SEARCH:

Purina Dry Cow Program - Prepare

Take A Comprehensive Approach To Dry Cow Care

Highly Specific Nutrition For Highly Specific Needs

Purina Dry Cow Feeds Work With Your Kind Of Forage

Check The Checkpoints
 

 

Dry Cow Management Worksheet

Aim For An Extra Ton Of Milk In Her Next Lactation

Primary Disorders That Predispose Dairy Cows To Secondary Disorders

Purina Is Ready To Serve Your Dry Cow Needs

 

Take A Comprehensive Approach To Dry Cow Care
Nutrition is the most important factor in a dry cow program. But even the best ration can't deliver the desired results if other needs aren't being met. These include surroundings which are safe, comfortable, and as free from stresses as possible. The cow must also have appropriate vaccinations and internal and external parasites control.

A mandatory part of an evaluation process is the Dry Cow Body Condition Score, a standard method of judging the cow's amount of body condition. It not only reveals information about the individual cow, but says a lot about feeding practices. The dry cow should maintain a 3.5 body condition score. It is important that the cow not be over conditioned, because excessive condition at calving time can bring on problems that are serious and perhaps even life threatening. If you don't yet measure dry cow condition, your Purina representative can help you get started.

Highly Specific Nutrition For Highly Specific Needs
At drying off, the cow requires a ration that is capable of satisfying a number of totally different needs. The goal is to maintain a healthy rumen with a bulky high forage ration. This may help reduce disorders around calving and ease the transition to a lactation program. The alveoli cells of the mammary gland are rebuilding for the next lactation. The cow's body also is meeting increased demands of the fetus, which adds two-thirds of its weight in the 60-90 days (last trimester) before birth.

To meet all criteria, a correct amount of energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and forage must be fed. Intake is also important because frequently there is a loss of appetite as calving time nears. These diverse needs of the dry cow make it imperative that a full measure of appropriate nutrients be consumed.

About 14-21 days before freshening, still another adjustment should be made in the feeding program. These "close-up" cows should be separated, and switched to a feeding program that prepares them to make a transition to a lactating cow.

During these last weeks of the dry period, the ration may need to be evaluated for correct cation-anion balance to help lower the risk of metabolic disorders like milk fever. Purina Prep-Plus is made specifically for this, and is available as either a complete feed or concentrate. Ask Purina for more information.

Purina Dry Cow Feeds Work With Your Kind Of Forage
No ration for dry cows can deliver top results without the right forages. The forage must provide a substantial part of the requirements for energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber, but it must not contribute so much nutrition that it creates problems.

For example, corn silage can be used as an energy source, but too much will make cows too fat. Alfalfa is an excellent source of protein, but its high mineral content may trigger milk fever unless intake is limited. In most situations, grass forages will have a place in the dry cow's ration.

A dry cow feeding program will vary from farm to farm, depending on the forages and quality of the feed. A typical ration is outlined in the chart on the back. To get a general idea of what a dry cow program would mean to your operation, use your own figures to make estimates of feed costs and milk value.

Because forage quality is so important, and the nutrition it provides can vary, Purina Mills offers its customers a Forage Analysis Service. Ask your Purina representative for details.

Dry Cow Ration
60 - Day Supply For One Dry Cow

Lb

Feed

Cost/Value

2000

Corn Silage

$

1000

Grass Hay

$

415

Purina Prepare Complete

$

or

135

Purina Prepare Concentrate

$

280

Grain

$

TOTAL COST........................................................................

$

Projected Value Extra Milk

$

Gross Return Over Feed Cost

$



This ration will supply the correct amounts of energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber for a typical (1,400 lb after calving) dry cow. Its most obvious value is in the extra milk, but still more economic benefits might be a shortened reproductive cycle, a healthier calf, and less time and money spent on treating disorders.

Prepare Complete and Concentrate:
Feed approximately 5 pounds of Prepare Complete or approximately 2 pounds of Concentrate plus grain along with good quality forages. Consult your Purina representative for more specific feeding recommendations to enhance cow condition.

Complete or Concentrate:
As the cow approaches 3 weeks before calving, initiate a transition feeding program. Feed Prepare up to .50 to .75% of the cow's bodyweight.

Concentrate only:
Mix concentrate with grain and feed according to Purina's recommendations.

