Friday, 23 October 2009

Critical 100 Days to February...Cow Condition Decisions

It's 100 days until many spring calving herds in the UK & Ireland start calving.
100 days is D Day for Cow Condition.
It's 100 days until February.
Colour Tail tag each cow according to her calving date NOW it makes winter dry cow management so much easier.

100 days from calving is an important day for any dairy cow that is Condition Score 2 (UK) or CS 3 (NZ or Australian Cow Condition scoring).
100 days is required to regain that lost condition before calving. EVERY COW NEEDS TO BE CS3(UK) or CS5(NZ,Aust) at calving.
100 days is important as the last 30 days before calving cows can not put on extra weight due to pregnancy. 100 days is important because one NZ CS (Condition Score) is equivalent to 35-40kgs of Liveweight. 100 days is critical for all breeds & sizes of cow even though a CS in liveweight terms is different depending on the size of cow. So to gain a NZ CS is going to take at least a month (35-40 days). That is assuming full feeding of good quality pasture or silage to gain 1 kg LWT per day.
You can only do this for a 500kg FJX cow if you feed an extra 55 Megajoules of good quality feed per day ABOVE daily dry cow maintenance which is 54MJ/day. Extra condition must go on early after drying off.
Look for Dr John Roche & Kevin MacDonald's "Condition Scoring Made Easy" at the website below
One extra Cow Condition Score (NZ,Aust) at calving produces an extra 200litres of milk, 10kgs milkfat & 6.5kgs protein. There is no advantage in exceeding CS5.5 for heifers or CS5 for mature dairy cows. In fact there are reproductive negatives of having over fat cows at calving.
Each extra cow condition score gained before calving reduces the interval between calving & first cycle by 5-6 days. Cow condition is vital to getting cows back incalf quickly. Check the InCalf website.
The target is to have all cows at ideal calving condition at calving at the very least a minimum of 85%. Never have more than 15% of cows below target at any time. The herd average is a useless figure & meaningless. 100 days out from calving is decision day!
Autumn Calving Herds
After calving the target is to not lose more than 1CS (NZ, Aust) or 0.5CS (UK). The second target is to be gaining condition score on all cows before AI starts.
Pasture Covers & Current Growth Rates
Current grazing conditions are as close to perfect as is possible on most farms in the UK. Many farms are very dry & it is the dryness rather than the soil temperatures (10-12 degrees C) that is limiting growth.
Northern Ireland 2300kgs DM/ha cover & 20kgsDM/ha/day growth.
Cumbria 2150 & 25
Cumbria 2300 & 16
Derbyshire 2312 & 42
Shropshire 2400 & 35
Staffordshire 2240 & 21
Staffordshire 2325 & 20
North Wales 2620 & 50
South West Wales 2630 & 45
South East Wales 2480 & 31
Gloucestershire 2460 & 44 soil temp 12.5 degrees C
Somerset 2350 & 25
Devon 2550 & 68

1 comment:

  1. In the photos Cow 28 is calving first half of Feb, Cow 2 second half Feb & Cow 33 second half of March.So these cows are 100,115 & 145 days from calving. Kevin is using shaving foam to identify cows to be drafted for drying off.