Calf nutrition
Animal Nutrition

A good dry period for the cow is the best start for your calf

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Proper rearing of calves starts with a good dry period management of the cow. This is, after all, the basis of qualitatively and quantitatively good colostrum. But what is the definition of a good dry period?

Cation-anion balance
A cow that has had a good dry period gives six to eight liters of colostrum in the first milking. The cation-anion balance plays an important role in this production. The ratio between the number of cations (sodium, potassium) and anions (chlorine, sulfur) determines this balance. It has an acidifying or, on the contrary, a buffering effect in the blood.
If the cation-anion balance is too low, the cow starts lactation weakened and will give too little colostrum. If the cation-anion balance is too high, the production of colostrum is too high, which can result in health problems such as ketosis.
Optimize the dry period ration: energy and protein

To prevent a disbalance, it is very important to optimize the dry period ration which also should be very palatable to ensure feed intake. In addition, the feed may not contain too much energy and protein:

  • Feed with too much energy will result in a cow that is too fat during the dry period.
  • Feed with a too high crude protein content, will result in a high colostrum production after calving. As a result, the amount of antibodies is distributed over the total volume, so the amount of antibodies in 1 liter will decrease.

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