Cows with superior genetic potential in terms of milk yield should be accompanied by nutrition. This means that the share of nutrition in increasing milk yield is around 65-70%. Although there are many factors affecting the aforementioned superior milk yield performance, the effect of having a regular dry period is much greater among them. This period begins 3 weeks before birth and continues until 3 weeks after birth. Special feeding strategies to be applied during this period of 40-50 days in total affect the rest of lactation very closely. Well, what should be considered in the feeding of cows in this period (Dry Period);
Early lactation feeding: In the first 3-4 weeks following the birth, a feeding program including the following points should be established for the high level of performance expected from lactation.
1. As can be seen in the chart below, the most important problem encountered after birth is that feed consumption in animals lags behind milk yield and tends to return to normal long after milk yield reaches its peak. Therefore, the rations to be prepared in the mentioned period should be intensified in terms of nutrient content. For example, energy-rich corn silage and protein-rich legume grasses should be preferred from roughage.
2. The ration should include feeds containing energy-rich and easily digestible cereal grains (barley, wheat, corn) and their by-products (bran, DDGS).
3. Roughage and concentrate feed rates should be 50%:50% in mixed ration (TMR).
4. Care should be taken against possible live weight losses in cows after birth, and care should be taken not to exceed 1 kg per day. 5. In other words, the loss in body condition score should remain at the level of 1-1.5 at most.
6. During this period, the energy content of the ration should be increased, if necessary, fat should be added to the feed or 0.5 kg of fat should be given per animal per day.
In this period, it should not be forgotten that soda (sodium bicarbonate) should be present in the feeds against the risk of rumen acidosis that may occur in parallel with the feeding of the cows with feeds with heavy grain content.
Feeding in the period until the middle of lactation (40-120 days): In this period, milk yield, which increases in parallel with the increase in feed consumption, reaches its peak in 60-70 days of lactation. Afterwards, it starts to decrease from the 3rd month of lactation. In addition, during this period, the animal begins to regain the lost live weight. Therefore, it will be useful to pay attention to the following feeding criteria in order to maintain lactation performance.
1. The protein content of the total diet should be reduced to 17-18% during this period.
2. There should be a minimum of 50% roughage in the ration, and it should be noted that at least 50% of the particles in these roughages should be 3-4 cm long.
3. Attention should be paid to the fact that the ration contains an average of 30% starch (feeds rich in grains rather than pulps).
Feeding in the advanced lactation period (120-305 days): In this period, a feeding program should be established in parallel with the milk yield that started to decrease gradually. In this context;
1. Total dietary protein level should be reduced to 16%.
2. Overfeeding of the animal should be avoided and the body condition score should be kept under control (3.25-3.5).
3. In the protein content of the ration, it should be directed to protein sources that can be easily broken down in the rumen (low quality oilseed meals) instead of high quality protein sources (soybean meal).
4. The amount of roughage in the ration should be brought to the level of 60%. Corn silage should be reduced in the forage portion (1/3 maize silage + 2/3 hay or whole hay).
5. The starch content of the ration should be at 20%.
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