News & Advice

Plan around cow body condition this Autumn

Jan 31, 2017 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare, Farm systems

Variable rainfall across the Waikato has resulted in a large variation in pasture covers and cow condition this summer. Both cow condition and feed planning need to be closely monitored over autumn to set the cows and farm up for next season.

Assessment of herd body condition score (BCS) and formation of a feed budget can be a useful tool to determine strategies you can use to achieve target BCS at calving. Achieving the industry target BCS at calving of 5.0 for mixed age cows and 5.5 for first and second calvers has been shown to maximise milk production and reproduction; the key drivers of farm profitability. 

Strategies that may be considered this autumn include: 

  • Pregnancy testing and early removal of culls
  • Once a day milking (all or part of herd)
  • Supplements – brought in or home grown
  • Nitrogen usage
  • Dry-off strategies – staggered versus whole herd; different mobs based on BCS and calving dates

Planning for autumn should start with body condition scoring the herd. This information along with farm set up is the basis for determining which strategies will be most profitable and ensure you reach cow condition and pasture cover targets at calving.

If you would like your herd independently condition scored or have questions regarding autumn management, please contact your local Anexa FVC clinic.

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