These days target condition scores for cows at calving are almost as common knowledge as to which Red Band goes on which foot. We all know that achieving body condition scores of 5 for cows and 5.5 for heifers at calving is critical for :
- maximising milk-solids potential
- reducing disease
- encouraging earlier cycling and
- therefore better in-calf rates
Where condition score knowledge and focus becomes a bit hazy
, is the period between calving and mating.
This is unfortunate because if these follow-on targets are not met, many of the production gains mentioned above are lost.
Cows and heifers should not lose more than 1 condition score between calving and the planned start of mating. All animals will naturally lose body condition during early lactation as a result of their daily feed intakes not matching their requirements for milk production, walking and maintenance. Energy balance remains in the red for seven weeks in cows (eight weeks for heifers and older animals) over which time they will be ‘milking off their back’. The sooner an animal sees the end of ‘the red’ and her condition score begins to increase the greater her chances are of getting in-calf in the first six weeks of mating.
Regular condition scoring of the herd between calving and mating allows early detection and management of
excessive or extended negative energy balance. With our vets being on farm regularly throughout this period, taking five minutes to record herd scores into Infovet’s condition scoring module will provide an accurate and useful depiction of where your herd is sitting ensuring any problems are identified and dealt with swiftly, saving your bottom line.
Talk to us today about how Infovet body condition scoring can assist you to improve productivity.