Late lactation nutrition - tips

Late lactation nutrition - tips

As we approach the latter end of lactation for spring calving herds, cows can face several challenges.

The late lactation period is a very important yet often one of the most neglected periods of lactation.

Herd health challenges in late lactation

  • Body condition score
  • Milk production
  • Milk components
  • Heat stress due to the recent period of hot weather

There are several ways to nutritionally manage these challenges on farm and the nutrition team at Specialist Nutrition can tailor management strategies to meet individual farm needs.

Buffer feeding can help in managing Body Condition Score

Managing body condition score (BCS) is a delicate balance and where BCS drops too low or goes too high, cows will be under pressure. A BSC of 3.0-3.5 is the optimum target at drying off with the management of BCS going hand in hand with the management of late lactation milk.

As grass quality and grass production starts to decline, a well-balanced buffer feed should be introduced to the herd to assist in managing BCS and milk production while targeting any specific health concerns of the herd.

Moist feeds such as Eornagold provide a palatable, energy rich feed that is an excellent source of fibre and minerals, acting as a great base to build a buffer feed for all levels of production.

Maximise Butterfats this summer

The introduction of a rumen protected fat like Butterfat Extra, a great source of C16 fatty acids, can be a direct support to butterfat production.

Butterfat Extra provides the building blocks for milk fat synthesis, increasing the milk value per litre while also allowing the energy density of the diet to be increased without negatively impacting rumen function.

Acidosis – get it under control

Rumen function is always important but particularly at the later stage of lactation to combat acidosis and ensure good nutrient absorption to assist with body condition.

Rumen enhancers increase the rumen's efficiency by creating an environment that allows for the complete digestion of ration ingredients, resulting in better absorption.

A buffer works to reduce the rumen acidity commonly seen when feeding diets designed to maximise milk production. Combining an enhancer and a buffer, you help optimise rumen function throughout lactation, particularly during this crucial period.

Vistacell AB farm pack combines a high dose of live yeast from Vistacell with the unique marine mineral matrix of AcidBuf to enhance and buffer the rumen. This combination helps to balance milk production, components and BCS during late lactation.

Be proactive on hoof health

Hoof health is an area that is commonly seen to be problematic and may require action before the dry period to minimise long term impact.

Proactive hoof treatment is good practice to prevent small problems from becoming big problems avoiding subclinical lameness in the herd. With the change in the weather from recent hot, dry weather to damper conditions, it is not uncommon to see a sharp increase in stone bruises, claw abscesses and infection.

While foot paring and rubber supports may be required, nutrition is an essential part of proactive hoof care, particularly after the mid-lactation period, where feed levels have been at their lowest.

Biotin is essential in the diet to support better hoof health. Biotin is synthesised in the rumen, but this B-Group vitamin's bioavailability depends on the formulation of the diet being fed. Biotin also directly affects the production of glucose by the cow, impacting her milk production.

Support hoof production year-round in cows by supplementing with biotin when buffer feeding

Talk to Specialist Nutrition today about proactive management strategies for late lactation in spring calving herds.

Call 051 833071 or WhatsApp Amy on +353 87 408 1002