AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE Monday, March 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India

Guidelines for drying off pregnant cows
Soshil Rattan
he raising of milk can be achieved by ensuring a calf a year from each cow. A cow is made pregnant between 60 and 90 days post-calving. The pregnant cow carries the double burden of producing large quantities of milk and carrying her next calf.

  • Length of the dry period
  • Methods of drying off
  • Stop milking method
  • Intermittent or incomplete milking
  • Care of the dry cow

Asia’s useful trees and plants
K.L. Noatay
haman is a moderate-sized broadleaved and semi-deciduous tree. Its scientific name is Grewia oppositifolia. The family is Teliaceae. Other regional names of the species are birl, bhimal, behal, etc. Its natural habitat starts in low hills at about 500 m extending up to nearly 2000 m above mean sea level. 

Farm operations for March




Guidelines for drying off pregnant cows
Soshil Rattan

The raising of milk can be achieved by ensuring a calf a year from each cow. A cow is made pregnant between 60 and 90 days post-calving. The pregnant cow carries the double burden of producing large quantities of milk and carrying her next calf. It becomes imperative to give her rest by ceasing to milk her in the last months of pregnancy. This period during which the pregnant cow is not milked is called the "dry period".

During the past few weeks before birth, the growth of the unborn calf is greatest with evident heaviest demands on the cow. More nutrients are secreted in the milk than which can be absorbed from the daily intake of food in the first few months of lactation. Dry period is, thus, the optimum period when rest can be given to the milk secretory organs and the nutrients in the feed and fodder can be utilised for much-needed weight gain of the cow and proper development of the foetus instead of milk production. This is the period to clear up chronic ailments, allow the cow to build up a reserve of body flesh before calving and replenish in her body the depleted stores of minerals. When the active production of milk ceases, the alveoli and smaller ductlets in the udder involutes, but as the calving approaches, their proliferation occurs in the preparation for the start of next lactation. The secretory tissue if damaged in the previous lactation has every chance of being repaired at this stage. The resumption of reduced milk yield in previous lactation after a spell of dry period and calving is usually possible, provided bacterial invasion is not there in the udder.

Length of the dry period

The length of dry period is determined by the milk production and fleshiness of the cows to be dried. In high milk yielder, the nutrients are seriously depleted and as such longer dry period is required to replenish the losses of nutrients and to store adequate reserve for the next lactation. The cow should have sufficient flesh at the time of calving. To make the thin drying cow more fleshy, longer dry period is required. It becomes clear that cows yielding less milk and are fleshy, require less dry period, while high yielder and thin cows need longer period. On the perusal of the above facts and the age-old observations of dairy men, 30 to 40 days’ dry period for fleshy and low yielder and 60 to 70 days’ dry period for high yielder thin cows is suggested.

Methods of drying off

It is reasonable to assess as to which method for drying off is safer and convenient. There are two known methods for drying off the cows which do not naturally cease to produce milk.

These methods are:

1. Stop milking

2. Intermittent or incomplete milking.

Stop milking method

This is the instant method of drying off the cows yielding moderate quantity of milk. Milk is discontinued abruptly. Udder fills to create pressure enough to stop further secretion inside the udder. The milk is gradually reabsorbed from the mammary gland to render it completely dried up. Milking at this stage will release pressure and then drying up may become a problem. The dairy owners do not elect to take up this practice because in dairy herds where mastitis is common, the incidence of infection during the dry period is higher. The stop method may cause severe swelling and encourage the development of mastitis in cows yielding more than 10 kg of milk. As such it is advisable to restrict the diet at drying off manoeuvres.

Intermittent or incomplete milking

All cows cannot be successfully dried up by simply stopping milking. High yielder are best dried off by withholding ingredient of feed concentrates which were found suitable for increased milk from the daily ration until production has been substantially reduced. Then the milking can be reduced to once a day or every other day and by gradually increasing the interval. Finally milking will be stopped altogether. The milk is gradually reabsorbed as lactation ceases. Heavy thick milk at this stage is no cause for worry. Since the infection of the udder in the dry period is more detrimental, the udder must be checked every day. In case of any painful swelling on udder, antibiotic and other supportive treatment must be provided immediately.

Care of the dry cow

From their age-old experiences, the dairymen claim that the cow’s next production record is determined by her care in the dry period. Many new infections can crop up during this period due to flare-ups of infections not apparent during lactation and which were taken care by the bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal properties of the milk. Dipping of teats on several occasions during drying off, in glycerin-iodine preparations helps in reducing the chances of infections. The intramammary infusions in all the four teats after the concluding milking can effectively seal the quarters to check further bacterial invasions of the udder.

Good feeding, keeping free from parasites, guarding against injuries, moderate exercise, access to good pasture and daily vigil of udder (for injury or swelling) are the management practices deserve attention during dry period by dairymen.



Asia’s useful trees and plants
K.L. Noatay

Dhaman is a moderate-sized broadleaved and semi-deciduous tree. Its scientific name is Grewia oppositifolia. The family is Teliaceae. Other regional names of the species are birl, bhimal, behal, etc. Its natural habitat starts in low hills at about 500 m extending up to nearly 2000 m above mean sea level. Its common associate trees are sal, sain, khair, jamun, toon, mallotus, chir, etc. Geographical habitat starts from Burma hills, progressing eastward through north-eastern India hill states, Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal, Himachal Pradesh, etc to Afghanistan in the West. Another species of the same genius, named Grewia elastica, has similar characteristics and utilities and occurs in the same habitat.

