The management of cows in early lactation is a fine balance between using the cow’s genetic milk production potential on the one hand and getting the cows in calf at the time when their negative energy balance is at its highest on the other hand.
Increasing production levels have gradually led to a reduction in reproduction, for example, fewer cows showing standing heat, and shorter and less intense heat behaviour.
Finding the problem
Pay attention to the number of high-yielding first lactions, second lactations and older cows. You also need to pay attention to the extent of early loss of embryo.
As a consequence of increased production levels and a higher feed intake, the pregnancy rate and embryo quality will be reduced. For high-yielding cows, the physiological stress level may be so high that it will not be possible to avoid a negative effect on reproduction, even with good management.
The management of dry cows and feeding cows in the transition period and early lactation is an essential factor. A prolonged calving interval (12-18 months) may be a beneficial strategy in the case of flat lactation curves (first lactation cows).
- Heat detection
- Dry cow management and feeding during the transition period and in early lactation.
Source: SEGES, Denmark