Research Article

Comparison of feeding models in cows during dry period and their effect on the incidence of perinatal diseases as well as on reproductive and productive traits

Alina Janocha  , Anna Milczarek , Katarzyna Kryszak, Dominik Nowak

Institute of Animal Science and Fisheries, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, B. Prusa 14, 08-110 Siedlce, Poland

Abstract. The aim of the study was to evaluate to assess different models of feeding dairy cows during the dry period and their impact on the frequency of perinatal diseases as well as reproductive and production characteristics. The research material was a herd of 67 HF black and white dairy cows with a milk yield of 10,540 kg during 305 lactations. Two cow feeding models based on TMR and PMR systems were used in the study, except that the animals in the experimental period received a feed containing calcium chloride. It was shown, that accurate balancing of feed rations during the dry period reduces the incidence of postpartum disorders. The introduction of a feed containing calcium chloride in the feed ration for cows in the close-up period reduced the occurrence of perinatal diseases, i.e. foetal membrane retention (6.4 vs 33.2%), metritis (3.9 vs 61.3%) and abomasum displacement (2.6 vs 4.4%) and clinical hypocalcemia (2.6 vs 5.9). The use of the PMR system in the close-up period with a gradual increase in the DCAD-negative compound mixture individually proved to be effective in reducing the occurrence of perinatal diseases.

Keywords: dairy cows, nutrition, dry period, metabolic diseases, hypocalcaemia

INTRODUCTION

High intensification of animal production has contributed to an increase in the incidence of diseases associated with metabolic changes during periods of intensive use. This is due in part to inadequate management in dairy cow herds and the significant correlation between immune system efficiency and external factors such as diet and living conditions [Włodarczyk and Budvytis 2011Włodarczyk, R., Budvytis, M. (2011). Proper feeding of high-yielding cows – how to fullfil their productive potential [Właściwe żywienie krów wysoko wydajnych – jak w pełni wykorzystać ich potencjał produkcyjny]. Życie Weter., 86(10), 771–776 [in Polish]. Google Scholar, Kłos et al. 2015Kłos, B., Kaliciak, M., Walkowiak, K., Adamski, M. (2015). The influence of negative cation-anion balance in cows on the frequency of milk fever. Acta Sci. Pol. Zootechnica, 14(1), 91–98. Google Scholar]. These factors can substantially limit the animals’ productivity, affect the length of their productive life, and significantly influence the profitability of production [Kuczaj and Preś 2014Kuczaj, M., Preś, J. (2014). Selected elements of nutrition and health problems of dairy cows. Part II [Wybrane elementy żywienia a problemy zdrowotne krów mlecznych. Cz. II]. Wydaw. MedPharm Wrocław, 175 [in Polish]. Google Scholar, Kowalski 2015Kowalski, Z.M. (2015). Feed requirements of dairy cattle. [In] Jamroz, D. [Ed.] Animal nutrition and feed science. Basics of detailed animal nutrition [Wymagania pokarmowe bydła mlecznego. [W] Jamroz, D. [red.] Żywienie zwierząt i paszoznawstwo. Podstawy szczegółowego żywienia zwierząt]. Wydaw. Naukowe PWN, Warszawa, 593[in Polish]. Google Scholar].

