Most spring calving herds were dried off in December. Plan to have a minimum 6 to 8 week dry period in order to maximise udder health and to have cows in good order ie: to correct cow body condition score (BCS). The required length of the dry period varies from cow to cow depending on BCS. Aim to calve cows down at a BCS of 3.25. Cows in poor body condition of less than 2.5 BCS require a longer dry period of up to 14 weeks.
Cows can gain up to 1.0 kg liveweight per day during the dry period. However bear in mind that for the 10 – 14 days at the start and the 10 – 14 days at the end of the dry period the weight gain is minimal. One body condition score is equivalent to 50 - 60 kgs liveweight. Where weight gain is required, good quality forage plus concentrates and a pre-calver mineral should be fed.
Cows with a body condition score of 2.5 BCS or less should get 1.0 – 3.0 kgs of concentrates depending on silage quality. Taking silage at 65 – 68% DMD, cows under 2.5 BCS should be fed 3.0 kgs of ration; cows at 2.5 – 2.75 BCS should be fed 2.0 kgs; and cows at 2.75 – 3.0 BCS should be fed 1.0 kg of ration.
Other important issues at drying off include ensuring your cows are covered for stomach and lung worms, liver and rumen fluke and lice.
Drummonds Dry Cow ration range includes:
Cow Conditioner Ration 14%
Pre – Calver Primer Ration 20%
Article Written by: Dermot Meehan, Technical Sales Advisor (Knockbridge/Ardee) Tel: 086 021 3713
Speak to your local Drummonds Technical Sales Advisors and/or our counter sales staff about the benefits of feeding high quality Drummonds Feeds.