Sixty-five Holstein cows were used to evaluate management schemes involving altered dry period (DP) lengths on subsequent milk production, energy balance (EB), and metabolic variables. Cows were assigned to one of 3 treatments: traditional 56-d DP (fed a low-energy diet from -56 to -29 d and a moderate energy diet from -28 d to parturition; T), 28-d DP (continuously fed a high energy diet; S), and no planned DP (continuously fed a high energy diet; N). Prepartum DM intake (DMI), measured from 56 d prepartum through parturition, was lower for cows on the T treatment than for cows on the S treatment and was higher for cows on the N treatment than for cows on the S treatment. There were no differences in prepartum plasma glucose, and β-hydroxybutryric acid; there was a treatment by time interaction for prepartum plasma nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA). There was no difference in prepartum liver triglyceride (TG); postpartum liver TG was decreased for cows on the N treatment compared with cows on the S treatment, but was similar for cows on the T and S treatments. Postpartum NEFA was similar between cows on the T and S treatments, but was greater for cows on the S treatment than for cows on the N treatment. Postpartum glucose was greater for cows on the N treatment compared with cows on the S treatment and tended to be greater for cows on the S treatment than for cows on the T treatment. There was no difference in postpartum solids-corrected milk (SCM) production or DMI by cows on the T vs. S treatment. However, there was a tendency toward lower postpartum SCM production by cows on the N vs. S treatment and a tendency for greater postpartum DMI by cows on the N vs. S treatment. Postpartum EB was greater for cows on the S vs. T treatment and the N vs. S treatment. In general, T and S management schemes had similar effects on DMI, SCM, and metabolic variables in the first 70 d of the subsequent lactation. Eliminating the DP improved energy and metabolic status.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc., Church and Dwight Co., Inc., Degussa Bioactives, Diamond V Mills, Inc., Kemin Industries, Land O’ Lakes, Inc., Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., and ZinPro Corporation for providing financial support for this experiment. The authors also thank Linda Cunningham, Randy Jones, and Sandy Trower for care and feeding of the cows and sampling assistance. The skilled laboratory assistance of Christina Baker, Lindsi Hagen, and Christopher Long was appreciated.
- Dry period length
- Energy density
- Transition period