Cow's energy needs increase tremendously post-calving. Cows with high average dry matter intake (DMI) post-calving will be able to meet the increased nutrient demands for milk production.
Here are some benefits of having fresh cows with good DMI:
Fresh cows wit good DMI will reach peak production earlier and lose less weight post-calving.
High producing cows that reach peak production earlier will produce more milk over their entire lactation period.
Each additional kilogram of milk translates into 200 kilogram 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 will lose less weight post-calving.
Studies have also shown that cows losing more than one body score condition (BCS) after calving to first breeding will on average have conception rates of 38% as compared to 50% (no change in BCS) and 61% (cows gaining 1 BCS).
Cows with good DMI will begin cycling earlier and have higher quality follicles which improves reproductive performance.
If a fresh cow is not meeting her nutrient demands, she will mobilise body fat to make up for the difference.
As DMI decreases, the more fat she must mobilise, leading to fatty liver disease and ketosis, affecting liver function.
Hence, cows with higher DMI post-calving will be able to meet more of their nutrient needs and mobilise less fat, reducing risk of ketosis and fatty liver disease.
Lower DMI will also cause cows to have less rumen fill which will contribute to an increase in the number of cows having a displaced abomasum (DA). By having higher DMI, the rumen will occupy more space which keeps the abomasum in the correct position.
Ways to improve DMI in fresh cows:
Dry cow and close up nutrition programs are crucial to help cows have a successful transition to lactation by controlling weight gain and preparing cow for the energy and mineral demands of the ensuing lactation.
It is also important to make sure cows are sufficient space and they are comfortable.
Studies have also shown that DMI can be increased by 0.62 kg/head/day by feeding specific strains of yeast culture.
Increased DMI can also help cows return to positive energy balance and reduce weight loss.
With positive energy balance, cows will be healthier and produce more milk.