A critical period in the production cycle of dairy cows is the perinatal period, covering three weeks before calving and three weeks after calving. During this time, rapid hormonal changes associated with parturition take place, manifested by a decrease in progesterone levels and an increase in prostaglandins and oestrogens [Weich et al. 2013Weich, W., Block, E., Litherland, N.B. (2013). Extended negative dietary cation-anion difference feeding does not negatively affect postpartum performance of multiparous dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci., 96, 5780–5792. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2012-6479]. The demand for nutrients associated with the start of lactation increases rapidly, resulting in a deficit of energy, protein, minerals and vitamins, which the cow attempts to replenish from its own reserves [Martinez et al. 2012Martinez, N., Risco, C.A., Lima, F.S., Bisinotto, R.S., Greco, L.F., Ribeiro, E.S., Maunsell, F., Galvão, K.N., Santos, J.E.P. (2012). Evaluation of peripartal calcium status, energetic profile, and neutrophil function in dairy cows at low or high risk of developing uterine disease J. Dairy Sci., 95, 7158–7172. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2012-5812]. This causes severe disturbances of homeostasis, resulting in increased production of corticosteroids and catecholamines, which weaken the body’s immune response [Goff 2008Goff, J.P. (2008). Immune suppression around the time of calving and the impact of metabolic disease. XXV Jubilee World Buiatrics Congress Budapest, Hungry. Hungarian Vet J., 130 (Suppl. 1), 39–42. Google Scholar]. Proper feeding of cows throughout the dry period largely determines their performance, health and reproduction in the next lactation [McNamara et al. 2003McNamara, S., O'Mara, F.P., Rath, M., Murphy, J.J. (2003). Effects of different transition diets on dry matter intake, milk production, and milk composition in dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci., 86, 2397–2408. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(03)73834-X, Łopuszańska-Rusek and Bilik 2007Łopuszańska-Rusek, M., Bilik, K. (2007). Trends in feeding high-yielding dairy cows in the dry period [Tendencje w żywieniu wysoko wydajnych krów mlecznych w okresie zasuszenia]. Wiadomości Zoot., 45(4), 55–66 [in Polish]. Google Scholar, Bodarski et al. 2010Bodarski, R., Kinal, S., Preś, J., Słupczyńska, M., Twardoń, J. (2010). Evaluation of the effect of decreased dietary cation-anion balances combined with increased calcium amount during the final phase of the dry period on the health, productivity and fertility of cows of different ages [Ocena wpływu zwiększonej ilości wapnia przy obniżonych bilansach kationowo-anionowych dawek pokarmowych w końcowym okresie zasuszenia na zdrowie, produkcyjność i płodność krów w różnym wieku]. Med. Weter., 66(11), 778–783 [in Polish]. Google Scholar]. If this period is excluded from the production cycle, it is estimated that yield in the next lactation can be reduced by up to 25%. The length of this period should be at least 30–45 days before the calving date, and usually does not exceed 60 days [Kowalski 2010Kowalski, Z.M. (2010). The effect of feeding on the dairy cows fertility [Wpływ żywienia na płodność krów mlecznych]. Życie Weter., 85(10), 830–834 [in Polish]. Google Scholar]. In terms of milk production, the dry period can be divided into two parts: the period in which there is no lactogenesis and the period in which colostrum production begins, which is the last three weeks before calving. According to Strzetelski et al. [2014]Strzetelski, J.A., Brzóska, F., Kowalski, Z.M., Osięgłowski, S. (2014). Feeding Recommendation for Ruminants and Feed Tables [Zalecenia Żywieniowe dla Przeżuwaczy i Tabele wartości pokarmowej pasz]. Wydaw. IZ-PIB INRA, Kraków, 392 [in Polish]. Google Scholar, the diet during this period should meet the cow’s requirements for life and the needs of the foetus, which grows on average 500 g · d–1 in the last weeks of gestation, as well as regeneration of udder glandular tissue and colostrum production. The dramatic changes in the cow’s demand for nutrients during this period require proper balancing of feed rations. An additional problem in meeting nutritional needs is the decrease in dry matter intake a few weeks before calving [Contreras et al. 2004Contreras, L.L., Ryan, C.M., Overton, T.R. (2004). Effect of dry cow grouping strategy and prepartum body condition score on performance and health of transition dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci., 87, 517–523. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(04)73191-4]. Studies show that in high-yielding dairy herds, 70–80% of cows have perinatal problems with subclinical hypocalcaemia, due on the one hand to the dramatic increase in the need for calcium for colostrum production, and on the other hand to mistakes in mineral nutrition during the dry period, i.e. excessive potassium, inadequate magnesium, excess calcium and inadequate phosphorus [Lean et al. 2006Lean, I.J., DeGaris, P.J., McNeil, D.M., Block, E. (2006). Hypocalcemia in dairy cows: meta-analysis and dietary cation anion difference theory revisited. J. Dairy Sci., 89, 669–684. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(06)72130-0, Reinhardt et al. 2011Reinhardt, T.A., Lippolis, J.D., Mc Cluskey, B.J., Goff, J.P., Horst, R.L. (2011). Prevalence of subclinical hypocalcemia in dairy herds. Vet. J., 188,122-124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.03.025]. Subclinical hypocalcemia compromised appetite, altered metabolism, and impaired function of immune cells in dairy cows [Martinez et al. 2014Martinez, N., Sinedino, L.D.P., Bisinotto, R.S., Ribeiro, E.S., Gomes, G.C., Lima, F.S., Greco, L.F., Risco, C.A., Galvão, K.N., Taylor-Rodriguez, D., Driver, J.P., Thatcher, W.W., Santos, J.E.P. (2014). Effect of induced subclinical hypocalcemia on physiological responses and neutrophil function in dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci., 97, 874–887 https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2013-7408].

