June 2010 Final Word

Make sure to feel adequate, but not excessive amounts of trace mineral and vitamins to help maintain your cows’ immune function during the transition period, suggests Bill Weiss, Ohio State University dairy nutritionist.

“Selenium and vitamin E are especially critical,” he says, since they have been shown to reduce the prevalence and severity of mastitis. While the current National Research Council’s recommendations for vitamin E appear adequate for more situations, you may want to consider increase vitamin E supplementation during the pre-fresh period.

Data suggest that higher intakes (greater than 1,000 international units per day) of vitamin E may be beneficial. Studies show that pre-fresh cows fed 2,000 to 4,000 international units per day had improved mammary gland health compared with cows fed 1,000 international units per day.