News & Advice

Even now doing an individual Body Condition Score (BCS) is a good Return On Investment? (ROI)

Apr 4, 2020 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare

Katrina Roberts, Herd Health Veterinarian, Anexa Vets

Are you needing to make some tough decisions right now?

With limited feed available on most farms we want the right cows to be getting the right amount of food but how do we decide who gets what?

Which dry cows get the remaining maize silage?

Is there a good ROI on buying more supplement to put BCS on my R3s that haven’t quite got to BCS target?

How do I build average pasture cover (APC) before calving but still feed my cows enough?

I want to push the round out but that means I have to feed the cows less grass – which cows can afford to have less grass?

What happens if my cows aren’t going to make it to target BCS, what do I need to change in the spring?

A cow’s condition score, her expected calving date, and her age are the 3 main cow level variables that determine how much she needs to be fed in the winter. Without the individual BCS you may have the cow in the wrong mob wasting feed on a cow that doesn’t need it. 

How does this information help make feed decisions? 

In order to gain 1 BCS, a cow needs to gain approximately 30 kg of muscle and fat (not just gut fill!); by knowing how much body condition each cow needs to gain, we can organize our herd into mobs, and feed appropriately.

The beauty of the individual body condition score information is that you’ll receive a report that enables you to make individual cow decisions. You can plan for mob sizes and preferential feeding options to increase or prioritise cow feeding right through until calving, which in turn will benefit milk production and reproduction.

We can do this job when we are on farm lepto vaccinating – just let us know in advance so we can come well-prepared.

We can also help with doing a feed budget through until PSC (planned start of calving) or balance date. So if you need help to juggle your remaining supplements then we are happy to help.

Share This