Careful Planning During The Transition Period Will Lead To Improved Performance.

24th November 2022

Improving efficiency on dairy farms is the key message from Fane Valley Feeds this winter ensuring that every step of production on your farm is effective to withstand current market pressure from increased commodities.

Dr David Johnston, Ruminant Nutritionist with Fane Valley Feeds gives an overview of the transition period and getting fresh cows off to the best possible start to capitalise on the winter bonus payments.

Body condition score (BCS) is a vital indicator of both energy balance and dietary status. Cows are scored on a BCS basis of 1-5, with 1 being extremely thin, and 5 being over-fat. The ideal BCS is 2.5 during lactation, and 3.0 at drying off. This gives her sufficient tissue reserves to meet energy requirements post-partum. Cows should be scored 100 days pre-drying off and feeding adjusted depending on tissue reserves.

In the dry period, the energy density of the ration should be increased 4 weeks pre partum, as dry matter intakes drop and the energy demand increases as the cow comes closer to calving. This positive energy balance will help post calving, as the rumen bacteria will be accustomed to concentrate feeding allowing a smoother transition to concentrates offered in Parlour or TMR situations.

Rumen fill score is indicative of adequate fibre and feed intakes. This will greatly reduce the incidence of left displaced abomasum (LDA) once calved. In order to maintain rumen fill in the close up dry period, it is recommended to included 2-3kg of clean straw in the TMR.

The importance of a fibrous diet in the close up dry period, will in turn increase rumen capacity and help improve forage intakes post calving. This higher intake potential will aid in helping overcome negative energy balance in early lactation.

Fane Valley Feeds ‘Dry Cow Primer Range’ has been specifically formulated to compliment the 2022 silages, ensuring a smooth transition to lactation.

The benefits of feeding the Fane Valley Dry Cow Primer Nuts for 4 weeks Pre calving at a rate of 2kg/h/day

  • 24% crude protein – with high inclusion of soya providing elevated levels of bypass protein, helping regenerate udder cells pre calving.
  • Elite Mineral Spec – targeted levels of Vitamins E, A, D3, B12, minerals iodine, cobalt and chelated selenium, copper and zinc to assist in combatting oxidative stress an associated effects of inflammation. Oxidative stress pre & post partum results in more severe immunity problems, so supplementing diets with antioxidants peri-partuant is essential.
  • Actisaf –to maximize rumen function and fibre digestion.
  • Safmannan – supports the cow’s immune system and increases immunoglobulin concentration in colostrum.
  • Magnesium Chloride – anionic salts can help to achieve a ‘partial DCAB’ diet and reduce the incidence of both clinical and subclinical milk fever. This is crucial as 50% multiparous and 25% primiparous cows experience sub-clinical hypocalcaemia and as a consequence are at risk for metritis, displaced abomasum, retained placenta, mastitis and ketosis.

For more information on managing cows in late lactation or assistance with general nutrition queries, please contact Dr David Johnston on 07929 865118 or your local Fane Valley Feeds Sales Specialist.