Fresh Cow Nutrition is still a work in progress

Fresh Cow Nutrition is still a work in progress

Feeding fresh cows has been an ongoing challenge for the dairy industry for many years. The single largest challenge in formulating fresh cow diets is getting cows to consume the levels of feed necessary to sustain a high energy status that will support milk production while at the same time mitigating metabolic diseases and negative energy balance.

The most important nutrient in a fresh cow diet (after water) is calories. The most limiting nutrient in a fresh cow diet is calories. Fresh cow energy requirements increase significantly immediately after calving. To meet these energy requirements, nutritionists and dairy farmers must maximize the feed intake of a diet that incorporates a high energy density per pound of feed as well as maintaining a rumen forage mat that supports microbial fermentation.

When formulating diets for fresh cows depends on a variety of factors: social interaction, which lactation the cow is on (first, second etc) and health issues.

Within the industry, the “fresh cow” diet is often a variation of the “high-cow” diet, formulated with an arbitrarily lower starch value, a small amount of straw for effective fiber and rumen-protected fat to maintain metabolizable energy. Pushing the starch levels in fresh cow diets should be contingent upon the reliability and competency of dairy management to closely follow diet recommendations and a willingness to adhere to stringent dietary guidelines. To read the full article on fresh cow nutrition, click here.

Tags: Transition Cows