Dry cow strategy

3 May 2002

Dry cow strategy

CHANGING dry cow management is one strategy for boosting milk price for herds fed high forage rations.

Speaking at the KT meeting, IGER researcher Richard Dewhurst said it was harder to change milk composition with high forage rations. "But there is some scope."

Feeding either concentrates or high quality silage during the dry period to increase body condition could boost milk fat in the next lactation by 0.5%. But overdoing that could depress milk protein %.

"Cows which are too fat at calving, body condition score of more than 3.5, will have lower forage intakes leading to lower protein %."

There is also some evidence that feeding high quality protein in the dry period could increase milk protein %. But it was variable, with only 20% of studies showing any benefit, he added. &#42

Ensuring dry cows are at the correct body condition will boost milk fat %, says Richard Dewhurst.

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