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Body condition score cows

Body condition is critical to a successful breeding season. Identifying thin cows early allows steps to be taken to improve their body condition in good time. The first step is to body condition score all animals in the herd. The next step is to provide extra care and attention to thinner animals

Normally on farms the percentage of cows falling below the target body condition score of 2.75 prior to mating is less than 5% of the herd.

The first 2 cows in the cattle race 2294 and 2286 are below the target body condition score of 2.75 at mating. Both of these animals are second lactation animals producing 2.20kg of milk solids currently. These cows require extra care and attention in order to increase the condition score.

Increasing cow body condition score

The steps that should be taken with this group of cows can be any of the following or a combination of them:

  • Once a day milking – cows come into the parlour twice a day for feeding but are only milked once. In larger herds these animals may be grouped together for preferential treatment, grazed closer to the milking parlour for less walking etc.
  • Feed the cows fully with 24-36 hour allocations of grass with covers of 1,400 -1,500 kg dry matter per hectare of high DMD perennial ryegrass swards and supplement with concentrates where necessary to cover minerals etc. Do not use strip wires unless weather dictates otherwise. 
  • Top up the level of concentrates fed to the thinner cows. This in combination with once –a-day milking would result in an increase in cow body condition.


For more information go to Breeding Week