The most important complications in the perinatal period include ketosis, foetal membrane retention, hypocalcaemia, abomasum displacement, metritis and mastitis. Given that they cannot be eliminated completely, Whitaker et al. [2005]Whitaker, D.A., Macrae, A.I., Burrough, E. (2005). Nutrition, fertility and dairy herd productivity. Cattle Pract., 13(1), 27–32. Google Scholar have proposed maximum acceptable rates of individual complications: ketosis 5%, foetal membrane retention 8%, abomasum displacement 3%, and hypocalcaemia 5%. If these values are not exceeded, they can be regarded as a natural consequence of the increase in milk production. At the same time, the authors noted that high yield need not be associated with a high incidence of these disorders.

The following models of cow feeding during the dry period can be distinguished:

  1. Division of the dry period into the dry period proper, from 60 to 21 days before calving (far-off), when the concentration of nutrients and energy is lower, and the stage of preparation for parturition (close-up), when the concentration of nutrients and energy is increased.
  2. Reduction of energy intake throughout the dry period through a restrictive diet (a specified amount of feed) or a decrease in the energy density of the feed ration.
  3. A feed ration with increased concentrations of energy and nutrients throughout the dry period, lasting a shorter time (35–40 days) [Kowalski 2015Kowalski, Z.M. (2015). Feed requirements of dairy cattle. [In] Jamroz, D. [Ed.] Animal nutrition and feed science. Basics of detailed animal nutrition [Wymagania pokarmowe bydła mlecznego. [W] Jamroz, D. [red.] Żywienie zwierząt i paszoznawstwo. Podstawy szczegółowego żywienia zwierząt]. Wydaw. Naukowe PWN, Warszawa, 593[in Polish]. Google Scholar].
  4. A small amount of concentrate feed given from the start of the dry period, with a gradual increase in its share from 14 days before calving (modified National Research Institute of Animal Production-INRA standards) during a 42-day dry period [Strzetelski et al. 2014Strzetelski, J.A., Brzóska, F., Kowalski, Z.M., Osięgłowski, S. (2014). Feeding Recommendation for Ruminants and Feed Tables [Zalecenia Żywieniowe dla Przeżuwaczy i Tabele wartości pokarmowej pasz]. Wydaw. IZ-PIB INRA, Kraków, 392 [in Polish]. Google Scholar].

