November 14, 2019
Here are some ways to help improve early lactation performance as well as peak milk yield.
1) Make sure dry period is successful
Studies have shown that dry period nutrition affects the health and performance after birth.
Some of the key goals during dry period is:
Maintaining dry matter intake of around 30 pounds per day.
Make sure cows are comfortable.
Ensure hoof health is healthy
2) Optimize feed intake immediately after calving
Provide around 10 to 15 gallons of warm water with drinkable drench.
Allow the cows to have access to fresh total mixed ration.
Feed the cows at least 5 to 10 pounds of fresh alfalfa hay.
Ensure the feed bunks are clean at all times.
3) Make sure cows are comfortable
Use stocking rate of about 80%.
Keep the cows in a fresh cow group for 14 - 21 days.
Provide 30 - 36 inches of bunk space per cow.
Avoid having the cows separated from the normal herd mates.
4) Evaluate BCS
Target BCS is 3.0 - 3.25.
You should avoid having any cows with BCS greater than 4.
A lower BCS at calving will allow some safety margin to avoid overweight cows.
If the cow is overweight, there may be a higher risk of ketosis and fatty liver.
The reproductive health may also decrease.
5) Feed additives
It is recommended to feed additives to the herd.
Supplement protected fat to increase energy intake.
Yeast culture helps to stabilize rumen fermentation.
Rumen protected choline helps to improve liver health and function.
Ionophores increases glucose availability.