News & Advice

Options for maintaining cow condition when pasture growth is limited before mating

Aug 9, 2022 | Dairy, Dairy Farm Reproduction

So far, this season has delivered many calves, and more rain than we have had in a long time! Most of our farmers are facing similar challenges: cows that haven’t met condition targets at calving, and a shortage of supplement on farm – with grass often being the only feasible feeding option over Spring.

Meeting body condition targets at calving and mating is key to getting cows back in calf. 


Six tips to make the best of this challenging season:

  • Split your herd into mobs – separating out young, skinny and at-risk cows into a separate group. The best way to select cows is to individually body condition score them. We have many accredited body condition scorers within the Anexa team who can make this job a breeze. The sooner this is done, the better.
  • Preferentially feed these cows with as much grass as you can manage, as well as any supplement (PKE, maize) that you have available. Without focus, these cows will likely be your non-cyclers at mating time.
  • Consider different milking regimes – once-a-day or 16-hour milkings – for this mob too. The small amount lost in milk production will equate to bigger gains if these cows get back in calf again. Too often we see heifers and three-year-olds go empty, and taking the pressure off milk production can be an effective strategy to give them the help they need.
  • If running multiple mobs is a challenge on your farm, leg band the cows that you milk less regularly. While they will use some energy walking to the shed, it will still be beneficial.
  • Ensure that cow health is a priority through the Spring. Treat sick and lame cows promptly. Teat spray effectively. Get your whole herd metrichecked and treated well before mating.
  • Ask for help. When feed is tight, feed budgeting is both a science and an art. Ask your vet for nutrition advice – we have some very skilled nutrition advisers on our team.

We are here to help you through this busy period, and making a good plan with your vet now is by far the best way to get the reproduction results you want.


Other Anexa resources you might find helpful:

Individual Body condition scoring explained.pdf

In One Ear & Out The Udder Podcast – 3 tips for making the pre-mating period count

The Who, What, Where and How of Endometritis and Metrichecking


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