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0208 EL: Helpful feeding tips for dry cows

Oregon State University Published on 29 February 2008

Improving your dry cow program means more efficient, healthier milking cows later.

Here are some tips:

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1. Feed good quality feeds to meet nutrient requirements of far-off and close-up dry cows.

2. Maintain acceptable dry matter intake throughout the dry period. During heat stress, provide shade and night feeding to increase intake. During cold weather, provide more total ration in clean feed bunks to encourage eating. Watch intake the week before calving. Do everything possible to minimize reduced intake at calving.

3. Have dry cows in proper body condition (about 3.5 BCS). Have them maintain body weight during the dry period and gain or lose body weight late in lactation before the dry period. Observe the condition of dry cows frequently and adjust the ration accordingly.

Seek professional advice if cows have significant problems immediately after calving. EL

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