Farmers that don’t record dry offs do not receive an accurate annual report for their herd or valid lactations for their animals that have paid for, according to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).

The average herd owner pays €15 per cow per year for milk recording, which the ICBF states, in a 100-cow herd equates to €1500.

It asks why pay €1500 for a service without getting the full benefits? The service is paid for but the ICBF has stated that the farmer misses out on the most valuable part of the service by not recording this simple date.

Dry offs must be recorded to ensure that a cow has a valid lactation, the ICBF advises.

According to the ICBF, a valid lactation is one that is closed (has dry off date) with over 150 days in milk or is still in milk and had a test on or after 305 days in the given year.

A valid lactation ensures that a cows lactation details will be printed on pedigree certificates, sales catalogues and the annual report.

Also, when a cow has a valid lactation her data is included in genetic evaluations, which increases the reliability of the cow and her relations, it states.

Valid lactations are currently used by the Department of Agriculture when calculating evaluations for disease eradication schemes.

Recording dry offs

Dry offs can be recorded several ways, according to the ICBF:

  • ICBF Website: Dry offs can be recorded for all herds at, herdowners need a username and password to login.
  • Dry Off Notification Sheets: You should receive these by post from your milk recording organisation. If you have not, you can request them by contacting your milk recording organization.
  • Farm Software: If you use a farm software provider ensure to record your dry offs ensure you send the file to ICBF on completion of recording.
  • Animal Events Recording Book: Dates can be recorded on the Animal Events Recording Book and sheets subsequently posted to Animal Events Agency, PO Box 72, Clonakilty, Freepost, Co.Cork
  • Mobile Phone Text: You can text your dry offs to the ICBF by sending them to the following: 089 4577663.
    E.g. Dry 127, 256, 785, 1165, 1952, 2514 25/11/2014