The aim of the study was to assess the incidence of diseases typical of the perinatal period in relation to the manner in which cows are fed during the dry period, particularly during the last three weeks before the estimated date of parturition.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

The research material consisted of Black-and-White Polish-Friesian (PHF) dairy cows from a herd in Siedlce County. The average size of the herd is 67 cows, with a yield of 10,540 kg of milk during 305-day lactation. The cows were kept in a free-stall system, divided into two lactation groups and a separate group of dry cows, fed from a feed wagon with different rations for each group [DLG 1997DLG (1997). DLG – tables for the nutritional value of feed and feeding standards for ruminants [DLG – tabele wartości pokarmowej pasz i norm żywienia przeżuwaczy]. Wydaw. PPH VIT-TRA, 272 [in Polish]. Google Scholar, NRC 2001NRC (2001). Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. 7th ed. National Academy Press, Washington D.C., USA. Google Scholar]. Lactating cows were fed two types of TMR, while dry cows received a TMR ration during the dry period proper (49 to 22 days before calving), and a PMR ration from three weeks before calving to delivery (basic ration plus concentrate feed twice a day, given individually). Before the changes in the feeding system for dry cows were introduced, they received one TMR ration for the entire dry period, which lasted 7 weeks on this farm. In November 2016, the feed ration for dry cows, consisting of grass silage and wheat straw supplemented with a mineral-vitamin lick, available ad libitum (control group), was changed to a basal feed ration in the period from 49 to 22 days before calving (as the only feed), which was supplemented with a special concentrate feed in the period from 21 to 0 days before calving (experimental group).

After calving, the cows remained in lactation group 2 for two weeks (TMR covering the demand for production of 25 kg of milk), and were then moved to group 1 (TMR covering the demand for production of 43 kg of milk).

Table 1. Composition of feed rations and feeds used in the perinatal period
Tabela 1. Skład dawek pokarmowych oraz mieszanek stosowanych w okresie okołoporodowym

Components – Komponenty

Dry period
Okres zasuszenia

Group 1
Grupa 1

Group 2
Grupa 2

Feed
Mieszanka

before experiment, kg
przed doświadcze­niem, kg

proper
49–22 d before calving, kg
właściwy
49–22 dni przed porodem, kg

0–14 d after calving, kg
0–14 dni po porodzie, kg

> 14 d after calving, kg
> 14 dni po porodzie, kg

for close-up period, %
na okres
„close-up”, %

for lactating cows, %
dla krów
w laktacji, %

Maize silage
Kiszonka z kukurydzy

4.30

29.00

29.00

Grass silage
Kiszonka z traw

12.80

10.00

9.00

9.00

Straw
Słoma

7.10

3.50

0.50

0.50

Barley grain
Ziarno jęczmienia

1.00

47.45

41.82

Maize grain
Ziarno kukurydzy

30.00

Fermented maize grain
Kiszone ziarno kukurydzy

4.40

Dry sugar beet pulp
Wysłodki buraczane suche

0.50

2.00

Soybean meal
Poekstrakcyjna śruta sojowa

0.20

1.00

26.60

Rapeseed meal
Poekstrakcyjna śruta rzepakowa

0.20

0.50

12.40

20.30

Molasses
Melasa

0.30

0.30

Mixture for lactating cows
Mieszanka dla krów w laktacji

2.50

6.60

Inert fat
Tłuszcz typu inert

0.30

Complementary feedingstuffs for lactating cows
MPU dla krów w laktacji

2.50

Complementary feedingstuffs for dry cows
MPU dla krów zasuszonych

0.10

Buffer
Bufor

2.50

Limestone
Kreda pastewna

4.30

3.20

NaCl

0.25

0.75

MgO

0.70

1.58

1-Ca phosphate
Fosforan 1-Ca

0.80

0.75

CaCl2 80%*

4.10

Total
Razem

19.90

18.90

42.20

53.60

100

100

* calcium chloride in the feed ration is much less aggressive for the oesophagus and less bitter, so it is relatively easily ingested by animals (DCAD = −13.800 mEq · kg–1).
* użyty w dawce chlorek wapnia jest zdecydowanie mniej agresywny dla przełyku oraz mniej gorzki, przez co jest stosunkowo łatwo pobierany przez zwierzęta (jego DCAD = –13 800 mEq ∙ kg1).

