TACKLING LOW milk protein is not just about raising milk price: Protein provides an excellent measure of rumen health and cow energy status, said Keenan nutritionist Mark Voss.

As cows milk off their backs, milk solids will fall as body protein reserves are depleted.

He, therefore, advised aiming for a condition score of 3-3.5 at calving and limiting weight loss in early lactation.

Cows’ dietary protein needs must also be met. “But feeding more crude protein will generally not improve protein percentage. However, targeting 17% crude protein will ensure a modest peak, while increasing late lactation yield when solids are lighter.”