Nutrition should accompany this in cows with superior genetic potential in terms of milk yield. This means that the share of nutrition in increasing milk yield is around 65-70%. Although there are many factors affecting the aforementioned superior milk yield performance, the effect of having a regular dry period is much greater among them. This period starts 3 weeks before birth and continues until 3 weeks after birth. Special feeding strategies to be applied during this period of 40-50 days in total affect the rest of lactation very closely. Well, what should be considered in the feeding of cows in this period (Dry Period);
- The most important point to be considered in this period is to monitor the changes in body condition very well. Body condition should be in the range of 3-3.5 in order to prevent possible metabolic diseases (hypocalcemia, ketosis, breast edema, etc.) that may occur after birth, to increase feed consumption, and to obtain milk in the desired amount and composition. It should be noted that fat cows above this score will most likely suffer from a metabolic disease.
- The amount of roughage to be fed during this period should be at the level of 1% of the animal’s live weight. During this period, legumes (clover, vetch, etc.) as a source of roughage should be avoided due to the risk of hypocalcemia. Instead of these, dry grasses should be preferred.
- The transition from dry period feed to early period milk feed fed at the beginning of lactation should be done by getting used to. In other words, while the dry season feed is reduced, the early stage feed should be increased gradually. Because the nutrient density in the ration should be increased in order not to endanger the health of the mother and the baby to be born while approaching the birth (last 1 week). It is necessary to feed with good quality protein sources and energy-rich feeds during the mentioned transition period.
In order to prevent these metabolic disorders that can be seen after birth, it will also be beneficial to use some feed additives in the feed of animals. These additives can be listed as vitamin E, B3 (niacin), yeast, and some salts (magnesium sulfate, ammonium chloride).
Early lactation period feeding: In the first 3-4 weeks following the birth, a feeding program including the following points should be established for the high level of performance expected from lactation in this period.
- As can be seen in the graphic above, the most important problem encountered after birth is that the feed consumption in animals lags behind the milk yield and the milk yield tends to return to normal long after it reaches the peak. Therefore, it is necessary to intensify the rations to be prepared in the mentioned period in terms of nutrient content. For example, energy-rich corn silage and protein-rich legume grasses should be preferred among roughage. .
- Forage and concentrate feed ratios should be at the level of 50%:50% in mixed ration (TMR).
- Be very careful against possible live weight losses in cows after calving, this loss should be reduced daily. Care should be taken not to exceed 1 kg. In other words, the loss in body condition score should remain at the level of 1-1.5 at the most.
- In this period, the energy content of the ration should be increased, if necessary, fat should be added to the feed or 0.5 kg of fat should be given per animal per day.
- It should not be forgotten that soda (sodium bicarbonate) should be present in the feeds against the risk of rumen acidosis that may occur in parallel with the feeding of cows with dense grain-containing feeds during this period.
Feeding in the period until mid-lactation (40-120 days): In this period, milk yield, which increases in parallel with the increase in feed consumption, reaches its peak in 60-70 days of lactation on average. Afterwards, it starts to decrease from the 3rd month of lactation. In addition, during this period, the animal begins to regain the lost live weight. Therefore, it will be useful to pay attention to the following feeding criteria in order to maintain lactation performance.
- The protein content of the total ration should be reduced to 17-18% during this period.
- There should be a minimum of 50% roughage in the ration, and at least 50% of the particles in these roughages should be 3-4 cm. Care should be taken to ensure that it is long.
- It should be paid attention that the ration contains an average of 30% starch (feeds rich in grains rather than bagasses).
Feeding in the advanced lactation period (120-305 days): A feeding program should be established in parallel with the milk yield, which started to decrease gradually in this period. In this context;
- Total ration protein level should be reduced to 16%.
- Excessive feeding of the animal should be avoided and body condition score should be kept under control (3.25-3.5).
- Ration protein content Instead of high quality protein sources (soybean meal), protein sources that can be easily broken down in the rumen (low quality oilseed meals) should be preferred.
- The amount of roughage in the ration should be brought to the level of 60%. Corn silage should be reduced in the forage portion (1/3 corn silage + 2/3 hay or whole hay).
- The starch content of the ration should be at 20% levels.