Table 2. Nutrient content and nutritional value of feed rations used in the perinatal period
Tabela 2. Zawartość składników pokarmowych i wartość pokarmowa dawek pokarmowych stosowanych w okresie około­poro­dowym


Dry period – Okres zasuszenia

Group 1 Grupa 1

Group 2 Grupa 2

Item

before experiment
przed doświadcze­niem

proper
49–22 days before calving
własciwy
49–22 dni przed porodem


21–15 days before calving
21–15 dni przed porodem


14–8 days before calving
14–8 dni przed porodem


7–0 days before calving
7–0 dni przed porodem

0–14 days after calving
0–14 dni po porodzie

>14 days after calving
> 14 dni po porodzie

Dry matter, kg
Sucha masa, kg

11.01

9.50

11.27

12.16

12.60

18.71

27.97

NEL (MJ)

5.42

6.02

6.18

6.25

6.28

6.79

7.29

Crude protein, %*
Białko ogólne, %*

10.79

11.62

11.86

11.96

12.00

13.06

15.41

BTJ, %*

6.00

6.81

7.23

7.40

7.47

8.35

9.67

Starch, %*
Skrobia, %*

12.23

18.20

20.53

21.57

26.90

29.70

Starch + sugar, %*
Skrobia + cukry, %*

1.81

14.41

20.54

22.93

24.00

30.60

34.10

Fibre, %*
Włókno, %*

33.50

26.10

22.70

21.40

20.90

17.20

13.60

NDF, %*

64.10

52.70

46.70

44.42

43.40

41.00

32.80

ADF, %*

39.30

29.90

26.20

24.80

24.10

18.70

15.20

Ca, %*

0.331

0.32

0.82

1.02

1.10

0.54

0.79

P, %*

0.231

0.37

0.41

0.42

0.43

0.31

0.39

Mg, %*

0.161

0.28

0.35

0.35

0.36

0.33

0.48

Na, %*

0.131

0.19

0.18

0.18

0.17

0.16

0.25

K, %*

1.371

1.29

1.17

1.13

1.11

1.25

1.15

Cl, %*

0.341

0.49

0.81

0.94

0.99

0.40

0.40

S, %*

0.101

0.10

0.12

0.12

0.13

0.13

0.17

Vitamins – Witaminy

A, IU·day–1

n.d.1 – b.d.1

90000

90000

90000

90000

56250

148500

D, IU·day–1

n.d.1 – b.d.1

20000

20000

20000

20000

10000

26400

E, IU·day–1

n.d.1 – b.d.1

800

800

800

800

319

842

β–carotene, IU·day–1

n.d.1 – b.d.1

200

200

200

200

DCAD2, mEq*

251.40

210.00

75.86

24.00

0.30

197.00

183.00

* per 1 kg dry matter.
* w 1 kg suchej masy.
1 The content of macronutrients given is the natural content of these elements in the feed; the cows had access to a mineral-vitamin lick, the intake of which could not be determined.
1 Zawartość makroelementów wynika z naturalnej zawartości tych pierwiastków w paszach, zwierzęta miały dostęp do lizawki mineralno-witaminowej, której pobrania nie dało się określić.
2 DCAD – Dietary Cation-Anion Difference.
2 DCAD – bilans kationowo-anionowy.

We assessed the history of all cows that had calved from 5 December 2015 to 4 January 2017 (395 days), before the changes were introduced, and then from 5 January 2017 to 7 February 2018 (395 days), because at the start of January 2017 the first calves were born to cows receiving the experimental feed ration.

The evaluation of cows from just after calving to 60 days of lactation included the incidence of foetal membrane retention, metritis, abomasum displacement, and hypocalcaemia. The risk of clinical ketosis in the herd was determined by analysing the results of OWUB (Cattle Use Value Assessment) reports.

