Increase cow condition
The benefits of having cows in better condition (the target is condition score 5 for mature cows and 5.5 for two and three year old cows) are substantial. A cow calving at condition score 5.0 will produce 12 kg more milk than a cow that calves at condition score 4.0. Cows that are fatter at calving cycle earlier, have higher in-calf rates and are more likely to give birth to a heifer calf the following year7.
|Figure 3: Relationship between BCS at calving and annual milksolids production7|
Maize silage is the premium cow conditioner because:
- Energy from maize silage is used 50% more efficiently for gaining body condition score than energy in autumn pasture.
- Maize silage is highly palatable and large volumes can be safely fed if required.
7 DairyNZ. 2012. DairyNZ body condition scoring. The reference guide for New Zealand dairy farmers.