As I first began in my veterinary follow within the early Nineteen Eighties, dry cow administration was primarily “administration by neglect,” as we didn’t see the non-lactating cow as a big cog within the wheel of farm revenue. Emphasis was all the time on manipulate the lactating cow eating regimen to make extra milk effectively and economically.
Since that point, a lot analysis addressing dry cow feeding and administration has opened our eyes to the essential significance of the as soon as perceived “resting” interval simply previous to calving and ensuing lactation.
Corridor of Fame basketball coach and participant John Picket, additionally recognized for his witty statements, proclaimed: “Failing to organize is getting ready to fail.” This idea most definitely suits our present imaginative and prescient of the dry cow relative to the dairy cow’s manufacturing cycle. Ignoring the main points of dry cow feeding and administration will lead to a failed lactation irrespective of how a lot you manipulate and add particular dietary supplements to the lactating eating regimen.
Why is the dry cow eating regimen so vital? Though dietary necessities usually are not excessive in comparison with lactation in the course of the dry interval, right here outlined because the final 40-60 days of being pregnant, the power of the pregnant cow to devour enough vitamins to make the metabolic transition into lactation is essential. Research present cows experiencing a marked decline in dry matter consumption within the 2-3 weeks previous to calving are at higher threat for a spread of illness situations postpartum, reminiscent of ketosis, displaced abomasum, metritis and retained fetal membranes. Poor high quality forage, restricted feed availability, or administration points account for potential components imposing the decline in feed consumption. Administration points reminiscent of overcrowding dry cow pens, not addressing warmth stress, and grouping methods leading to frequent pen strikes or comingling heifers and mature cows are extra of a problem in affecting dry matter consumption than feed high quality.
The story of Goldilocks and the three bears is a widely known youngsters’s fable. The present method to serving to the dry cow meet her power wants takes its identify from this fable, the Goldilocks Weight loss plan. Analysis has proven dry cows consuming an excessive amount of power, particularly early within the dry interval, or too little power are at higher threat for a failed lactation in comparison with cows that devour the “excellent” quantity. Cows consuming an excessive amount of power within the early dry interval are extra susceptible to metabolic failures of ketosis and fatty liver. Too little power consumption ends in decrease milk manufacturing, physique situation loss, and reproductive failure.
Protein content material of the dry cow eating regimen has been considerably controversial because the outlined requirement suggests 12% could be greater than enough; nonetheless, heifers carry out higher consuming a better (14-15%) crude protein eating regimen. Analysis investigating greater dietary protein to mature dry cows has been blended in outcomes, although milk yield was the first goal in comparison with well being and reproductive efficiency. Cows wouldn’t have reserve physique protein and can mobilize muscle and blood proteins to scavenge wanted amino acids to help fetal growth or milk manufacturing ought to the dietary consumption be insufficient. Extreme protein mobilization in late being pregnant or early lactation ends in low milk protein, higher illness dangers and poor copy. Since further dietary protein can’t be saved within the physique for later use, the dry cow needs to be correctly formulated to ship the essential quantity of protein to the best variety of cows within the group, thus one should formulate protein consumption based mostly on noticed variation in dry matter consumption throughout the group.
The only most important concern of the dry cow eating regimen is getting ready to make sure steady calcium homeostasis following calving. Hypocalcemia, higher often called milk fever, is taken into account a big “gateway” illness of the postpartum interval predisposing the cow to many different illness occasions. Scientific (down milk fever cow) and subclinical (droopy contemporary cow) hypocalcemia are metabolic considerations instantly following calving. The presence of hypocalcemia is bigger in older cows and straight related to dry cow eating regimen mineral content material. The only most vital mineral concern within the dry cow eating regimen is the potassium content material of the forages. You wish to choose a forage as little as potential (ideally lower than 1.2%) to make use of as the first forage of the dry cow eating regimen. Subsequent complement magnesium to a minimal of 0.35% as much as 0.4% dry matter. Make sure the magnesium supply is one that’s out there. Most up-to-date analysis has not prompt calcium concentrations are an enormous participant right here, though that’s what most of us had been taught. I fear extra about greater phosphorus intakes (higher than 0.4% dry matter). In case your veterinarian is anxious about calcium points, take into account the usage of an anionic program. This entails including a complement excessive in chloride to “acidify” the cow serving to her to raised keep calcium homeostasis. Ask your nutritionist in regards to the choices.
Lastly, the little objects have to be thought of, hint minerals and nutritional vitamins. These important vitamins are all vital in supporting the immune response and defending the cow and its creating calf from metabolic oxidative harm by selling a greater antioxidant standing. Nutritional vitamins A and E have been proven to attenuate retained fetal membranes and mastitis. You wish to make sure the dry cow is consuming enough hint minerals which can be out there to the cow and nutritional vitamins to help her immune response. Including natural mineral sources at 20-50% of the formulated requirement based mostly on inorganic sources could additional increase the cow’s immune response.
As might be seen from this description of the dry cow eating regimen’s function on cow well being and efficiency, one can really recognize that correctly balancing the dry cow eating regimen is getting ready your cow for SUCCESS in her lactation quite than failure. In right this moment’s difficult dairy setting, we want extra of our cows to efficiently transition from being pregnant to lactation.
Dr. Robert Van Saun is a Penn State Extension veterinarian.
Dr. Robert Van Saun is a Penn State Extension veterinarian.