28 June 2002

No concentrates for healthy cows

THERE is no advantage in feeding cows with a body condition score of more than three concentrates before calving, according to one Irish nutritionist.

There is considerable interest in transition cow management, says Teagasc researcher John Murphy. "One strategy is feeding concentrates before calving to condition the rumen. But there is no economic benefit when cows are in good condition."

But for thin cows, feeding 3kg/day of concentrate before calving led to an extra 2kg/day of milk during the first eight weeks of lactation. This equated to about 112kg of milk from 84kg concentrate, which is a good response to additional concentrate.