Selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) with AMPI and Ekomilk

AMPI provides a special SDCT (Selective dry cow therapy) package which includes an accurate and fast on-farm Ekomilk somatic cell counter at $0.04 per test and a Cloud-based decision module for drying off and tele-vet module for vet advice on distance (remote diagnosis).

This SDCT package is the result of several years of research and field tests with major partners from the dairy industry (veterinaries, pharmaceuticals, udder hygiene, milk recording organisations or MROs, genomics and genetic selection organisations etc). This special SDCT package of course includes the new Ekomilk Horizon somatic cell counter at $0.04 per test with high accuracy and the optional auto-sampler.

Rear view of dirty dairy cow udder for selective dry cow therapy with AMPI and Ekomilkk

Introduction to selective dry cow therapy (SDCT).

Selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) is the newer dry cow therapy following the traditional “blanket dry cow therapy” (BDCT). In the case of blanket dry cow therapy, every quarter (teat) of the udder is treated with antibiotics at drying off. As a reminder, “drying off” means that the daily milking routine of the lactation period is stopped; this is the start of the “dry cow period”. The dry cow period lasts till calving (parturition).

The idea behind blanket dry cow therapy (BDCT), practised for many years, was to cure clinical and even subclinical mastitis cases while also preventing new mastitis infections during the dry-off.

Drying off properly.

One of the challenges with the dry period is to manage the transition for the cow properly: if high yield milking is suddenly stopped, pressure in the udder builds up in the absence of regular milking. Instead the milking can be reduced gradually, less abruptly. As a reminder, in several countries, the minimum required daily milk yield for being profitable is around 25l per day, on average; of course we also have to take into account the typical lactation curve. Such high yield has to be reduced gradually for udder pressure control.

This control of udder pressure is relevant for mastitis control: usually mastitis infections occur when bacteria enter the teat canal. With udder pressure increasing, milk leaking can occur and this in turn means that the teat canal is not sealed against bacteria.

Adapting the cow’s nutrition is one of the ways to gradually reduce milk production.

Selective dry cow therapy (SDCT)

In the case of selective dry cow therapy (SDCT), a cow is only treated if certain udder health conditions are (not) fulfilled. Sometimes even udder quarters are distinguished in which case antibiotics treatments can even be more localized with a greater reduction of antibiotics use.

Selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) is now a legal obligation in several developed countries. For voluntary SDCT, the mindset of vets and farmers has to change, as several studies point out, for instance these by Prof Scherpenzeel:

One of the ideas of SDCT is to reduce the dependence of the dairy sector on antibiotics (antimicrobials).

Criteria for selective dry cow therapy (SDCT)

As Dr Supre from Flanders Milk Control Centre, Belgium, suggested, the following 3 criteria could be used for effective SDCT (compared to BDCT):

  • no clinical mastitis in that lactation,
  • daily milk yield had to be below 15kg and
  • the SCC for the three days prior to drying off had to be less than 100 000 cells/ml for heifers or below 150 000 cells/ml for cows.

Actually, as I heard from vets in other countries and as Dr Supre also mentioned, another study on SDCT showed that 300 000 cells/ml and 250 000 cells/ml are often adequate thresholds (cut-offs).

While earlier studies showed that SDCT is not as effective as BDCT, this is not true anymore in more recent studies. If properly managed with reliable tools and protocols, then SDCT can be at least as successful as BDCT. Administering antibiotics to low cell count cows at dry off would even entail other risks.

More details can be found on:


AMPI special SDCT package

AMPI and Ekomilk special package for selective dry cow therapy SDCT

In the AMPI special SDCT package are included:

  • Ekomilk Horizon, the automated, accurate somatic cell counter for milk at $0.04/test with optional auto-sampler and sample feeder and optional measurement of fat, proteins, solids. Via AMPI a special discount price applies to Ekomilk instruments:
  • Cloud-based herd management software with tele-vet (remote diagnosis) module for deciding on how to dry-off each animal (usually dairy cows) with optional native Android app and with optional external database integration service with customised decision algorithms for your protected private usergroup.
    • Default decision algorithm, configurable by the user:
      • Clinical mastitis history of last 10 months
      • Choose your SCC (somatic cell count) threshold:
        • per udder quarter or composite
        • from 90 000 to 800 000 cells/ml
        • last milk yield
    • This default algorithm can be customised an extended with your preferred data, for instance:
      • bacteriology results
      • on-farm culturing (OFC) results
      • import from external databases
      • other
      • our IT team is at your disposal
  • Optional vet advice on distance over Skype, phone or email. Famous vet teams from several countries around the world are collaborating with us for instance the M-Team from Ugent in Belgium. Please contact us for details.


Available from Q1 2017. Please contact us for more details.


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