Transition Cow


Management to support the metabolic adaptations related to energy metabolism that a dairy cow undergoes during the transition period and early lactation is a critical factor in transition period success. Energy balance is tightly linked with reproductive performance (Butler and Smith, 1989), aspects of health and immunity (LeBlanc, 2010), and markers of excessive negative energy balance are generally negatively associated with milk yield (Ospina et al., 2010). Although a common notion is that milk yield is the major driver of negative energy balance, several data summaries (Santos et al., 2009; reviewed by
Grummer et al., 2010) suggest that the relationship of negative energy balance is actually greater with dry matter intake (DMI) than with milk yield. Therefore, the major determinant of successful management of energy metabolism in transition cows may be the degree and rate to which energy intake increases during the early postpartum period.