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Post-Calving Lactation Phase of the Dairy Cow

The Importance of the Post-calving Phase

The post-calving phase is the most important and vulnerable period for dairy cows as her metabolic needs increase dramatically. Her lactational performance is directly related to how she responds to this high-energy transition period. To have a successful dairy production, we must focus on formulating post-calving cow health.

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Kemin’s Solutions for Post-Calving Cow Health

Post calving cows experience a decline in dry matter intake is typically characterized by an increase in the incidence of disorders that compromise production and survival. Cows that fail to manage post-calving early lactating phases are vulnerable to a number of problems (metabolic disorders). The fundamental productive and reproductive disorders during the post-calving period are divided into three principal axes:

A) Disorders related to energy metabolism (Ketosis, Fatty liver, Acidosis, and Displaced abomasum)

B) Disorders related to mineral metabolism (Milk fever, Hypomagnesemia, Lameness, and Udder edema)

C) Problems related to the immune system (Mastitis, Metritis/Endometritis, and Retention of the fetal membrane)

Download a success story from your colleagues on post-calving cow health

  • Research shows that 50 - 60% of cows experience moderate to severe fatty liver (Bobe et al., 2004)
  • Daily fatty acid uptake by the liver increases 13-fold at calving, from 100 g per day to 1,300 g per day (Reynolds et al., 2003)
  • Drackley (2001) estimated that during the peak blood NEFA concentration, approximately 600 g fat is deposited in 24 hours, which corresponds to an increase in liver fat of 6 - 7% by weight

Discovering answers to the issues confronted by dairy agriculturists has been one of the key research areas among animal scientists. They found that optimizing the liver’s health during the transition/post calving phase can significantly reduce the metabolic disorders.

In a research survey published in the Journal of dairy science (Suthar et. al, 2013), 5884 cows from 10 European countries were examined for the level of subclinical ketosis. It was found that, in Europe, sub clinical ketosis ranges from 11 - 36 % at the farm level which can clearly be correlated with leakage in the profits. Ketosis is linked with other metabolic disorders e.g. Retention of placenta (ROP) etc. which further increases economic loss to the farm. In the same study, it was found that cows with subclinical ketosis had 1.5 times greater odds of developing metritis, 9.5 times greater odds of developing clinical ketosis and 5.0 times greater odds of developing displaced abomasum.

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