BCS Throughout Lactation

Optimum Body Condition Score (BCS) allows a stable platform for milk production, fertility and herd health. Overfat or overly thin cows are predisposed to all sorts of metabolic problems, low milk yield, poor conception rates and dystocia (difficulty calving).

High producing dairy cows simply cannot consume enough feed during the first 60 days of lactation to support milk yields and avoid BCS loss. Consequently body fat will be mobilised and cows are expected to lose an average of 1.0 score. BCS loss that is greater than 1.5 score during the early lactation is likely to have major effects on fertility, health and production in seasons to come.

The aim is primarily to minimise the amount of unavoidable weight loss that occurs in early lactation, set your herd up for the dry period and then to maintain body condition during the dry period. To keep an active track on BCS throughout the entire season (and to allow for corrective feed management), it is important you make a note in your diary to assess cow condition at each of the following stages

• Calving (to determine if there is any intervention required prior to joining)

• Joining

• Pregnancy Check

• At start of late lactation (to check if dry-off target body condition will be met) and;

• Dry Off (to check if cows will be at target body condition at calving).

To assist you with assessing your herd, and making decisions on how and what to feed your cows to achieve maximum productivity and profitability, contact one of our fully qualified Animal Nutritionists on Freecall 1800 267 742 … it could make all the difference.