As we approach calving 2021 the focus should be on final preparations that will result in a spring free from any upsets, nutritional issues or metabolic diseases during an already busy time on farm.
Several key factors will correlate directly to the success of calving 2021, including:
- A planned and well executed dry cow mineral programme
- Calving down the cow in the correct body condition score
- Excellent husbandry in the weeks pre- and post-calving
- Careful transition diet planning
It is always worth remembering at this time in the year, that key decisions made over the next number of weeks will have a direct effect on the performance of the herd, especially herd fertility – submission and conception rates, ultimately affecting the longevity of the cow within the herd.
Negative Energy Balance
In the weeks post-calving, cows will produce more milk than their feed intake can provide for, resulting in Body Condition Score (BCS) loss due to Negative Energy Balance. Research has shown NEB will firstly, reduce milk protein and if prolonged, have detrimental consequences on the breeding season.
The milking cow should receive an adequate diet to optimise milk solids production and keep body weight loss to less than 0.5 BCS between calving and breeding. Cows that lose < 0.5 BCS over this time (approx. 25 kg) typically ovulate 15 days earlier than those cows that lose 1 BCS during this period.
Dry matter intake typically increases by 0.75 – 1.0 kg/week for the first 8 weeks of lactation, therefore being 8 weeks post-calving before maximum intake is reached – highlighting the need for an energy-dense transition diet.
Every farm scenario is different, and tailored advice should be given where issues arise. However, early preparation and planning is vital to avoid added stresses on farm
On farm support during COVID-19
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