Greater focus earlier, pays dividends later
The dry period is well known to be the most important part of a lactation. But there are still many dry cows and close-up heifers faced with environmental stresses [link to blog] and compromised with leftover feed or even just the top of the silage pit.
Paying close attention before and during the dry cow period can pay dividends in the next lactation. More attention invested earlier can reduce stress, challenge, cost, and wasted time later.
The only occasions we want to see a cow during her lactation, is for milking and servicing, not to put something right. But this requires some extra care and attention towards the end of her last lactation and into the beginning of her next.
The 6-12-week prepartum stage is all about optimising body condition. Changes to body condition need to happen ideally 2-4 weeks before drying off to avoid causing stress [link to blog] and immunity pressures for both cow and calf closer to calving.
- Cows that are too fit (Above 3.0 BCS) have an increased risk of:
- Metabolic disease
- Subclinical SCC
- Mastitis infection
- Cows that are too thin (Below 2.5 BCS) have an increased risk of:
- Calving issues
- Colostrum quality compromise
- Reproductive challenge
The 1-3-week prepartum stage is all about a correct energy balance and a consistent environment. To get set up for a successful lactation – both in terms of milk yield and getting back in-calf quickly, the diet needs to be higher in fibre, lower in energy and balanced with minerals. Getting this right will also reduce the risk of milk fever and other metabolic diseases.
Keep their rumen full by providing constant access to progressively concentrated feed and clean water. Avoid moving close-up’s around wherever possible to avoid upsetting them.
All your hard work invested pre-calving should now make this stage much easier and productive. However, don’t take your eye off the ball just yet!
The 1-2-week period postpartum is high-pressure for your heifers and cows, which can commonly impact on their dry matter intakes. Ensuring cow comfort is essential in reducing stress [link to blog] and encouraging dry matter intakes.
For calving support, visit TIME4CALVING.
TRANSITION FEED MANAGEMENT MADE SIMPLE
When it comes to the transition feeding of dairy cows, it’s all about balance – balanced energy, balanced protein, balanced fibre, and balanced minerals.
Whilst there is no one silver bullet to transitioning smoothly, CARR’S BILLINGTON’S TRANSFORM DRY COW FEED is a simple and effective starting point.
|High fermentable energy and Amino-Max L protein to efficiently feed the rumen microbial population.||Maximises dry matter intake, promoting a positive energy balance at calving.|
|High starch to minimise glucose depletion at calving.||Reduces the risk of ketosis which can impact on yield and fertility.|
|Controlled calcium and phosphorus levels. High levels of magnesium, Vitamin D3 and anionic salts.||Optimises calcium mobilisation to reduce the risk of milk fever.|
|A unique package of vitamins and essential co-factors for the liver.||Reduces metabolic risk and increases milk yields.|
|Safmannan, zinc and copper||Supports immune function when susceptibility to disease is higher.|
|Biotin||Optimises horn quality and strength to help reduce white line disease.|
|Selenium and selenium yeast||Improves immune function in the newborn calf.|
Available as nuts and rolls to be fed at a rate of 1-4 kg per cow per day, depending on forage quality and the stage of the dry period.
TAKE YOUR DRY COW PROGRAME TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Our VITAMIX powdered minerals are specially formulated for high performance dairy cows and heifers preparing for calving and lactation, helping to reduce the risk of milk fever and metabolic diseases in lactation.
NEWS & INSIGHTS
Time4Calving: A Guide On Dry Cow Nutrition
The feed and nutrition given to dry cows has a vital impact on their upcoming lactation and chance of taking during the next service.
OUR DAIRY CONSULTANCY OFFERING
Our range of advisory services and tools are designed to provide our customers with Vital Insight into Growth, Optimisation and Reproduction (VIGOR):
- Forage analysis and forage budgeting
- Diet formulation using DietCheck™
- Herd Performance Review and Kingshay Dairy Costings
- Metabolic profiling in conjunction with your local vet
- Production profiling and lactation graphs
- Soil analysis and slurry analysis