In addition, for the period from May 2017 to June 2017 (398 days, the approximate perinatal period for this herd), we analysed the average yield of the herd, average length of lactation, and fertility parameters: the length of the calving-to-conception interval (CCI), calving interval (CI), and calving-to-first-service interval (CFSI). The analysis was begun in May, because the average CCI for the herd is 116 days and the first cows from the experimental group calved in January.

Table 3. Schedule for administration of close-up feed during the last 21 days before calving
Tabela 3. Harmonogram podawania mieszanki „close-up” w trakcie ostatnich 21 dni przed porodem

Item
Wyszczególnienie

Days before estimated calving
Dni przed szacowanym wycieleniem

21–15

14–8

7–0

Amount of close-up feed, kg·day--1
Ilość mieszanki „close-up”, kg·dzień--1

2.0

3.0

3.5

Table 4. Incidence of disorders in the perinatal period
Tabela 4. Częstotliwość występowania schorzeń okresu okołoporodowego


Calving according to the old model
5 Dec. 2015 – 4 Jan. 2017 (395 d)
Wycielenia według starego modelu
05.12.2015 – 04.01.2017 (395 dni)

Calving according to the new model
4 Jan. 2017 – 6 Feb. 2018 (395 d)
Wycielenia według nowego modelu
04.01.2017 – 06.02.2018 (395 dni)

Number of observations, n
Liczba obserwacji, n

68

76


Number of cases
Liczba przypadków

%

Number of cases
Liczba przypadków

%

Foetal membrane retention
Zatrzymanie błon płodowych

26

38.2

5

6.4

Metritis

41

61.3

3

3.9

Abomasum displacement
Przemieszczenie trawieńca

3

4.4

2

2.6

Hypocalcaemia
Zaleganie poporodowe

4

5.9

2

2.6

Subclinical ketosis
Podkliniczna ketoza

0

0

1

1.3

The composition of the diets, as well as their nutrient content and nutritional value, is presented in Table 1 and Table 2. The concentrate feed used during the preparation of cows for calving (close-up) was administered twice a day, and its quantity was gradually increased according to the schedule shown in Table 3. The anionic salts (calcium chloride) used in this feed gradually reduced the DCAD (Dietary Cation-Anion Difference) during the last 21 days before calving (from +76 mEq to +0.3 mEq in the last week before parturition). In the case of delayed parturition, the feed ration was maintained at a level ensuring DCAD + 0.3 mEq (3.5 kg diet · d–1). Analysis of the urine pH of cows during the last week before calving indicated values between 7.1 and 7.8.

RESULTS

The incidence of diseases typical of the perinatal period is presented in Table 4. The introduction of the basal feed ration gradually enriched with a negative-DCAD feed, compared to the previously used TMR and uncontrolled access to a mineral-vitamin lick, significantly reduced cases of foetal membrane retention and metritis, and to a much lesser extent hypocalcaemia and abomasum displacement. Based on OWUB reports, one case of elevated milk BHBA and acetone content was found in the experimental group, which may indicate subclinical ketosis.

OWUB analysis showed an increase in milk yield of 310 kg in lactation. The average yearly length of lactation in the period analysed decreased by 18 days (Table 5). Analysis of fertility traits showed that the average CCI in the experimental group was 8 days longer than in the control group (117 vs 125), the average calving interval increased by 4 days (397 vs 401), and the calving-to-first-service interval decreased from 115 to 108 days, which may indicate an improvement in the condition of the reproductive system after parturition and earlier readiness for reproduction.

