South Africa

Health Care

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Dairy cows: Trace mineral supplementation strategy at Dry-Off

Why do we say top-up with MULTIMIN® at dry-off? During dry-off, dairy cows are subjected to major stressors, such as the abrupt cessation in milking, mammary gland discomfort and physiological imbalances that include altered energy, immune, and hormonal states. This major physiological transition from lactating to nonlactating may compromise the animal’s health and well-being.

For instance, a cow entering the dry period is in her last trimester of gestation, when foetal growth is quickest, milk production rapidly declines, and social stressors may be caused by being moved to new pens with new groups of cows. Research by Putman et al (2018), has demonstrated that the biomarkers of altered nutrient metabolism, inflammation, and oxidative stress, changes during the initial stages of mammary involution.

Dry cows are generally fed a higher fibre diet to reduce costs and meet nutrient requirements. A typical dry Holstein cow eats 50 to 60% less dry matter than a lactating cow during peak dry matter intake. A dry cow also has a lower nutrient requirement than the equivalent cow producing 30 kg of milk. However, an abrupt transition from lactating cow ration to dry cow ration frequently causes a sharp reduction in the daily intake of other nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In certain parts of South Africa, dry cows often graze in pasture systems where mineral supplementation and/or intake could be limited.

The potential stresses imposed on high-yielding cows entering the early dry period are similar to early lactation. It can be assumed that they will experience some changes in nutrient metabolism, oxidative stress and inflammation, that may collectively cause metabolic stress (Putman et al. 2018). This metabolic stress could effect the cows readiness for the important transition period to follow shortly.

Supplying an injectable trace mineral supplementation like MULTIMIN®, at or before dry-off, is recommended to ensure adequate amounts of the most important trace minerals are available during this period of increased demand, to counter the possible negative effects experienced by cows during the dry-off phase.

Putman AK, Brown JL, Gandy GC, Wisnieski L, Sordillo LM. Changes in biomarkers of nutrient metabolism, inflammation and oxidative stress in dairy cows during the transition into the early dry period. J Dairy Sci. 2018 Oct 1:101(10):9350-9.

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