After calving: feeding strategy in dairy Cows

Feeding strategy in dairy cows (dams) after calving

What type of nutrients is responsible in the efficient milk production of dairy animals?

The high producing dairy cow requires a diet that supplies the nutrient needs for high milk production. Carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and water are all nutrients required by the lactating dairy cow to meet the demand by the mammary gland to produce milk and milk components.

After calving, a dairy cow roughly should be fed 1 kg of concentrates (dairy meal) per 2 liter of milk depending on individual production. For lactating cows, 1kg of concentrate mixture (compounded feed) (0.14-0.16 kg DCP and 0.70 kg TDN) may be required for every 2.5 – 3.0 kg of milk over and above the maintenance allowance. Please note that it is an experience based calculation being calculated from many years that's applicable for small scale dairy famers having less than five dairy cows.

The animals may be challenged further by increasing their dairy meal rations for up to an optimal level.

Dairy meal should be fed after milking so that the cow remains standing until the teat canal closes. This helps to avoid teat infection and mastitis.

Farmers should supplement their dairy cows with yeast either in feeds or drinking water to boost milk production.

Feeding strategy in dairy cows after calving
Feeding strategy in dairy cows after calving

Yeast fed to a dairy cow improves feed digestibility, increases feed intake and overall performance and productivity.

Yeast extracts increases the number and activity of beneficial bacteria leading to increased rate of ruminal fermentation and a subsequent increase in net energy.

As more organic matter is fermented per unit time, the animal is able to consume more dry matter which also increases net energy.

As the number of beneficial bacteria increases, there is subsequent increase in microbial protein, which when combined with increased net energy leads to high milk production.

Well-balanced combinations of yeast, vitamins, organic acids and minerals are commercially available in the market.

Mineral supplements should be provided as they are essential in milk production, they improve fertility, reduce incidences of retained placenta and also contributes to development of strong bones in the growing fetus.

What minerals does a dairy cow need?

The trace minerals typically supplemented or measured in dairy cow diets include cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, iodine, and zinc. Of these, selenium and copper are the trace minerals most likely to be deficient.

Granular mineral salts should be mixed with feeds in a feeding trough or fed with the concentrates. It may be necessary to moisten the granular mineral licks to prevent dusting during licking as this predisposes the cows to respiratory problems.

The major mineral requirements for dairy cows are calcium and phosphorus. The calcium phosphorus ratio is important, and an imbalance can cause infertility.

Free lick Mineral block should be availed at all times. Wholesome drinking water must be available all the time.

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