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Feeding the dairy cow and achieving spring grazing targets in early lactation


Joe Patton joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast to discuss how to strike the balance between feeding the dairy cow and achieving spring grazing targets in early lactation.

Joe explains that there are many dynamics associated with early lactation nutrition as cows are metabolically at their most stressed post calving and grazing conditions can be challenging.

Joe quantifies the dairy cow intake at 10-11 kg post-calving, which tends to rise by 1 kg per week for the first 4 weeks and 0.5 kg per week from week 5-8 of lactation, from which point cows tend to be at maximum intake of 17-19 kg in grazing systems.

To feed the cow sufficiently, Joe recommends that farmers target to get two bouts of grazing each day where weather conditions allow plus concentrate supplement.

Concentrate should include a high quality source of cereal (maize/barley), fibre (hulls, beat pulp) and protein (distillers, soya) as well as minerals (calmag, salt, limestone and trace minerals).

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast visit the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thedairyedge