Pre-Fresh Diets Revisited

controled energy transition cow diets

For more than 25 years, researchers have known that reducing the dietary cation anion difference (DCAD) is a key way to reduce milk fevers and SCH. This is done by either minimizing dietary potassium or varying inclusion rates of anion supplements to reach a negative DCAD.

Over the past decade or so, dairy researchers have abandoned so-called “steam up” rations late in the dry period to prepare cows for lactation. Again, recent work at Cornell suggests that a bulky, high fiber, controlled energy diet throughout the dry period is the best approach.

Ration management is also essential during this transition period. Ration mixing is critical when using bulky, high fiber diets using straw or mature, low-potassium hay. It is recommended that chopping the straw or hay such that the long particles are not more than 1.5. Often, the addition of water or another wet ingredient to decrease ration dry matter to the 46 to 48% range also is required for optimal effectiveness of these rations.

To read a Cornell study on controled energy during the pre-fresh period, click here.

Tags: Feeding Strategies, Transition Cows