ISSN 2398-2993      

Feeding the dry cow

obovis
Contributor(s):

Alastair Macrae

James Breen

Royal Dick School Veterinary Studies logoUniversity of Nottingham logo

Synonym(s): Transition cows/heifers


Introduction

  • The dry period is frequently seen as a non-productive time for dairy cows, and thus these cows can often be ignored and mis-managed on farms.
  • However, the dry period should really be seen as an ideal opportunity for the cow to recuperate from the previous lactation and restore body resources.
  • In addition, the period in the run up to calving is critical to getting the cow properly prepared for the coming lactation to maximize milk production, reduce transition cow diseases such as LDAs, retained cleansings and metritis, and maintain fertility in the subsequent lactation.
  • Finally, the dry period is a critical period in mastitis control for many herds, with dry cows being particularly susceptible to new intra-mammary infections. As well as environment management, optimising immune function is an important element for reducing the risk of new infections.

Feeding the “far off” dry cow

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Feeding the “close up” transition dry cow

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Controlled energy or “high straw” dry cow ration systems

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Feed additives fed to “close up” transition dry cows

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Atkinson O (2016) Management of transition cows in dairy practice. In Practice 38, 229-240.
  • Grummer R R (2008) Nutritional and management strategies for the prevention of fatty liver in dairy cattle. Vet J 176 (1), 10-20 PubMed.
  • O'Boyle N (2008) Nutrition of the periparturient dairy cow. In Practice 30, 495-500.
  • Beever D E (2006) The impact of controlled nutrition during the dry period on dairy cow health, fertility and performance. Anim Repro Sci 96 (3-4), 212-226.

Other sources of information

  • Nordlund K (2009) The Five Key Factors in Transition Cow Management of Freestall Dairy Herds. Proceedings of the 46th Florida Dairy Production Conference, Gainesville, April 28, 2009. pp 27-32. http://dairy.ifas.ufl.edu

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