Dry Cow Care
The period of time from drying-off, through the dry period, pre-calving period, and calving, is a time of transition. The management, nutrition, and health practices implemented during the transition period mean the cow’s lactation cycle will have a major effect on her productivity, fertility, and health during the next lactation.
In a good Dairy Management Programme, Dry Cows must receive the same level of care as the milk producing cows. Whole books have been written on the subject, but a few key points are listed below:
- At drying off, good hygienic husbandry is required to prevent mastitis occurring.
- Forages containing a high fibre content should be fed in the diet to keep the rumen expanded and working.
- A zero Calcium, Dry Cow Mineral should be used (not the regular lactating mineral)
- Aim to maintain a condition score of 3 during the dry period.
- In the last two weeks before calving, the cow’s dry matter intake declines, therefore it is important to increase the ration density of the diet to ensure the cow’s nutrient intake is maintained.
- During the pre-calving period (2 – 3 weeks prior to calving), cows should be offered the same type of diet as the cows in the milking herd. This will allow the rumen bacteria to adapt to a full lactating diet after calving.
- Consider the use of DCAB (Dietary Cation – Anion Balance) products during the 2-3 weeks prior to calving, eg: Ammonium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride or Magnesium Sulphate
- Offering Lump Rock Salt will assist with DCAB, and promote optimum rumen function
- Consider dosing with Mono Propylene Glycol at calving time
Dry Cow care can be approached in many ways. We advise that you take independent nutritional advice before adopting any regime or product
Dairy Direct Dry Cow Care Products:
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