By Kathleen Shore
More Profitable Cows with a 35 Day Dry Period?
Common practice on Canadian dairy farms is to dry off cows 60 days before calving, feed a far-off ration until 21 days pre-calving, and then switch cows to a close-up ration. Given that ruminants need at least 3 weeks to adjust to feed changes, this strategy can cause added stress to the rumen, increasing the chance of several metabolic disorders. Researchers have found that shortening the dry period to 35 days does not decrease production in the coming lactation, and milk is gained from the 25 extra days in lactation. When using the 35-day method, the far-off ration can be eliminated- this results in fewer incidences of metabolic disorders. (Santschi et al, 2011)
Transition period, a critical point in a cow’s life – she is experiencing ration changes, pen moves, giving birth to a calf, and starting lactation all within 6-8 short weeks.
Helping with a Smoother Transitions:
• Introduce ration changes slowly.
• Reduce the numberof pen moves.
• Consider moving all cows due to calve, within 7-10 days, to limit introductions of new cows into thegroup.
• Provide 30-36 inches( 75-90 cm ) of bunk space and 120 sq ft ( 11 m2 ) of pen space per cow.
Identify and Prevent Metabolic Disorders in your Cows:
Metabolic disorders are of great concern to dairy producers. Treatment costs can be high and loss of cows can occur. Prevention of these disorders occurs almost exclusively during the dry period, so creating a strong dry cow management plan is essential for generating healthy, high producing cows.
Proper Nutrition Feeds Production
New-Life Mills’ SuperTrans Dry Cow Ration has been specially formulated to meet the needs of dry cows preparing for lactation. This ration is formulated with optimal levels of selenium, vitamin E and B-vitamins to improve overall health. Quality energy sources and propylene glycol work to prevent sub-clinical ketosis. Contact your local New-Life Mills Dairy Nutrition Specialist to ask how this pelleted, highly palatable ration, can improve production on your farm.
To learn more about efficient dairy production contact a New-Life Mills Dairy Specialist