21 April 1995

SAC increases dry cows DUP

DRY cows at the Scottish Agricultural College are now fed a high protein supplement as part of standard dry cow management routine.

The decision follows three years of Dalgety-sponsored trials assessing the effect of its high protein dry cow supplement on subsequent lactation.

Average results showed a 10% lift in milk protein yield. This was consistent in all experiments, says SAC senior dairying specialist Dr David Roberts. But in some the increase was due to extra milk yield and in others the boost was in milk protein content.

Autumn-calving dry cows were fed the high DUP (digestible undegradable protein) supplement four to six weeks before calving with restricted access to silage (4kg DM a day) and ad lib straw fed in troughs.

In the light of the trials, dry cow management at the SACs Crichton Royal and Auchincruive farms now involves three steps:

lEnergy intake is restricted during the dry period to keep cows fit but not fat. That means restricting access to grass silage but cows are offered ad lib straw. "Ideally, aim to dry off at the condition score you wish to calve them in, and keep the cows at this level," says Dr Roberts.

lFeed a supplement high in digestible undegradable protein.

lCalving management has been improved to keep stress low.