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Feeding Late Lactation Spring Calved Cows

Feeding Late Lactation Spring Calved Cows

What and how much you feed will be dependent on your cows yield, current and target calving BCS and current milk price.


As a consequence of not building enough of a grass cover in September, grass levels on farm have dropped rapidly in October. Hopefully you still have some grass in your cows’ diet. It’s imperative that you clean paddocks out during the last round while closing the farm with enough grass on-board to ensure you have grass next spring.

Farm Cover Targets:

Stocking Rate (Lu/ha) 2.5 3 3.5
Farm Cover At Housing 550-600 kgDM/ha 600-650 kgDM/ha 700-750 kgDM/ha


Mineral and vitamin nutrition for your cows:

  1. Leafy autumn grass is high in potash, therefore Mg is required to guard against tetany
  2. Autumn grass is low in Se, Cu, I, Zn


Manage BCS

A late lactation body condition score of your cows is vital in deciding what level of feed is required now and across the winter. Do your cows need to gain condition score from here until Christmas or can they afford to lose a bit of body condition? Milking cows gain condition more efficiently than dry cows. If your cows need to gain some condition an extra spend on concentrates now, could save in the long term.


Do your cows need to gain some condition or are they ok?

To gain 1 unit of Body Condition Score requires 200 UFL. To gain a of a condition score add 1kg to the levels of concentrates recommended in the “possible diets” on page 5.


Maintaining Milk Lactose

Milk lactose is affected by stage of lactation and energy nutrition. Every effort must be taken to keep lactose percentages as high as possible now to prevent milk price deductions and forced early drying off.

Lactose levels of less than 4.45% affect your monthly balance score card, if your lactose levels are less than 4.2% it will affect both your balance score card and monthly base price. With the correct management these figures should be a long way off.


What do I do if lactose is low?

  1. Dry off cows yielding less than 10 ltrs.
  2. Feed your cows an appropriate level of concentrate based on how much if any grass your cows are grazing
  3. Top up concentrates on wet days


From the table farmer B is feeding 3.5kg more concentrates to his cows than Farmer A but he is allocating 6kg DM less grass daily and despite the higher concentrate levels he’s feeding his cows less energy. Farmer C has bridged the gap by introducing some grass silage (4kgDM silage per cow = 1 round bale per 50 cows).


Farmer A Farmer B Farmer c
Grass Allowance (kgDM) 14 8 8
Concentrate feeding (kg Fresh) 2.5 6 4.5
Alfalfa (kg Fresh) 0 0 6
Overall intake 16.2 13.2 17.3
UFL intake 15.0 12.9 15.3


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