Get late summer feeding right to safeguard winter production

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Length: 110 words; <1 minutes

Individual dairy cow image

Winter milk yield loss as cows replenish excess body condition lost through late summer can cost more than three times the feed needed to maintain condition.

Excess body condition loss also negatively affects fertility, and has been shown to account for 50% of the lameness risk in early lactation. With potential milk from grazing dropping towards zero around mid-September, inadequate buffering will force cows to make up the shortfall from body condition. 

To ensure good return on investment in extra feed, focus on cows calved since the start of June, raising buffer ration energy density and intakes. Minimise costs per litre by choosing feeds on value not price per tonne.

Key facts & figures:

  • Cows will prioritise replacing lost condition over milk production once housed

  • Replacing 0.5 BCS can cost 1.9 litres/cow for the first three months of winter1

  • At 26ppl, total milk loss for a 200-cow herd can be worth £9,000

  • 2.25kg FW/cow/day of Traffordgold for two months costs less than £2,500

  • Processed bread starch costs 7% less than rolled wheat (25 vs 27p/kg starch)

  • Beetmol Flow and Molale provide energy and palatability to drive DMI2

1 Trouw Nutrition data
2 Dry matter intake

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