Guide to managing cattle after calving

The level of concentrate feeding after calving will depend on many factors especially silage quality, cow potential, period of time to grass, cow condition and milk/concentrate price.

Trials have consistently shown that silage with DMD in the low 60s is likely to reduce milk yields by over 20% compared to silage with a DMD in the mid 70s.

The standard best feeding recommendation for cows on silage with 72 DMD is 6-8 kg per cow.

A change of 4 to 5 DMD units will require a change of 1 kg in concentrate feeding to maintain milk yield.

For autumn calvers, if silage quality is poor some of it should be replaced with other feeds such as brewers’grains, maize silage, whole crop, fodder beet etc. as otherwise concentrate requirements will be too high for autumn calving cows. In practice, most farmers will require feeds such as maize silage or whole crop as well as good grass silage to efficiently produce good quality winter milk.

High dry matter intakes are very important for high yielding cows. Silage should be fed fresh and kept pushed in to barriers. Cows should have adequate feed space to ensure shy animals get their fair share.

Any animals that are thin and are backward should be taken out for special attention. A mixture of roughages increases dry matter intakes.


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