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|0608 EL: Understanding the transition period|
|El Lechero Dairy Basics - Herd Health|
|Written by Pedro Caramona|
|Friday, 31 October 2008 17:00|
The transition period is, without a doubt, the most stressful period for the dairy cow’s yearly cycle that needs special attention because it is key to the success, performance and longevity of the dairy operation.
Since 30% of dairy cows in a herd leave the dairy roughly 90 days post partum, proper nutrition, preventive management and timely diagnosis are important to reduce the incidence of metabolic disorders that negatively impact the success of the subsequent lactation:
Monitoring body condition in the dry period, encouraging feed intake, cow comfort and palatable high-quality diets at freshening may help sustain lower feed intake, supporting the high demand of nutrients for production in early lactation.
To maximize rumen function and reduce the incidence of acidosis, the rumen environment requires a gradual adaptation through the inclusion of a close-up ration in the nutrition program.
Milk fever occurs due to the challenge of maintaining blood calcium. Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction and is diverted to colostrum and milk at calving. Anionic salts are a strategy used in diets to promote calcium availability in the blood, reducing the incidence of down cows and retained placentas.
Monitoring BCS during transition, encouraging DMI in early lactation, focusing on proper mineral balance and promoting a strong immune system are key to reduce the risk of metabolic upsets in early lactation.
Using proven feed additives can help support feed efficiency and immune system response. EL