Examining Fresh Cow Nutritional Needs
Understanding specific nutritional needs of fresh cows can give you the opportunity to increase the performance of the cow.
Here are some insights on how you should examine the diet differently:
1. Focus on the numbers that help manage the protein fractions in the ration.
Understand the rate and extent of protein digestibility of what is available instead of crude protein.
This will help to predict how much metabolizable protein will be supplied to the fresh cow, and hence, available for milk and milk protein production.
2. Understanding neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFd) and indigestible NDF or uNDF.
Forage samples should no longer be evaluated base on how much acid detergent fiber (ADF) and NDF they contain.
Make sure you are aware of the NDF digestibility at different time points and uNDF in order to make more accurate evaluation of the fiber's value in t he transition cow's diet as well as understanding the energy contribution of that feedstuff.
3. Understanding starch component
Starch as a % of dry matter (DM) has been an important figure in forage analysis.
However, it is important to understand how degradable that starch is and how quickly it will ferment in the rumen.
This is especially important for fresh cows as they have low dry matter intake.
They need a certain amount of starch and fiber to manage glucose demand and stay healthy.
4. Having the right balance of fatty acids
It is important for cows to have different types of fatty acid in their diet to help manage energy balance and milk fat production.
Studies have shown that Omega 3 fatty acids fed to fresh cows can increase milk production.