The most critical period for a dairy cow is from calving until peak production.
It would be a shame to let your initial investment of lead feed in springing cows go to waste by not managing your cows over the first 8 to 10 weeks of lactation.
Given the cow has just been through the most stressful event (calving) she will endure for the season she is going to require close attention. The most important objective is to get the cows dry matter intakes as high as possible in a short space of time. When a cow is dry her dry matter intake is less than 50% of her peak intake. Given that her peak intake determines peak production it is critical that we encourage the cow to eat as much as we can, this can also reduce the chance of a metabolic disorder.
For years cows have been bred for production. A cows main focus once calved is to produce milk. During this early stage of lactation the cow will search her entire body for energy and protein in order to produce milk. Supplementary feeding can play a very important role in this stage of the lactation. It assists in providing high energy dense feeds to the cow which helps reduce her nutritional deficiencies. Once peak intake of dry matter is reached she will use stored body weight as source of energy (resulting in weight loss). The challenge is to convert the cow from a negative energy balance (losing weight) to a positive energy balance (gaining condition), as the next objective in the cows lactation is to get her pregnant for next season. This is important as a cow will not start to cycle until a positive energy balance has been reached .