Canton, New York; August 31, 2021. The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) is funding research that is evaluating how pre-calving feed management impacts post-calving cow health. The project is making one of the first applications of the Metabolic Health Index adapted by the Overton laboratory at Cornell University to identify cows that may be at higher risk of post-calving health issues, such as ketosis, hypocalcaemia, or poorer adaptation to lactation.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Regional Dairy Specialist Casey Havekes, in collaboration with Cornell PRO-DAIRY Director Thomas Overton, Ph.D., is working with dairy herds in northern New York to develop a data-based understanding of the feeding management factors that influence cow health during the transition period from 2 weeks prior to calving to 3 weeks post-calving.
“The transition period from pre-calving to post-calving is a critical time for maintaining cow health for successful calving and for maintaining a strong future for that cow in the dairy herd. With this project, we are looking to identify the nutritional and management characteristics in the pre-calving cow diet that influence post-calving cow health,” explained Havekes.
“Prior to the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program funding of this project, there has been little to no research done at scale on the impact of feeding management in the dry cow diet on cow health through the transition period,” said Overton.
Nutrient content, moisture level, and forage particle size of the cows’ ration pre-calving, the cows’ eating behavior through the transition period; and blood metabolite indicators are among the factors under evaluation by the researchers.
Cornell University research has estimated the cost of treating hypocalcaemia and ketosis to be respectively $335 and $117 for each case per cow.
The results of this 2021 research project will be posted on the NNYADP website at https://www.nnyagdev.org.
Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Legislature and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.