Table 5. Analysis of the lactation yield and fertility traits of the herd (402 days of observation)
Tabela 5. Analiza wydajności laktacyjnej oraz cech płodności stada (402 dni obserwacji)

Cecha
Trait

Start of observations, May 2017
Początek obserwacji, maj 2017

End of observations, June 2018
Koniec obserwacji, czerwiec 2018

Mean lactation yield of herd, kg milk/305 days
Średnia wydajność laktacji stada, kg mleka/305dni

10230

10540

Mean length of lactation – yearly mean, days
Średnia długość laktacji – średnia roczna, dni

179

161

Mean calving-to-conception interval, days
Średni okres międzyciążowy, dni

117

125

Mean calving interval, days
Średni okres międzywycieleniowy, dni

397

401

Mean calving-to-first-service interval, days
Średni okres przestoju poporodowego, dni

115

108

DISCUSSION

The energy level in the experimental group during the dry period proper was in accordance with recommendations for energy intake for dry cows (intermediate energy level) [Huang et al. 2014Huang, W., Tian, Y., Wang, Y., Simayi, A., Yasheng, A., Wu, Z., Li, S., Cao, Z. (2014). Effect of reduced energy density of close-up diets on dry matter intake, lactation performance and energy balance in multiparous Holstein cows. J. Anim. Sci. Biotechnol., 5, 30, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1186/2049-1891-5-30]. Although the increase in the proportion of the close-up feed in the ration meant that energy intake exceeded the energy requirements of cows a week before calving, no negative effects on the cows’ health or reproduction were noted.

Analysis of the energy density of the feed rations indicates that, according to current reports [Martinez et al. 2014Martinez, N., Sinedino, L.D.P., Bisinotto, R.S., Ribeiro, E.S., Gomes, G.C., Lima, F.S., Greco, L.F., Risco, C.A., Galvão, K.N., Taylor-Rodriguez, D., Driver, J.P., Thatcher, W.W., Santos, J.E.P. (2014). Effect of induced subclinical hypocalcemia on physiological responses and neutrophil function in dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci., 97, 874–887 https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2013-7408], the control diet is more suitable than the experimental diet, as there is no risk of excessive energy intake. However, its use did not yield the intended results. In addition, cows beginning lactation had to adapt to a very aggressive change to a high-starch diet, which could cause digestive disorders, including abomasum displacement. A fundamental mistake in the use of this feeding system seems to be the uncontrolled intake of minerals and vitamins (from the lick). Due to individual taste preferences, the cows could ingest too much or too little of the vitamin and mineral mix, and thus the intake was not equal to the demand. In the case of dry cows, which consume about half as much dry matter as lactating cows, precise intake of minerals and vitamins seems to be particularly important for their health and subsequent productivity. The use of a mineral and vitamin supplement throughout the dry period (experimental group) enabled a uniform supply of minerals and vitamins, in contrast with the mineral and vitamin lick, whose uptake is impossible to determine. Low-energy rations with a large amount of roughage contain more potassium than rations with some starch content. DCAD was highest in the control group among all diets used during the observations. It is highly likely that the high rate of placental retention and metritis in this group was due to mineral vitamin deficiencies and subclinical hypocalcaemia caused by metabolic alkalosis, rather than other causes.

During veterinary inspection, better reproductive system activity after parturition was observed in the experimental group, which may indicate a reduction in the negative energy balance during the perinatal period. This was very likely the result of improved appetite after calving and improved immune status, possibly due to feeding with a complete ration close to their requirements.

