,” he said.

Dry period

The aim with dry cows is for a six- to eight-week dry period, with cows calving down at a body condition score of 2.75 to 3.00.

“Cows are fed round baled silage ad-lib initially and then for the final four weeks of the dry period they receive 2kg of a dry cow nut,” said local nutritionist Lyle Hamilton.

“The eggs that the AI technician is trying to fertilise now were produced during the last month of the dry period.

"It is not just condition score that we are interested in during the dry period. It is a critical time for egg quality too,” he added.

Read more in this week's Irish Farmers Journal.

Dairylink winter feeding webinar.