Dhaman leaves are broad, opposite, ovate, lanceolate, acuminate, generally obtuse, occasionally acuminate or rounded also having three to six nerves. It measures 7 to 15 cm in length and 4 to 7 cm in width. The veins are straight but cross and transverse. New buds start appearing during spring and keep arising till early summer. Whereas the species tends to sheds its old leaves during autumn, the species is seldom completely leafless. In fact the foliage being highly prized as lactaceous feed for the milch cattle, the cattle owning farmers never allow the leaves of this tree to fall naturally. Instead they lop the tree slowly and steadily; a little every day for collecting compulsory nutritious feed for mixing with other dry animal feeds like wheat chaff for feeding their lactic animals.

Dhaman flowers during April-May. The white influorescene appears on umbellate cymes opposite the leaves. These can be even axiliary and/or terminal sometimes. The buds are cylindrical pilose. The sepals are 2 to 3 cm long, each having three ribs, red and smooth inside. The petals too are linear in shape — though slightly shorter than the sepals.

The fruits of dhaman, 1 to 4 lobed, fleshy drupe, dark green when raw and pinkish dark when ripe with scattered stiff white hair. It is globose, 5 to 10 mm in diameter. The ripe dhaman fruit is mucilageous, acrid and yet sweet. These are as such eaten by cowherds, schoolchildren, birds, etc.

The bark of young dhaman shoots is greyish white. The sheep and goats gnaw it greedily. The milch cattle, however, do not skin the twigs completely and their fibre is obtained by soaking them (twigs left uneaten by the feeding cattle) in stagnant pools of water in streams for a forthnight or so. The fibre obtained thus makes excellent ropes required for several domestic rural uses.

Dhaman tree grows up at a moderate pace. If lopped scientifically, leaving one third of the canopy always intact, the tree attains a size of 10 to 15 metre height and 60 cm to 80 cm in girth in about 40 to 60 years, when it is supposed to be mature.

The wood of dhaman, off-white in colour, fairly hard grained and elastic in structure, weighs nearly 20 to 24 kg per cubic foot and is mainly used for handles of tools like axes, picaxes, showels, etc. Here, an important point worth noting is that dhaman tree being valued so highly for its foliage that it is seldom cut or felled for its wood. It is in fact cut only when dried up naturally on attains maturity in full measure. The sound wood of dry dhaman is used for agricultural implements and the rest is used as firewood.

So far regeneration of dhaman is concerned, it regenerates itself profusely on the butts and bunds of terraced agriculture fields from root suckers as well as the seeds reaching the soil through the excreta of birds and animals like monkeys, etc and domestic cattle feeding upon the ripe fruit. The seedlings stock can also be raised in polythene bags. For that purpose the seed can be selected out of ripe fruit during September-October and sown during April-May. Transplanting of the nursery stock so raised is best done during monsoons.



Farm operations for March


If the seeds of summer annuals have not been sown in the nursery, the same may be sown at the earliest.

Winter season flowering annuals should be selected for seed collection. Plants should be carefully examined. The less perfect in bloom/colour should be eradicated.

Some of the winter season flowers which are still in good conditions should be given proper irrigation to prolong their flowering time, their faded flowers should also be removed simultaneously.


Suckers of chrysanthemum which were planted in the raised beds in January or February can now be transplanted on 10 cm pots (that of large flowered varieties). A few suckers of the same type can be planted in beds for getting cuttings in July. The developed suckers of small flowered varieties may be transplanted in the well-manured beds.

Permanent plants:

During this month, all types of permanent ornamental plants, including trees, shrubs and creepers can be planted. For their proper growth and development, proper size and properly filled up tree pits should be prepared. The selected saplings should be healthy and disease-free. The size of full-grown plants should be kept in mind while planning and planting of permanent trees, shrubs and creepers, their plant-to-plant distance should be adjusted accordingly. Hedges which are grown from seed can also be sown now.


The lawns can be developed in this month. The grass roots/suckers of some selected varieties e.g. "Calcutta" grass or "Korean" grass can be dibbled in the well-prepared soil. After dibbling the grass roots/suckers, it is advisable to press the area with some roller. In the initial stages (and if possible thereafter also) irrigation of the lawns through sprinklers is the best.

Pot plants:

This is the best time for the propagation and manuring of shade loving and other pot plants like dracaena, pedilanthus, alocasia, chlorophythum, ferns, rhoeo discolour, sansevieria, etc. The plants which had been growing in a particular pot for more than 3 to 4 years should be taken out from the pot, if required, divided/multiplied into two or more than two parts of the each (depending upon their present size and health) and then replanted in pots by using fresh and rich pot mixture.

Bulbous plants:

If the summer flowering bulbs could not be planted so far, the same can be planted now in the well-prepared soil or in the pots.


To have healthy and good sized flowers from roses, their irrigation should be quite timely as with the onset of summer season, they require more frequent watering. Other cultural practices should also be carried out regularly, only then we can prolong the flowering of roses.

Animal health


Make sure that all the animals are vaccinated against FMD, if still not, immediately keep their record and repeat after six month.

Regularly deworm the calves with piperazine liquids (4 ml/kg body weight) first at 10 days of age then 15 days and then monthly up to three months of age and then three monthly up to one year of age.

Get your animals examined after three months, six months and nine months of mating/artificial insemination for routine pregnancy check-up and foetus welfare.

Do not feed green sprouted, rotten or soiled potatoes to dairy animals. These can cause serious and fatal poisoning.


This is the best time to raise the broiler chicks. Purchase the chicks from a reliable source.

Clean and disinfect the sheds properly before the arrival of chicks. Maintain the 95° F temperature under brooder on first week and reduce it 5° every week.

Make the arrangement to save the birds from cold. Cover the shed with polythene sheets from both sides. Put a 2-3 inch layer of thatch or sarkanda on the roof.

Do not store the compound feed more than 15 days. Do not use infected grains for feed formation.

— Progressive Farming, PAU