Warning that the consequences of this year’s difficult summer continue to impact dairy cow performance, nutrition expert Mark Hall advised that rumen fill was critical.
Speaking at the Total Transition Technical conference, Mr Hall, Premier Nutrition transition manager, said there was new evidence that reduced dry cow rumen fill, due to reduced feed intakes, in the summer of 2018 was still knocking back milk production.
He said: “The effect of reduced rumen fill during the summer may also be impacting on metabolic disease incidences, ranging from ketosis, acidosis and retained cleansings, to milk fever and even mastitis.”
Mr Hall’s evidence is based on a dataset of 68,000 transition cows involved in Premier Nutrition’s transition management system, a monitoring service which assesses body condition, rumen fill, lameness and hock hygiene, with the aim of improving transition management either side of calving.
Preliminary data has revealed that cows with a rumen fill score of two in the dry period produced five litres less milk per day, than a cow scoring three (scale one-five). The difference was even more pronounced, at more than 10 litres per day, when score five cows were compared with those with a score of one.
Although the importance of keeping the dry cow’s rumen full with a high fibre ration is already well established, this is thought to be the first major study which demonstrates the link with milk production.