Cow's energy requirement increases greatly post calving. Herds with higher average dry matter intake (DMI) post-calving are best able to meet the increased nutrient demands for milk production of their fresh cows.
Here are the importance of good fresh cow dry matter intake:
Fresh cows with good DMI reach peak production earlier and they lose less weight post-calving.
Fresh cows with good DMI will peak earlier, with more milk being produced, as compared to cows with lower DMI.
For each kg of additional milk, it translates into 200 kg of milk produced over the course of the cow's lactation.
Cows with good DMI post-calving will also experience less negative energy balance (NEB), and therefore lose less weight post-calving.
Cows with good DMI will also begin cycling earlier and have higher quality follicles. This will improve reproductive performance.
Studies have shown that cows losing more than 1 body condition score (BCS) after calving will have conception rates of around 30% as compared to 50% (no change in BCS) and 61 % (cows gaining 1 BCS).
Many of the transition cows facing health disorders are due to depressed DMI.
If the fresh cow is not having sufficient nutrition, she will mobilise body fat in order to make up for the difference.
Excess fat mobilisation will lead to fatty liver disease and ketosis, damaging liver function.
Cows with fatty livers are also at risk of developing many post fresh health problems.
Cows with higher DMI post calving are able to meet more of their nutrient needs and mobilise less body fat.This will help to reduce risk of ketosis and fatty liver disease.
Lower DMI will also cause cows to have less rumen fill and can contribute to an increase in the number of cows having a displaced abomasum (DA).
Cows with higher DMI will have rumen that occupies more space and help keep the abomasum in the correct position.
There are many key management area to focus in order to improve DMI in fresh cows:
Dry cow and close up nutrition programs are critical in helping cows have a successful transition to lactation by controlling weight gain as well as preparing the cow for energy and mineral demands of the ensuing lactation.
It is also important to control overcrowding and ensure that the cows are comfortable.
Studies have also shown that feeding specific strains of yeast culture will increase DMI by 0.62.
The increase in DMI will help cows return to a positive energy balance quicker and reduce weight loss.
With a positive energy balance, cows will be healthier, produce more milk and have a better reproduction performance.
Hence, it is crucial to have good DMI in fresh cows for the health and productivity of your herd, which in turn will increase profitability of your farm.