Discussion created on 02/11/2010

feeding alternative for dry cows

Forum: Dry cow feeding

What is the best feeding alternative for dry cows? What we can do in transition period to prevent acidosis, ketosis and fatty liver syndrome of milking cows in early lactation period?

Yusuf Ziya Cakir
Veterinary Doctor
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Jalil Ghassemi Nejad Jalil Ghassemi Nejad
Ph.D. (Doctorate degree)
February 12, 2010
This is a good topic. Please everyone who has new information about this topic, let us know
Mark J. Schokking Mark J. Schokking
Associate Diploma in Agriculture (AG.BUS)
February 13, 2010

This is a great topic, and in my opinion offers the greatest potential for return in a given lactation.
I believe the best dry cow diet is the lo energy diet. This typically consists of corn silage and straw. The reason(s) I would offer is that this diet offers the best in terms of dietary consistency and control for the dry cows.
These forage feedstuffs are low in Ca and K, and so the nutritionist can control what level these nutrients are fed at. In diets where hay or haylage are fed, the mineral components can vary quite substantially.
How many of us has gone into a herd, tested the feedstuffs, balanced the diet and experienced good luck for a period of time. All of a sudden, the producer will experience milk fever or ketosis etc., for no apparent reason, while all that has happened is the producer entered a different section the hay/haylage supply.
Control of the diet with a low-energy approach ensures high intake and more consistent results.

February 13, 2010

Feeding the dairy cow in transition period (30 days prepartum) is a challenging and useful for postpartum period. Since the cow has to pass through various critical phases of labor pains during parturition, uterine involution, colostrum production for early nutrition of the calf, producing whole milk for the calf as well the owner, to come in heat (21 days) later parturition needs solid nutritional foundation in prepartum period. In our experiences, apart from the feed (concentrate as well fodder), cow needs extra energy to balance the energy pool. This energy pool can be bridged by supplementation of bypass fact @ 100 g/animal/day, yeast metabolites 55 g/animal/day. Second most important thing is to insure the animal with mineral supplementation for 24x7x365 days, this gives an extra edge for performance in terms of immunity, production, reproduction and as well economics.

February 13, 2010
In transition, especially considering several factors before birth is important for Discussion rations are:
1 - observe cation anion difference diets
2 - balanced food requirement
3 - Whereas the animals is our first generation or from the abdomen of the protein must be properly formulated
4 - Contrary to belief that the use of friendship in the straw, I do not accept this because we In this case the cow to encourage Ketosis
5 - In early lactation we should note that to prevent Acidosis 25 percent to 75 percent of the ndf ration of forage it document will provide
6 - recently scholars to use nutrition supplements fat (fat in the rumen protection) in this period have to note I also plan to do this year
7th - but said all the cases cows body score 3.5 to 3.75 in the period before birth in our Discussion ration during this period to help ensure hive ....
February 15, 2010
Thanks for your comments on my topic. As we all know that dry period feeding plays very important role in cows productive life and should be properly managed.
In early dry period we prefer high cellulose and low energy feeds and forage rather than high energy and protein concentrates to prevent high body condition score and overweight. Ideal BCS should be 3.5 in calving.But we must also prepare animal for lactation period in which we should give give concentrate contains high energy and protein in order to prevent body condition loss because of high milk yield. We identify 3-4 weeks prior to calving and 3-4 weeks after calving as transition period and this period is also one of the the most challenging topics for nutritionists.
In precalving period of the transition period we should prepare our cow’s Rumen for high energy and protein feeds to prevent acidosis after calving. In order to accomplish this goal we can increase concentrate feed 1-1.5 kg. in weekly basis till parturition. In calving time animal should consume at least half of it’s predicted daily consumption in early lactation period.
After calving we should provide our cow enough barn and feeding place to prevent competition between cows and we can feed them ad libitum with balanced TMR for lactating cows because in early lactating cows do not have the ability to consume too much feed. We can add [percent] 1 Sodium bicarbonate into concentrate to prevent acidosis.
Ketosis generally occurs because of the low energy consumption caused by acidosis or other postcalving problems. Cows which loss more than 0.5 BCS predispose for the ketosis. We can eliminate ketosis risk with good postcalving management and feding.
Fatty liver syndrome generally occurs in cows which are more than 4 BCS prior to calving. Because of faster BCS loss in these cows fat release from tissues is more than liver’s metabolisitation capasity so liver start to cumulate this fat in it and it reduce it’s activity.
We can reduce this risk to keep our animals less than BCS prior to calving.
I am looking forward to your further comments.
My Regards.
February 18, 2010

