A nutritional evaluation of an Irish dairy herd indicated gross overfeeding of late lactation cows, over-conditioning of cows at parturition and a high rate of body condition loss in early lactation. Metabolisable-energy based nutritional modelling software was used to guide recommended dietary changes to prevent excessive condition gain in late lactation. Immediately following the implementation of the changes there was an unexpected reduction in performance affecting both milk yield and protein concentration. An investigation into the poor performance revealed underestimation of peak milk yield; over-estimation of maize silage quality; a large difference in the concentrate being fed compared to the concentrate recommended, and failure of the blend of concentrate ingredients to maintain the intended proportions in the in-parlour feeding system. The estimated maximum cumulative effect of these errors was to cause undersupply of energy and protein in the recommended diet of 16% and 3% respectively to cows in early lactation. Use of a net-energy nutritional model would have indicated a requirement for a higher energy supply in this case. This report highlights the challenges in obtaining accurate on-farm data for use in dairy cow nutritional models.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Irish Veterinary Journal|
|Publication status||Print publication - 1 Nov 2010|