Check The Checkpoints.
We urge you to print off the valuable list of "CHECKPOINTS" to help you identify factors on your farm that can affect the quality of your dry cow.

Reviewing this list, either by yourself or with your Purina representative, can show you areas of opportunity to improve your dry cow program. Or it might just show you what a good job you're already doing!

Analyze Your Total Dry Cow Program For Optimum Results
Many factors influence dry cow performance, and a good program needs to consider all of them. The main factors can be categorized as Cow, Management, Environment, and Feed.

Use these exclusive Purina "Checkpoints" to evaluate your current dry cow management practices. The more detailed and accurate the information you provide, the more effective the checkpoints will be in designing the best program.

Checkpoint Instructions:

  1. Go through every category and check each factor: Check "Yes" if the item is true for your farm, or "No" if the situation is not true. If you're not sure, or you need more information to answer a question, check the "?" column. You will need to print off a copy so you can document your responses.
  2. Gather the information you need to accurately answer the "?" items, then go back and check "Yes" or "No" on them.
  3. The items marked "No" are the risk factors most likely to be contributing to a problem. That means you need to develop a program to eliminate or reduce those factors. In the space to the right of the checkpoint, jot down an appropriate response. (For example, if you check "No" after "Daily Exercise", a simple solution might be "Turn cows out more.") A combination of both immediate and long-term changes is the most effective way to make significant improvements.
  4. Reevaluate the checklist every 6 months. If you make any changes in your operation, reevaluate them. A good program must be proactive, not just reactive, so you need to be aware.

It's important to remember that just as there are many factors which can cause problems, there are many solutions. Deciding what and how to change will depend on your herd's situation and the factors identified. There's no single best answer that applies to every dairy farm.

THE FIRST STEPS
If you're serious about dry cow nutrition and management, certain measures need to be taken and continued.

  1. Feed and manage dry cows separately from the milking herd in order to meet their specific nutritional needs.
  2. Dry cows off at a condition score of 3.5.
  3. Balance your dry cow rations to provide correct amounts of nutrients.
  4. Reduce stress from environment and housing.
  5. Establish a dry cow health-maintenance program.

Talk to a Purina representative about how we can help. A good dry cow program can pay you back with healthier, more productive cows, but the success of the program requires your commitment. You already have ours.

VIEW OR PRINT THE PURINA DRY COW WORKSHEET

Aim For An Extra Ton Of Milk In Her Next Lactation.
A cow given special care during the dry period is worth the added investment in time and money. Most problems in early lactation have their origins in the dry period (as shown in the chart below). Dairy cows have untapped genetic potential that can be accessed by following a well-managed dry cow program. Purina research and extensive on-the-farm experience have shown that a dry cow, which is properly fed and cared for in the weeks prior to calving, will significantly outperform one that gets inadequate attention. That extra productivity can total 1,000 to 2,000 lb of milk - and sometimes more - in the lactation that follows.

The extra milk is more than enough to justify special dry cow care, but there are other major benefits, as well. A cow that begins her lactation in ideal condition is far less likely to have costly metabolic or other disorders. The end result is an animal that's more healthy and productive, and cycles and rebreeds on schedule.

Increasing your herd's efficiency through better dry cow management has the added advantage of fast return on the investment. Unlike improved genetics or other long-range goals, which may take several years to pay off, the dividends essentially begin in just 60 days.

Primary Disorders That Predispose Dairy Cows To Secondary Disorders

 

  

Primary Disorder

Secondary Disorder

Milk Fever

Dystocia

Retained Placenta

Metritis

Displaced Abomasum

Ketosis

Dystocia

X

              

Retained Placenta

X

X

            

Metritis

X

X

X

  

­*

­*

Displaced Abomasum

X

X

X

­*

      

Ketosis

X

X

X

X

   

­*

Low Conception Rate

X

X

X

X

X

X



Dr. Jack Britt, North Carolina State University
­*Other Interrelationships Can Occur Based Upon The Severity Of The Primary Disorder

Purina Is Ready To Serve Your Dry Cow Needs With Feeds And Information
Purina has made a commitment to dry cow research, resulting in numerous breakthroughs in nutrition and management practices - and a complete line of dry cow feeds, including Purina Prepare and Prep-Plus. Your Purina representative has detailed information about these feeds, and welcomes an opportunity to help you select the perfect products for your cows and goals.