The dry cow dilemma


“The mammary gland is especially susceptible to infections the first and last two weeks of the dry period”

Dry cows are especially susceptible to post-partum disorders. Cows that go through the dry period, without any transition disorders, are less prone to leaving the herd in early lactation, likely to produce more milk and become pregnant sooner.

Dry-cow therapy, the use of teat sealants, minimising stress and feeding well-balanced diets, have all been shown to minimise the number of disorders.

In addition, trace minerals play an essential role in maintaining proper foetal development, reproductive function, mastitis control, immune function and hoof health during the dry period.

Dairy cattle that become lame in the first 30 days of lactation suffer from increased incidence of ovarian cysts, lower first service conception rates and lower pregnancy rates. In addition to a good claw maintenance programme, cattle on a good trace mineral programme in the dry and pre-fresh period show reduced incidence of claw lesions. Zinpro Performance Minerals® reduces the incidences of sole lesions.

Preventing intramammary infections in the dry period may reduce clinical mastitis in the subsequent lactation. Feeding cows a combination of zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt from Zinpro Performance Minerals® reduces mastitis risks and reductions in SCC, especially when supplementation begins in the dry period and continues through lactation versus supplementing cows only in the lactation period.

In a summary of 20 trials, SCC was only reduced by 7,4% when cows were supplemented only in the lactation period compared to 14,9% reduction in SCC when cows received Zinpro Performance Minerals® in both the dry and lactation periods. Another benefit of Zinpro Performance Minerals® for the dry cow, is increased IgG content of colostrum. Supplementing dry cows with Zinpro Performance Minerals® resulted in a 23,8% increase in IgG content of colostrum.

The heavily pregnant dry cow transfers a substantial amount of trace minerals to the growing foetus. This ensures that the calf is born with an adequate trace mineral supply. By supplementing organic trace minerals from the beginning of the dry period, we increase the likelihood that both the cow and calf attain optimal trace mineral status and are able to get through the stressful transition period with minimal health problems.

Multiple research studies have shown that even cows with adequate trace mineral status respond positively to Zinpro Performance Minerals®. Therefore, transition cows not only require adequate trace minerals stores, but also highly bioavailable sources in the diet to meet their continued need for foetal development, the impending birth process, immune system development and metabolic system enhancement in the subsequent lactation.

Zinpro and Chemuniqué are committed to improving the trace mineral status of dry cows. Talk to your nutritionist or feed sales representative about the inclusion of Zinpro Performance Minerals® in the diets of your dry cows.

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