Feeding Spring Calving Cows in Early Lactation 2015

Supplementation in early lactation

1. Under Quota Herds
Maximise milk yield (economically)-Feed a 20% protein ration when indoors fulltime (24% if maize silage fed), reducing the protein level as grass enters the diet. For feeding rates, see figure 1.
Minimise body condition loss (less than 0.5 BCS between calving and the start of breeding)
2. Over Quota Herds
Reduced milk yield-Reduce the protein content of the ration to 14% or less and the level of concentrate supplementation by up to 2Kg compared to under quota herds (see figure 1). Reducing supplementary feeding levels significantly below this in early lactation is not advisable as it can result in too much body condition loss.
Minimise body condition loss (less than 0.5 BCS between calving and the start of breeding)
3. Over Quota Herds and Once-A-Day Milking
Reduced milk yield-As cows milked once-aday produce less milk, there is scope to further reduce concentrate supplementation by an additional 1Kg compared to over quota herds milked twice a day (see figure 1 below).
Minimise body condition loss (less than 0.5 BCS between calving and the start of breeding)
Supplementation Rates
Grazed grass is the most economical way to feed a cow. It is very important to bear in mind that grass intake will depend on availability and grazing conditions. Grass budgeting and good grassland management (on/off grazing in wet conditions etc.) will minimise the level of concentrate used while meeting the key nutritional targets above. When selecting a concentrate the most important factor is the energy level but protein level (and quality) and minerals are also important.
 
Notes on figure 1
Start concentrate supplementation at 3Kg and increase by 1Kg per day until you achieve your target level. Supplementation rates are based on an under quota herd peaking at 28L/6 gal (2.0Kg solids) and should be increased/decreased by 0.5 Kg per 2-2.5 litre (0.5 gal) peak yield increase/decrease.
Supplementation should be adjusted by 1 Kg for every 5 DMD increase/decrease in silage quality (base 70 DMD). If maize silage is fed circa 1Kg less concentrates can be fed.
Protein levels of supplements are based on grass and maize silage protein levels of 12% and 9% respectively and should be adjusted if silage protein levels differ from these.
Early Warning Sign of Underfeeding
 
Milk protein varies with genetic potential, breed and stage of lactation. Milk protein starts high after calving, reduces in early lactation (dilution effect of increased yield) and increases thereafter. Cow nutrition influences protein as follows:
If total energy intake is reduced at any stage during lactation milk protein drops, see graphic below. A major drop in protein % and/or low milk protein (below 3%) can be an early warning sign that cows are underfed (particularly if combined with reduced milk yield) and corrective action should be taken to avoid subsequent fertility issues as well as correcting milk protein %.
Additional dietary protein intake has little effect on milk protein concentration. The diet needs to be very low in dietary protein quality and quantity to see a reduction in milk protein.
 
Potential reasons why cows may be underfed in early lactation
Feeding poor quality (low energy) silage
Overestimating grass intakes in early lactation due to overestimation of grass supply and/or poor grazing conditions.
Reducing of concentrate feeding levels too soon or by too much in response to overestimating grass intakes or because of the quota situation.
Ensure to maintain concentrate feeding levels to match grass supply or increase concentrate to compensate for poor grazing conditions. High starch levels in the concentrates fed will also aid milk protein production.
Key point: Watch out for a major drop in protein % and/or low milk protein (below 3%) which can be an early warning sign that cows are underfed.  Remember additional dietary protein intake has little effect on milk protein concentration; ENERGY is the most likely limiting factor.
Postcalver GOLD feed range
Postcalver GOLD feeds only contain high energy raw materials and MAIZE as the number one ingredient.
  
Maize is the number 1 ingredient in the Postcalver GOLD feed range
Postcalver GOLD feeds have Yeasacc included at recommended rates to drive intake, increase fibre digestion and help reduce the energy gap in early lactation (particularly effective when also fed pre calving). Yeast has been proven under Irish grazing conditions to minimise the risk of digestive upsets. This is particularly important when a cow’s diet is abruptly changed e.g. turnout to grass after calving.
Postcalver GOLD feeds also contain Sel-Plex and Bioplex minerals at recommended rates which have been proven to increase conception rates.
Postcalver GOLD delivers these benefits for 5-10 cent/head/day above the cost of our high energy range* (More Milk, Dairy Pride, Milkrite and Grass Aid), irrespective of the feeding rate. There is also a Balancer Postcalver GOLD range to match the individual requirements of dairy farmers feeding alternative forages plus NEW Postcalver GOLD Quota Monitor for farmers over quota wishing to avail of all the benefits of the GOLD range.
Key point: A low milk price and looming superlevy may tempt you towards feeding cheaper concentrates but the Postcalver GOLD range is worth the investment with high energy ingredients including maize as the primary ingredient plus Yeasacc, Sel- Plex and Bioplex minerals at recommended rates.

