For years, experts said that you needed to maximize dry-cow feed intake to prevent metabolic disorders and encourage high intakes post-calving. However, research presented at the Midwest Dairy Herd Health Conference last week shows that keeping feed intake from dropping may be more important.

"We think minimizing feed-intake suppression rather than maximizing feed intake seems to be the key," says Ric Grummer, University of Wisconsin dairy nutritionist. If you are having difficulty maintaining high intakes during the transition period, think about feeding a higher-fiber diet to help keep intakes more consistent.