By Conor Ryan
As the year draws to a close it is a good time to take stock and plan for the year ahead. The next few months will be hectic for dairy farmers and the workload can get overwhelming if the correct structures are not in place. One of the principal building blocks of a successful calving period is the dry cow diet. It is hugely important we meet the dietary requirements of the dry cow and it is a good time to build condition. The spring calving cow should have a BCS of 3.0 at calving.
Dry cow silage should be fed and to ensure cows do not suffer from issues such as slow calving, retained placenta, ketosis and displaced abomasum it is paramount we get the mineral balance correct prior to the calving period. The use of pre-calver minerals prior to the calving will ensure the cows do not have any nutrient deficiency during this critical time. Its important to meet the correct criteria when choosing the minerals for your herd. Low-blood magnesium is the main issue when it comes to the calving period and our Acorn Pre-Calver Elite has 25% magnesium to reduce stress associated with milk fever post calving. It is important to have the correct amount of trace elements such as copper, zinc, selenium, manganese, iodine and cobalt with protected sources where required. The minerals should be fed at a rate of 100g/head/day minimum. The use of phosphorous is important to ensure good energy metabolism, milk production and fertility. Also feeding vitamins will further help with energy metabolism.