6 stages overview

Days 131 – 230 (Settled period after mating for churning out milk solids)
Mid lactation

Pre-Calving 1 Post-Calving 2 Early Lactation 3 Mid Lactation 4 Late Lactation 5 Dry Cow 6

A settled period when mating is completed and you can really focus on churning out the milk solids. Maintain plenty of dry matter and use nutrient dense rations formulated to prevent rapid post peak decline.

During this period pasture quantity and quality tend to decline. Neutral detergent fibre (NDF) levels in pasture increase and the digestibility of the NDF decreases, which results in a lower nutrient density on offer to the cow. In order to reduce post peak decline, dry matter intake (DMI) and nutrient density per kilogram of dry matter (DM) must be maintained to meet milk solids production goals.

In simple terms, pasture quality must be maintained. Don’t be afraid of topping paddocks. In fact topping is recommended. The key to a successful topping strategy is to start early, particularly if you top pre-grazing. As dry spells invariably strike, leafy pasture will continue to provide good nutrient density and be much more capable of responding immediately to any rain as it eventuates. DMI will be aided if topping occurs in front of the herd as opposed to topping after.

WHAT YOUR COW NEEDS

The challenge with rapidly changing pasture composition is to stay ahead of the game. While most post peak decline is attributed to reduced DMI, failure to meet metabolisable protein (MP) requirements will further compound the issue. As pasture digestibility declines, it tends to be the rumen degradable fraction of protein that suffers most, meaning that our protein focus may well need to turn to feeding the bugs. Cows holding at around 2.0kg MS during mid lactation will have a MP requirement of ≥2,050 grams per day.

Continuing to provide fermentable carbohydrates over this period will support milk solids production and aid in reducing post peak decline. Also, under periods of heat stress a cow’s requirement for glucose increases. Delivering good levels of starch will support those requirements.

Good sources of macro minerals remain important specifically for bone remodelling and energy pathways. During this period the requirement for additional sodium and potassium increases as they support the maintenance of hydration. Trace mineral and vitamin requirements for immune function, cell viability, reduced oxidative stress as well as hoof integrity need to be met.

Delivering the best nutrient mix

A range of TopCow products such as TopCow® Dairy and TopCow® Seasonal support the carbohydrate and protein requirements of cows during this period. These products all help support a strong nutrient density in the total ration which will reduce post peak decline. The aim is the keep post peak decline at <7% month on month.

Usage rates

TopCow® Complete contains Rumensin® and minerals all designed to be fed at a 2 – 4kg/cow/day.

TopCow® EziMin 350 blend is designed to be used at 200 – 350 g/cow/day for cows producing up to 500 kg MS/annum.

TopCow® Maxum, TopCow® Dairy, TopCow® Boost and TopCow® Seasonal usage rates will vary according to forage availability, breed of cow, stage of lactation and milk solids production.

Please contact your Ingham  Dairy Nutrition Specialist to discuss your herd’s specific nutrient requirements.