Dairy Cows and Body score over the Winter

With winter well and truly upon us this year. Many Farmers efforts and continuing milking have hit a wall and the tough decision to dry off has to be made. Those lucky enough to have some good silage are still managing to continue on milking by feeding high protein feeds.

With no quota issue likely next spring it is important that we hit the ground running to maximise milk yield as early as possible.

The key to a successful spring is of course getting through the calving season as safely and painlessly as possible to get the cows back into the parlour and making money.

Over the last few years many of our farmers have found that feeding in calf cows over the winter and maintaining them in good condition can pay back very quickly in the spring.

Body condition is vital if a cow is going to be in a position to mobilise body fat to:

  1. Produce a strong healthy calf that has a good balance of vitamins and minerals in their immune system to fight off infection.
  2. Be strong and in good health herself to reduce stressing on her body at calving.
  3. Get back in the parlour as quickly as possible and in good condition to produce good yields of milk.
  4. Be ready for breeding to ensure a nice compact calving pattern for next year.

With this in mind it is important to remember to watch body condition over the next few months especially when feeding silage that may not be as good as you have used in the past.

If silage is not up to scratch and cows body score start falling away, it will cost a lot of money in feed to stop this and then recover your lost body score.

It is far more economic to bridge the energy gap in her diet with modest amounts of concentrate feed regularly along with providing the unborn calf with a balanced source of minerals and vitamins.

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