The transition period is a critical time with lasting effects on the dairy cow’s reproductive performance. If proper management is not implemented, high reproductive efficiency cannot be obtained and success of the dairy operation is sacrificed, shared Dr. Michael Overton at the 2010 DCRC Annual Meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota. Cows that experience challenges during the transition period have more difficulty becoming pregnant due to several factors, including a decline in dry matter intake (DMI) as well as various environmental, social and nutrition-related challenges.

Dr. Overton stressed the importance of proper management during all phases of the transition period. Appropriate management and monitoring of the far-off dry cows, close-up dry cows and fresh cows were all discussed, providing recommendations to dairy operations during this critical time. Specifically, the proper ways of handling transition cows relative to total days dry, nutritional requirements, DMI, housing and cow comfort were all explained. Although more attention is typically focused toward time closer to calving, increasing evidence supports that many transition period problems often originate during the far-off dry period.

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