feeding a close-up diet for the entire 60-day dry period is not a good idea, according to Cornell University research.

The study, published in the February Journal of Dairy Science, revealed several negative consequences associated with feeding cows a close-up diet  — one that is higher in protein and energy — for the entire 60-day dry period. For instance, 10 out of 177 cows fed a close-up diet for the entire dry period suffered a displaced abomasum during their next lactation, but only one out of 171 cows fed a close-up diet for just the 21 days before calving experienced a DA in the next lactation. Cows fed the close-up diet for the entire dry period also had about five more days to first AI service. However, milk yield was not significantly different between the two treatments.

Bottom line: The health consequences of feeding a close-up diet for a 60-day dry period — not to mention the added feed cost   — outweigh the advantage of one group, one ration.