Dry Cow Management
All of Dan O Connor Feed’s are manufactured in our state of the Art Manufacturing Feed Mill to the highest quality standards set by UFAS.
This is an integral part of the Dairy Cow’s year as the decisions made regarding her nutrition and welfare during this period will have a large effect on her subsequent milk production and fertility. The following points should be noted in order to get the most trouble free production.
Late Lactation period
- Cows should be at a body condition score (BCS) of 2.75 to 3.25
- Cows below this BCS range should be fed more concentrate in late lactation as they utilise feed more efficiently than a dry cow.
- This period should be no less than 60 days and some cows may require longer, particularly the 1st count should get a longer dry period in order for their mammary glands to repair.
- The Dry period should be used to maintain the body condition of the cow at 2.75 to 3.25 rather than being used as a time to increase or decrease her body condition
- The diet of a dry cow should contain a minimum of 6UFL in energy terms which is what a typical cow requires to maintain her body condition but it is common that most Dry Cow diets contain too much energy, an example of a typical dry cow diet for a 600kg cow is ad-lib silage and the energy content of this is outlined below.
Ad-lib silage 70DMD is 12kgDM x .68UFL =8.16UFL
- This shows that this cow is getting 2UFLs of energy more than she requires which will cause her to lay down fat which may cause the following: difficult calving, Milk Fever, retained placenta.
- It is very important to know the quality of the silage which the Dry cows will be offered as this will allow the correct balancing of the diet in terms of Energy, Protein, Minerals and Trace Elements.
- In the final 4 weeks of the dry period the cow’s intake reduce significantly due to the increasing size of the calf but this is the where her energy demands are increasing and so the cow enters negative energy balance. The introduction of concentrates in the last 4 weeks minimises the negative energy gap and also helps prime the rumen for concentrate feeding post calving thus reducing digestive upsets post calving. Concentrate feeding is also an ideal way of getting pre-calver minerals into the cow in a consistent manner.
- Feeding EAZY CALVER from DOC FEEDS at 2kgs/day for the final 4 weeks pre-calving will ensure the cow gets all the minerals she requires while also increasing her energy intake.
Management Post Calving
- It is very important that the cow gets maximum intakes during this period in order to reduce the negative energy gap. Cows should be fed a consistent diet with a high energy density with the required fibre levels to reduce digestive upsets such as Ketosis or displaced Stomachs.
- The cow requires 6 UFLs of energy to maintain body condition but also require 2 UFLs for every gallon of milk produced, this means a 6 gallon cow needs 18 UFLs of energy