The way dry and pre-fresh cows are housed and managed ultimately determines the level of production they can achieve.

“A good transition means reduced stress, reduced fresh cow problems, improved production with a better start, a higher peak milk production, and more persistent lactation curve,” says John Tyson, agricultural engineer with Penn State Extension. “Added benefits would be a better breeding program with a healthier cow and added longevity in the herd with a lower cull rate.”

Despite all the benefits, however, transition-cow facilities are very expensive on a per-stall or per-square-foot basis.

“This often leads to transition housing being reduced in the budget or cut completely out of the budget,” Tyson says.

He advises looking at the cost on a total herd basis rather than looking at the cost per animal housed in the transition group.

Read more in Transition Cow Housing and Management in the February 2013 Penn State Dairy Digest.