Fresh Cow Monitoring of Feed Efficiency

Feed efficiency is a very useful tool for dairy farmers who have fresh cow pen with daily milk yields, group feed intakes, as well as days in milk (DIM) recalculated daily as they allow the farmers to monitor dry matter intake after calving, comparison of heifer and mature cow fresh pens and finally, the success of the transition program.

Study shows a herd of 50 in California with the following FE for the groups below:

  • Heifer fresh cow herd with an average FE of 1.47 (the range is between 1.19 - 1.87)

  • Cow fresh cow herd with an average FE of 1.75 (the range is between 1.26 - 2.26)

A low FE could be a good thing if dry matter intake after calving is optimal or it could also be bad sign if FE is low after calving as milk production is low during early lactation. A high FE on the other hand can be a good sign as it shows that the cows are achieving high milk after calving or it could be a bad sign as the dry matter intake is low and there is excess weight loss which will lead to ketosis and fatty liver development. Table below shows dry matter intake guidelines by week after calving and parity.