6 stages overview

Days 1 – 30 (Fresh cows)
Post-calving

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

Your cows are recovering from calving and settling into making milk. Give them plenty of dry matter and do all you can to maintain good body condition via balanced carbohydrate supply.

The first 30 days post-calving is when the cow is both recovering from the birth of a calf and kicking into milk production. Taking steps to ensure dry matter intake (DMI) is optimised to reduce body condition losses, stimulate rumen adaptation and drive milk solids production are key in driving a successful season. It is significantly more difficult to recover a season at the back end of lactation than it is when the cow is completely set up to produce milk at the beginning of the lactation.

Aim for a neutral detergent fibre (NDF) of ≤34% during the post-calving period, adding some long, physically effective fibre to the diet via hay or straw to reduce the risk of displaced abomasum and to stabilise rumen pH.

WHAT YOUR COW NEEDS

With the onset of lactation comes a significant increase in metabolisable protein (MP) requirements.

This is directly correlated to meeting the amino acid requirements of the mammary gland for the production of milk protein. MP is not likely to constrain milk production when pasture intake is not limited, however, cows held in slow rotational controls with increased levels of low protein supplements may benefit from additional MP. There may also be a response to increased MP supply if non fibre carbohydrate (NFC) concentration of the total ration exceeds 400g/kg DM. MP requirements for fresh cows will vary with breed, age, parity and production. A 500kg spring calving cow producing 2.0kg MS daily will have a MP requirement of around 1,900 grams.

As milk production increases quickly over this period, the requirement for carbohydrates increases. The digestion of NDF provides a good base level of energy via volatile fatty acids for average milk solid production. Providing a blend of carbohydrates in the form of sugars, rumen degradable starch (RDS) (propionate for glucose pre-cursors) and rumen escape starch (RES) (increased blood glucose) to manipulate rumen fermentation and provide metabolisable nutrients will substantially improve milk volume and protein yield while minimising that all-important body condition loss.

The requirement for macro minerals calcium, phosphate and magnesium are high at this time as milk production increases, particularly when cereal grains, maize silage and fodder beets are fed. It is also a critical time for micro minerals and vitamins for immune function, uterine recovery (which impacts on reproduction) and hoof horn integrity.

Delivering the best nutrient mix

Offering 3 – 6 kg TopCow® Maxum through this period offers the cow a strong source of RDS, RES, RUP, mineral buffers, macro and micro minerals – all dietary components that are essential in cow recovery and rapidly increasing milk solid production. As always, additions to the diet at this stage of lactation should be focused on minimising body condition loss.

Usage rates

TopCow® Fresh is designed to feed at 3 – 5 kg/cow/day.

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

TopCow® Maxum, TopCow® Dairy 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.