On average, it is estimated that 30% to 50% of dairy cows suffer from some form of metabolic and infectious diseases at a significant financial cost to producers. These are associated with higher clinical disease risk, reduced production and reduced reproductive performance.
Transitioning cows properly is essential to the success and profitability of the lactation.
Early identification and intervention are key to minimizing the effect of these health issues. While the conventional herd management approach focuses on identifying potential health issues postpartum, electronic animal monitoring herd management enables detection of health issues before calving.
Research indicates that lower rumination time in pre-fresh cows is highly correlated to the occurrence of metabolic and other disease post-freshening (to read research click here).
Thus, how do we find these at-risk cows?
There are two behaviors we look for on a daily basis. The first change in behavior we are looking for is a drop in rumination, either during a single day or over a period of several days. The second change in behavior is extremely low ruminating cows. Both behaviors are picked up by the Health report.
Health report screenshot, note three dry cows on the report. these cows are showing a downturn in behavior.
To completely account for cows that would not appear on the Health report (cows that are ruminating less than the average number of minutes in the pen yet are not extremely low ruminators) we look at the Pre-Fresh Cow report once a week.
Pre-Fresh Cow Report. Inspect rumination graphs of cows that are below average pen rumination levels.
To find those potentially problematic cows, the report is sorted by rumination minutes. Graphs of cows that are ruminating less than the pen average should be inspected. Cows with abnormal rumination pattern should be inspected and treated.
Rumination graph of a lower than pen average ruminating cow with abnormal rumination pattern. At 11 DIM she was diagnosed with Ketosis, at 13 DIM she was diagnosed with a DA.
As for treating these pre-fresh cows, producers report that the use of drenches and microbials usually do the job with these challenged cows.
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