These are valid reasons to milk cows OAD in early lactation, but DairyNZ research has shown there are significant milk production penalties, and it neither reduces BCS loss, nor improves reproduction:
- Cows milked OAD for three weeks in early lactation produced 7% less milk than cows milked twice-a-day (TAD)
- Cows milked OAD for six weeks after calving produce 12% less MS per year
- Total milksolids (MS) production declines 4.2% when the herd is milked OAD for three weeks
- A shorter period of OAD milking, or only milking OAD during the colostrum period will minimise milk production losses
- Milking cows OAD during a feed restriction in early lactation reduced MS production by 50% more than the restriction alone, indicating that the negative effects of feed restriction and milking OAD are additive
- Milking cows OAD in early lactation did not affect liveweight or BCS loss, submission rate, either three or six week in-calf rate, or final empty rate.
DairyNZ advises farmer to complete a full farm systems analysis and consider carefully when deciding if they should milk OAD in early lactation.