Dairy Cow

Dairy Management Tip for the Month - January 2021

Tip #1: Take time to evaluate how well your nutrition program is working.  If not already completed, take new forage samples and see how results from these analyses compare to those collected this fall.  Do changes need to be made to the rations being fed?  Are cows in the proper body condition for their stage of lactation— not too fat near the end of lactation?  Availability of starch in corn silage is at its max 4 months after harvest.  Make sure that this is reflected in your feeding programs for the milking herd to avoid acidosis and butterfat issues.

Tip #2:  With the cooler temperatures and a little spare time, take some extra time to review your financial and production records and develop of plan for things you want to work on in 2021.

Continue to remember:  Management Practices Help Prevent Cold Stress in Young Calves  

Calves, under 3 weeks of age, are the most sensitive to cooler winter temperatures. They are born with limited body fat reserves which they can use to stay warm. When temperatures dip below 60ºF, they are cold stressed. Wind chill adds even more stress. To stay warm and to continue to grow as well, additional energy is needed. More milk or a higher fat milk replacer can provide additional energy. Also, deep bedding with straw so their legs are covered and calf blankets can help keep calves warm. However, ventilation (4 air exchanges per hour) is still critical in barns to move bacteria laden air to prevent disease. Air movement is above calves, not down on them.