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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

What's Your New Year's Resolution?

Dairy Pipeline: January 2009

Beverly Cox, Extension Agent
Franklin County
(540) 483-5161, becox@vt.edu

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The new year often brings motivation for change. Itís a chance to evaluate where you are compared to where you want to be. This can apply to your farm as well. Management of transition cows (defined as three weeks before and after calving) may be one area to critically evaluate. This period is crucial to the overall productivity (and ultimately profitability) for each cow. Additionally, the longevity of the cow is often compromised during the transition period, with on average 8.6% of all cows that calve leaving within the first 60 days of lactation (S. Stewart, 2001, When Cows Leave the Herd; John Fetrow et. al., 2003, Monitoring Fresh Cow Programs). A good resolution for this year would be to strive to provide the following for transition cows:

Of course not all of these can be accomplished overnight and facilities may limit some changes. At a minimum everyone can closely monitor fresh cows early after calving and record metabolic diseases. Keep in mind even small changes can make a big difference in performance of transition cows.

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