Regarding the feeding models for the dry period described by Strzetelski et al. [2014]Strzetelski, J.A., Brzóska, F., Kowalski, Z.M., Osięgłowski, S. (2014). Feeding Recommendation for Ruminants and Feed Tables [Zalecenia Żywieniowe dla Przeżuwaczy i Tabele wartości pokarmowej pasz]. Wydaw. IZ-PIB INRA, Kraków, 392 [in Polish]. Google Scholar, the control diet is similar to model 2, while the experimental diet is very similar to model 4. Either model can be introduced on medium-sized and small farms. Difficulties are usually associated with introducing a new ration in the daily work schedule. In addition, feed wagons on farms are often too large for the stocking density. This makes it difficult or even impossible to prepare a homogeneous feed for a small group of animals such as dry cows. Another problem is ensuring that straw, which is the main component of diets for dry cows, is adequately chopped. One solution may be to use a lactation TMR, mix it with straw, and balance the minerals in accordance with the needs of dry cows. In herds without a feed wagon, the only solution is to feed the roughage in the right proportions separately, and to regulate DCAD with specially prepared feed given individually. According to the NAHMS [2007]NAHMS (2007). National Animal Health Monitoring System. Part I: Reference of Dairy Cattle Health and Management Practices in the United States. USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services, Ft. Collins, CO. Google Scholar survey, 26.7% of producers supplement anions to decrease the DCAD of the prepartum diet to aid against hypocalcemia (< 8 mg · dL-1 total blood Ca; DeGaris and Lean 2008DeGaris, P.J., Lean, I.J. (2008). Milk fever in dairy cows: A review of pathophysiology and control principles. Vet. J., 176, 58–69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2007.12.029).

The urine pH of cows in the experimental group before calving was close to neutral or slightly alkaline. Therefore, with a DCAD of 0.3 mEq, the values recommended by Strzetelski et al. [2014]Strzetelski, J.A., Brzóska, F., Kowalski, Z.M., Osięgłowski, S. (2014). Feeding Recommendation for Ruminants and Feed Tables [Zalecenia Żywieniowe dla Przeżuwaczy i Tabele wartości pokarmowej pasz]. Wydaw. IZ-PIB INRA, Kraków, 392 [in Polish]. Google Scholar could not be achieved. Nevertheless, the incidence of foetal membrane retention and metritis decreased significantly. This may indicate that neutral DCAD diets introduced shortly before calving are sufficient to reduce most postpartum complications.

Analysis of roughage, taking into account the content of macronutrients, is particularly important in feeding dry cows [Kuczaj et al. 2009Kuczaj, M., Preś, J., Szulc, T., Twardoń, J., Kinal, S., Kuryszko, J. (2009). An alternative drying off of high yielding cows [Alternatywne zasuszanie krów wysoko wydajnych]. Zesz. Nauk. UP Wroc., Biol. Hod. Zwierz., LIX, 575, 157–174 [in Polish]. Google Scholar]. Variation in the content of elements in feed depends mainly on the phase of harvest, species and fertilization. Plants intensively fertilized with solid and liquid cattle manure have particularly high content of potassium and phosphorus, and thus the proportion of this type of feed for dry cows should be limited. The high incidence of illness in cows in the perinatal period may be due to the lack of efforts by cattle farmers and nutrition advisers to develop a model adjusted for the herd and the low level of awareness of the importance of cow nutrition during the dry period.

CONCLUSIONS

The perinatal period is the most difficult period for the cow in the entire production cycle. Accurate balancing of feed rations during the dry period reduces the incidence of postpartum disorders. The introduction of a feed containing calcium chloride in the feed ration of Holstein-Friesian cows in the close-up period reduced the incidence of perinatal diseases, i.e. foetal membrane retention (6.4 vs 33.2%), metritis (3.9 vs 61.3%), abomasum displacement (2.6 vs 4.4%)) and hypocalcemia (2.6 vs 5.9%). To sum up, the use of the PMR system in the close-up period with a gradual increase in the DCAD-negative compound mix individually proved to be effective in reducing the occurrence of perinatal diseases.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This study was financed by the funds of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Poland (statutory research fund of the Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities No 373/14/S).

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This Article

Received: 28 Nov 2019

Accepted: 10 Dec 2019

Published online: 14 Jan 2020

Accesses: 241

How to cite

Janocha, A., Milczarek, A., Kryszak, K., Nowak, D., (2019). Comparison of feeding models in cows during dry period and their effect on the incidence of perinatal diseases as well as on reproductive and productive traits. Acta Sci. Pol. Zootechnica, 18(4), 39–46. DOI: 10.21005/asp.2019.18.4.05.