The management in Dry Period of a dairy cow is very very important as in the next lactation
1. Length of lactation
2.Reproductive effeciency &
3.lactation persistency
depends upon feeding programme during this period.
This is the reason we hear many dairy farmers complaining that the current lactation is not as good as the cow performed in previous lactation.
I agree with Mr yousaf. He has explained very nicely the management consideration during this critical period.
I just want to add that if it was my cow I will add the following practices also
1. formulation of feed will be in such a way to avoid slightest constipation
2. 100 gm fat daily in the diet will be included to help in building energy reserves for future requirement
3. 100 gm daily proper mineral mixture will be added in the diet to meet the mineral requirements of a pregnant cow. It will dramitically help in easing calving process
Extra cow comfort will be my primary target for such cow throughout this period as I believe I will get return of all my cares from this cow in her coming lactation

Raphael Chan Raphael Chan
Deputy General Manager
February 21, 2010
We should focus on two issues: (1) How to solve the metabolic problems related to hypocalcemia?- This can be effectively solved by using anionic salts in the close-up dry cow diets, adding products such as Soy-Cl, or using some additives can solve some of the palatability problem when feed anionic salts (2) How to control NEFA level to a lower level during transtition period, research have shown that high NEFA level in the blood is closely related to the metabolic problem especially fatty liver.- This can be controlled to a lower level by adding some additives in the diet.
It seems that lower Energy diet for dry cows have less metabolic problem. Adding fat in the dry cow ration should be very careful not to lead some metabolic problems of cows.
February 22, 2010

Dry Cow feeding

It is an important topic and dealt under Metabolic Disorders or Diseases. During my teaching I always give emphasis on Dry Cow Therapy or Managing Cow during Dry Period because management and feeding during will significantly affect the subsequent lactation and production. If proper care is not done the next lactation will be short with less milk production and animals will show longer calving interval and dry period.

If you really want to solve these problems (Ketosis, fatty liver syndrome, acidosis etc we should be very careful about the dry cow feeding. If you visit Hoards dairy Man website you will find good literature related to these problems with practical tips. The Ca and P feeding also affects the coming lactation. If you are feeding these two minerals in diet before calving along with forages containing high amount of these (alfalfa etc), than withdraw or reduce the amount of such forages in diet two weeks before calving so that natural mechanism in animal body could be stimulated to produce these two minerals in the body well in advance. It will prevent the Milk Fever.

In case of high yielding animals, just after calving feed intake depression occurs. Animal is producing high amount of milk but unable to meet requirements through common feeding due to the limited capacity of roman. If you will try to match the requirements through concentrates, it will cause acidosis. If animal is on silage feeding the situation will be more difficult due to the low silage pH. In this condition animal has only one way to coop this situation, she will mobilized body reserves to meet the nutrients demands for milk production. Therefore, high yielding animals lose weight during 1st 10 weeks and remain in Negative energy balance after that milk pressure decreases and animal starts gaining weight again and enters in positive energy balance. Therefore, development of body reserves during dry period is very important to harvest better lactation.
Keep check on animal body score.
Help animal in developing body reserves but not let her obese. The obesity causes the fatty L Synd.
The displacement of abomasum is another condition that needs to be avoided during this time.
But it must be noted that precise feeding plans can only be advised after examining farm data, situation and available resources.

