A University of Illinois study by Richard Wallace, extension dairy veterinarian, indicates healthy fresh cows maximize both dry matter intake and milk production.
Of 46 cows enrolled in the study, 24 experienced one or more clinical fresh-cow diseases during the first 20 days of lactation, including metritis, retained placenta, milk fever, ketosis, displaced abomasum, and mastitis.
Evaluation of the cows showed the following:
· Cows remaining in good health after calving consumed an average of 10 pounds more dry matter per day, compared to cows with health problems.
· Cows that got sick ate 5 pounds less dry matter on day one post-calving.
· Healthy cows produced 20 pounds more milk per day, on average, compared to clinically ill cows. Healthy cows also could be expected to produce 4,000 pounds more milk during a lactation.