Management of nutrition, including feed delivery and bunk space, can be as important as nutritional composition. Certainly, providing good access to feed throughout the day will help promote intake, according to Trevor DeVries, dairy scientist at the University of Guelph in Canada.
DeVries, who spoke at the recent Cow Longevity Conference in Sweden, sponsored by DeLaval, offered the following suggestions:
• Utilize feeding management strategies that promote dairy cows to consume frequent, small meals throughout the day.
• Make sure that cows have good access to the ration. Good access to clean and palatable water is just as important.
• Deliver feed close to the time of milking, provide frequent feed push-up, and ensure that cows have sufficient space at the feed bunk.
“Cows fed more frequently (4x and 5x daily) tend to consume feed more evenly after each feed delivery, increasing their feeding time throughout the day,” he said. Frequent feeding also helps get subordinate cows to the feed bunk more often without being displaced and reduces the amount of sorting compared to feeding just once a day.