February 25, 2010
The low energy diet during dry period will increase FI but cause deficiency in nutrients supply for faetus, maintenance and coming lactation.
Hilmar Gerhardt Hilmar Gerhardt
Animal Nutritionist
February 25, 2010
really a main topic in cow feeding. One aspect will be the change from late lactation to dry periode. At the same time the Ration changed,-the leave out the milking process and at least move in another cow group. I think it to much at the same time. My recommendations are to change the ratio one week before start in dry periode.The feed intake at the first days in dry periode will be higher and the stress down a little bit. The rumen fermentation is more balanced.
February 26, 2010

The answer to this question is yes. Milk yield generally has a negative impact on reproduction. However, management is also important, and can make a significant difference. Keeping cows healthy in transition is key. Consider using a product that supports health. See two publications in Professional animal Scientist :

Essi Evans, Ph.D.
Ruminant Products Specialist
JEFO Nutrition Inc.

March 2, 2010
Dear All

it is great expirance and learning from this topic. can you please advice should we used the propsed feeding till the calving time or do we need to change feed for close up period which more criticle for cow and its whole lacation depands on this period

Thank you every body
March 3, 2010
I think much has been discussed on this topic. To write a prescription for dry cows, we need lot of data (present physical condition, body score, previous performance and laction number and length). In the absance of data and physical investigation all would be like blinds and elephant. The suggestion given by diffetent experts will be only effective specific conditions under which they were used. It is not necessary that it will fit every where. For general guidelines lot of material is available in diffetrent books. But for its practical applicatiuon a solid knowledge of animal production background is needed.
Opinder Bawa Opinder Bawa
Marketing Manager
March 3, 2010

This is an excellent topic and an area of major concern for most of the dairy farmers how to fed cattle in this phase so that an optimum performance from them will be targeted after parturation and the animal should get back to their normal physiological functions.
The transition from late gestation to early lactation is regarded as one of the most challenging elements of the production cycle.
It is characterized by tremendous metabolic and endocrine adjustments that the cattle must experience from late gestation to early lactation.
Perhaps the most important physiological change occurring during this period is the decrease in dry matter intake around parturition and the sudden increase in nutrients that cattle need for milk production. As a result of these remarkable changes, most of the infectious diseases and metabolic disorders occur during this time.
Proper nutrition is essential to minimize calving difficulties and metabolic disorders while maximizing milk production, reproductive efficiency and diseases resistance.
Drenching cattle with water and nutrients may be beneficial during post parturient period. A larger water volume (10-15lt) replaces the volume and weight lost when the calf, the fluids and membranes are gone at calving plus rehydrates the cows.
Feed additives that can be added to the drench mixture are: calcium propionate, yeast culture, potassium chloride, magnesium sulfate, sodium chloride, organic source of trace minerals, sodium bicarbonate, biotin, niacin, vitamin A D3 E & B12
Supplying both additional energy and calcium during the post parturient period may be of benefit of cattle. Dietary glucogenic precursor can be used to improve the metabolic status of the transition cattle.

March 8, 2010
I do agree with Essi. but lactation is not only factor sffecting the treproduction. It is imbalance between nut. outflow and inflow. In early lactation up to 10 weeks animals remain in negative energy balance and do not come in heat but as soon as they enter in positive E Balance, heat cycle starts. This is true for high yielding animals but in case of local animals where yield is only 6-7 Kg if feeding during dry period is OK nothing will happen. But if DP feeding is poor there will be shorter lactation, metabolic disorders, longer calving interval due to late onset of reproductice cyce and longer DP.
March 9, 2010

Thanks to all your priceless comments on dry cow feeding which is one of the key period in dairy cows and it has wide range of impact on cows productive life with early lactation period.

June 12, 2010
Dry cows generally take less atttention than they deserve. As we all know that dry period is end of one lactation and start of the following and they need close inspection and special care to guarantee future production and longevity. In order to insure these profits we need good health barn and nutritional management, special feeding programs and soft transitions between three feeding programs ( dry off, close up and early lactation ).
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