TotalDairy Seminar New research findings on transition cow management up for discussion

New research findings on transition cow diets will be under the spotlight as part of a number of practical workshops and lectures by Australian dairy consultant, Ian Lean at TotalDairy Seminar.

Dr Lean from Scibus - a world leader in meta-analytic research in dairy production - will be drawing on the latest trial work to offer practical advice to farmers on how they can optimise dry cow health at home.

Challenging milk price may mean many farmers are looking to cut costs, but Dr Lean believes transition cow management is not the place to do it.

"Transition is an area that's pivotal to reproduction and health and pivotal in terms of profitability so it's a very important area to invest in, even when farmers are under pressure,” he says.

As part of his presentations, Dr Lean will be drawing on findings from a 1,000 cow Australian study that found feeding dry cows a far off and close up ration was best for overall animal performance.

Dr Lean explains: "We found that the longer cows were fed the transition cow diet, the greater the increase in milk production and reproductive performance. We identified an optimum period of 25 days on the transition diet."

In the far off period, cows should be restricted in terms of energy intake. However, during the ‘close up' period - 3-4 weeks before calving - cows should receive enough energy and also enough dietary protein to achieve positive metabolisable protein balance.

Dr Lean will deliver a lecture and two workshops sessions on the subject of transition cow management at TotalDairy Seminar which takes place on 1-2 June in Gloucestershire. A dedicated farmer workshop will enable producers to ask specific questions on this essential area.

"I'd like farmers to challenge and discuss and talk about what other things they think are important in the transition period as it's not just nutrition. For example, it's about minimising social changes and providing enough space for a comfortable calving," he says.

In the transition cow sessions, Dr Lean will also present new findings from Australia, the USA and EU on vitamin D metabolism and discuss diets that create a negative DCAB balance, new data surrounding fats in transition diets and the role of bones in energy metabolism.

In addition he will present a lecture and workshop session on identifying and rectifying Sub Acute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA). "Acidosis is so important. I talk about the four freedoms of the transition period; Freedom from macro mineral disorders, freedom from lipid mobilisation disorders, freedom from rumen disruption and immune disruption," adds Dr Lean.

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