Managing dry cow feeding
Managing dry cow feeding is an important element of a mastitis control plan. It can influence the cow’s immune status, both in the dry period and in the subsequent lactation, and her ability to remain free from mastitis infections.
The primary aim of dry cow feeding is to maintain body condition with adequate energy intake. This allows your cattle to start their new lactation in the best possible nutritional status.
It is preferable to review dry cow period feeding and ration in consultation with your nutritional advisor and vet.
Dry period timeline
Optimise feeding area design to maximise dry matter intake. Be sure to:
- Clean out feed troughs daily
- Provide cows with at least 0.75 m of feed space per cow in transition
- Maintain correct feed barrier or rail position and height – observe cows for hair loss or swelling on the neck because this can indicate that the neck rail is too low
- Provide a smooth/shiny surface in the feed trough because this improves intake
The image below shows an example of optimal dry cow feeding space to maintain high intakes in the late dry period.