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So where does this leave us? It comes back to one of my earlier articles indicating the dry cow diet is the most important one on the farm. We need to properly formulate the dry cow diet to prevent potential disease concerns post calving, including mastitis. Many dry cow diets are stripped of supplementation to prevent overfeeding, but the minerals and vitamins remain essential to supplement.
The best approach here is to work with your nutritionist to properly supplement your dry cow diet and use your veterinarian to evaluate the cows’ response to supplementation to ensure they are achieving desired concentrations associated with reduced mastitis risk. Remember that having supplement in the diet does not ensure all cows will achieve the desired effects. There is potential variation in intake, especially in overcrowded feeding systems or during periods of heat stress.
Documented variation in mature cow close-up pen intakes is 5 to 8 pounds per day. Your nutritionist needs to account for this variation in intake within your dry cow pens to ensure a high percent of cows consume adequate nutrients.
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