Nutritional aims in early lactation

 1. Under Quota Herds• Maximise milk yield (economically)-Feed a 20% protein ration when indoors fulltime (24% if maize silage fed), reducing the protein level as grass enters the diet. For feeding rates, see figure 1.
Minimise body condition loss (less than 0.5 BCS between calving and the start of breeding)
2. Over Quota Herds• Reduced milk yield-Reduce the protein content of the ration to 14% or less and the level of concentrate supplementation by up to 2Kg compared to under quota herds (see figure 1). Reducing supplementary feeding levels significantly below this in early lactation is not advisable as it can result in too much body condition loss.
Minimise body condition loss (less than 0.5 BCS between calving and the start of breeding)
3. Over Quota Herds and Once-A-Day Milking• Reduced milk yield-As cows milked once-aday produce less milk, there is scope to further reduce concentrate supplementation by an additional 1Kg compared to over quota herds milked twice a day (see figure 1 below).
Minimise body condition loss (less than 0.5 BCS between calving and the start of breeding)
Supplementation Rates

 Grazed grass is the most economical way to feed a cow. It is very important to bear in mind that grass intake will depend on availability and grazing conditions. Grass budgeting and good grassland management (on/off grazing in wet conditions etc.) will minimise the level of concentrate used while meeting the key nutritional targets above. When selecting a concentrate the most important factor is the energy level but protein level (and quality) and minerals are also important.
 
Notes on figure 1
Start concentrate supplementation at 3Kg and increase by 1Kg per day until you achieve your target level. Supplementation rates are based on an under quota herd peaking at 28L/6 gal (2.0Kg solids) and should be increased/decreased by 0.5 Kg per 2-2.5 litre (0.5 gal) peak yield increase/decrease.
Supplementation should be adjusted by 1 Kg for every 5 DMD increase/decrease in silage quality (base 70 DMD). If maize silage is fed circa 1Kg less concentrates can be fed.
Protein levels of supplements are based on grass and maize silage protein levels of 12% and 9% respectively and should be adjusted if silage protein levels differ from these.
Early Warning Sign of Underfeeding

  

Milk protein varies with genetic potential, breed and stage of lactation. Milk protein starts high after calving, reduces in early lactation (dilution effect of increased yield) and increases thereafter. Cow nutrition influences protein as follows:
If total energy intake is reduced at any stage during lactation milk protein drops, see graphic below. A major drop in protein % and/or low milk protein (below 3%) can be an early warning sign that cows are underfed (particularly if combined with reduced milk yield) and corrective action should be taken to avoid subsequent fertility issues as well as correcting milk protein %.
Additional dietary protein intake has little effect on milk protein concentration. The diet needs to be very low in dietary protein quality and quantity to see a reduction in milk protein.
 
Potential reasons why cows may be underfed in early lactation
Feeding poor quality (low energy) silage
Overestimating grass intakes in early lactation due to overestimation of grass supply and/or poor grazing conditions.
Reducing of concentrate feeding levels too soon or by too much in response to overestimating grass intakes or because of the quota situation.
Ensure to maintain concentrate feeding levels to match grass supply or increase concentrate to compensate for poor grazing conditions. High starch levels in the concentrates fed will also aid milk protein production.
Key point: Watch out for a major drop in protein % and/or low milk protein (below 3%) which can be an early warning sign that cows are underfed.  Remember additional dietary protein intake has little effect on milk protein concentration; ENERGY is the most likely limiting factor.
Postcalver GOLD feed range

Postcalver GOLD feeds only contain high energy raw materials and MAIZE as the number one ingredient.


Postcalver GOLD feeds have Yeasacc included at recommended rates to drive intake, increase fibre digestion and help reduce the energy gap in early lactation (particularly effective when also fed pre calving). Yeast has been proven under Irish grazing conditions to minimise the risk of digestive upsets. This is particularly important when a cow’s diet is abruptly changed e.g. turnout to grass after calving.
Postcalver GOLD feeds also contain Sel-Plex and Bioplex minerals at recommended rates which have been proven to increase conception rates.
Postcalver GOLD delivers these benefits for 5-10 cent/head/day above the cost of our high energy range* (More Milk, Dairy Pride, Milkrite and Grass Aid), irrespective of the feeding rate. There is also a Balancer Postcalver GOLD range to match the individual requirements of dairy farmers feeding alternative forages plus NEW Postcalver GOLD Quota Monitor for farmers over quota wishing to avail of all the benefits of the GOLD range.
Key point: A low milk price and looming superlevy may tempt you towards feeding cheaper concentrates but the Postcalver GOLD range is worth the investment with high energy ingredients including maize as the primary ingredient plus Yeasacc, Sel- Plex and Bioplex minerals at recommended rates.

Dairygold - Early Lactation Feeding

 

 

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