Pre-fresh rumination patterns provide reliable indication of a cow’s susceptibility to post-fresh health issues. A healthy cow will consistently ruminate around 500 minutes per day.
In February 2013, a 1000-cow dairy was experiencing higher-than-average rate of fresh cow health issues.
A closer examination of the affected cows indicated that the affected cows all ruminated less than 200 minutes per day prior to calving. That is far below “normal” rumination levels of around 500 minutes per day. Low rumination levels in dry and close up pens are one of three rumination patterns that are predictive of cow susceptibility to post-freshening health issues.
Individual cow rumination graph. Low pre-fresh rumination evident pre-calving.
The group rumination graph for the pre-fresh pen revealed that two months prior, in late December, 2012, rumination of the entire group began on a gradual decrease.
Average Rumination Minutes by Group graph. Pre-fresh pen rumination began dropping about a month and a half prior to fresh pen rumination declining.
Further questioning revealed that the dairy changed the pre-fresh ration on December 21st, 2012 which started a gradual decline in average rumination minutes for a month and a half. The ration change wasn’t working for the cows. Once a new ration was delivered, average rumination began climbing and fresh cow problems drastically declined.
We always say that a correct definition of the problem is 80% of the solution. In this case study, the fresh cow issues were only a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself.
Subscribe to Profitable Milk HERE