The disparity between energy requirement and feed intake in early lactation often causes a lasting negative energy balance. This can initiate many diseases.
Ketosis, acidosis, displacement of abomasum, fatty liver, placental retention, parturient paresis, uterus and udder inflammation, fertility problems, lameness. A list of diseases, that occur increasingly with higher milk performance. Next to management and housing, adjusted feeding can avoid these problems. Only a rumen-optimised ration enables ideal feed conversion, highest performance and healthy cows.

Body condition takes effect on feed intake and displacement of abomasum
Preparation for next lactation already begins during last third of lactation before. Here the body condition is set – during dry period it can only be influenced marginally. A body condition score (BCS) of less than 3.5 at the end of lactation is targeted.

Especially with completely mixed rations (CMR/TMR) cows tend to eat too much in the last third of lactation. Thus grouping cows helps to avoid energy surplus. A cut of feed concentrate during this phase will cost some litres of milk performance, but a too fat cow (more than BCS 3.5 or respectively 3.75 at calving) would much more milk performance in next lactation.

Typical effects of too heavily conditioned cows are reduced feed intake during early lactation and a higher susceptibility to displacement of abomasum. During dry period, energy has to be kept short.
Only with steaming up, feed concentrate should be increased slowly (up to 0.3 kg/day, increase to 3 kg/day total). Use the same feedstuff that is used in the beginning of lactation. That gives rumen bacteria the possibility to adjust to lactation feed.

Minerals, udder oedema and calcium deficiency
An oversupply of sodium and potassium during transit phase has to be avoided. Besides  this a very high intake of protein can also facilitate the appearance udder oedema. Protein content with steaming up should be increased from 10 to 14 %.

The mixed ration for steaming up should be completed by a special dry mineral feed e.g. KULMIN® MFV Plus or as licking material KULMIN® Phos with reduced calcium content and much phosphor. The narrow relation of calcium and phosphor prepares the metabolism to depletion of calcium for milk production and thus reduces the risk of calcium deficiency.
KULMIN® MFV Plus additionally contains probiotic live yeast, which supports rumen digestion and makes for quickly increasing feed intake after calving

Avoid ketosis – and acidosis
After calving a mixed ration is a good basis. If possible (depends on size of groups) an active ingredient concentrate like KULMIN® Lacto HL 50 (1 kg/day) should be mixed into the basic ration. Those help to clear the negative energy balance and bring active ingredients like propylene glycol, sodium propionate and rumen protected protein into the ration. Those ingredients enhance a.o. blood sugar and thus reduce risk of ketosis and relieve liver. Of course, those complementary feed can in smaller herds also be given via feed concentrate.

The amount of feed concentrate is slowly increased after calving. Maximum donation is reached during 4th to 5th week of lactation. Is the concentrate increased to fast, structure taken in via basal feed does not suffice.

Still good quality of basal feed is essential. It ensures high feed and energy intake and thus enables high performances. Furthermore structure from basal feed (min. 15% crude fibre / 8-10 % structured fibre) is needed for a sufficient rumination and to prevent acidosis. Besides ideal forage harvesting, silage additives ensure a high silage quality. Therefore it is important to use a suitable dosage equipment to spread silage additives in the greenery.

Modified from Milchpur 01-2013

KULMIN® Lacto HL 50

Silage additives

Strong start for next lactation