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The transition period in a dairy cow's life, spanning three weeks pre and post-calving, is crucial. During this time, your cows shift from late pregnancy to lactation. The page outlines important management steps to ensure a successful transition and optimise performance. These include reaching target body condition scores, identifying at-risk animals, allocating feed according to body condition scores, supplementing with magnesium and calcium, keeping dietary calcium levels low pre-calving, maintaining dietary phosphorus within specific limits, and avoiding grazing in recently fertilised paddocks. Implementing these practices can help maintain the health and productivity of your herd.
A cow's transition period is generally three weeks pre- until three weeks post-calving, and is one of the most important periods of a dairy cow's life. During the transition period, a cow moves from late pregnancy into lactation.
Dairy cows face many physiological challenges during this time. Appropriate management is vital to ensure a successful transition from late pregnancy to early lactation. This will optimise performance (health, milk production and reproduction) in the season ahead. Use the checklist below to stay on track.
Waikato farmer Peter Miedema and his InCalf Adviser Katrina Roberts explain how down cow issues led to the uncovering of a widespread magnesium deficiency in his herd.