A University of Wisconsin study shows that stage of lactation influences a cow’s response to a reduced dry period. The chart below shows that cows about to enter their second lactation don’t benefit as much from a 34-day dry period as cows entering their third or greater lactation. For instance, first-lactation cows given a 34-day dry period gave 5.7 pounds less fat-corrected milk during the first 100 days of their second lactation than first-lactation cows given a 55-day dry period. In contrast, older cows given a short-dry period saw no loss in milk production versus older cows given a 55-day dry period.


Second lactation

(34 vs. 55 days dry)

Third or GREATER LACTAtion

(34 vs. 55 days dry)

Fat-corrected milk
(first 100 days in milk)

- 5.7 pounds/cow/day

No loss in milk production

Days open

No difference

20 fewer days open