The modern dairy cow is genetically programmed to produce high levels of milk post calving, however her capacity to increase dietary intakes in line with production is a challenge facing many producers at this time. To ensure maximum performance, follow our step by step management guide below.
Key Areas to Monitor:
- Body Condition Scores (BCS): Are your cows holding their pre-calving BCS? If your cows are losing condition in the weeks post calving, it must be addressed promptly by seeking professional advice.
- Dung Consistency: Dung that appears firm indicates that the cow’s diet may be too low in protein and too high in fibre. A loose and thin consistency suggests excess protein/carbohydrates or low fibre, which may possibly lead to acidosis.
- Milk Fat to Protein Ratio: The ratio of fat:protein is an excellent indicator of cow health and feed efficiency. The ideal butterfat:protein ratio is circa 1.27:1. Where the ratio goes above 1.5:1, strict attention should be paid to cow health as there is a strong possibility of Ketosis in the affected animals. Where the ratio drops below 1.2:1, a possible link to Rumen Acidosis exists.
- Maximise dry matter intake (DMI) through a well-balanced diet formulation and continuous assessment of rations fed to cows.
- Ensure that there is a minimum of 600-800 mm feed space per cow, along with ample drinking points.
- Introduce concentrates slowly over a five to ten day period post calving. Adding concentrates too quickly in an attempt to provide energy is a recipe for Sub Acute Rumen Acidosis. Introducing a high quality rumen buffer such as Rumicare from Agritech will help counteract rumen and intestinal acidity and has the added benefit of providing much needed calcium, magnesium and sodium for the early lactating dairy cow.
- Continue to analyse you cow’s BCS on a regular basis. It is vitally important to maintain adequate BCS to ensure that the cow quickly returns to cyclicity in advance of the breeding season.
- Supplementation of post calving minerals is a much neglected area as many dairy farmers assume there are enough minerals in the purchased concentrate. However, unless there are very high levels being fed, this is rarely the case. The post calving diet needs to be carefully monitored to ensure that the cow receives adequate levels of macro and trace minerals at this important time.Take a look at our new 2019 Welmin Mineral Range brochure here, which features a number of products suitable to help you get the most from your freshly calved cow.
- Introduce grazed grass in to the diet. It is important to align the indoor ration to match up with the grazed grass level being fed in order to optimise cow performance and health.
For further advice, contact your local Agritech distributor.