“If you are going to group milk cows, start with the 2-year-olds,” said Bill Weiss of The Ohio State University, “you will get the most bang for your buck.”

That was a key takeaway from Weiss who shared his thoughts at the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in his presentation, “Considerations for cow grouping strategies.”

The first priority in grouping milk cows should be the 2-year-olds,” Weiss said in reinforcing his message. There are five key reasons to separating this group. Once separated, these young cows will:

1. Lie down more often.
2. Eat more feed.
3. Eat more frequent meals, improving rumen health.
4. Be exposed to fewer aggressive interactions.
5. And because of the previous four reasons, these 2-year-old cows will give more milk.

“There are other grouping strategies, including separating fresh cows or late-lactation cows,” said The Ohio State University nutritionist. “However, the first priority should be separating 2-year-olds.”

“Overall, I recommend dairy farmers put their energy in two, or at most three, production groups,” concluded Weiss.

To comment, email your remarks to intel@hoards.com.
(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2017
January 3, 2017
Subscribe to Hoard's Dairyman Intel by clicking the button below