Light & Dry CowSignals
You can only check the cow signals with enough light. To manage a cow herd is constantly full of compromises. Lactating cows need a lot of light, dry cows a lot of darkness. In nature cows used to calve in the spring, after a dark winter.
An artificial winter maximizes the light-shower effect
This had a very good effect on feed intake while grazing. What we do nowadays in our barns is change the season for the cows: long summers and short winters. Dry cows are best off in an “artificial winter” according to light. This maximizes the “light-shower” effect after calving. We can keep them in a dark building or dark corner for 6-8 weeks. That means that we should only turn the lights on in this group during daily inspection and cleaning.
However, we like to keep our precalving cows close to the lactating herd for the last 2-3 weeks before calving because of feeding and stress prevention. So we advise to keep this group next to the herd or make a separate light switch for them.
Practical light program
Best option is a light programme in winter with a timer and a sensor. For example: timer on at 6 am, sensor to switch it off when we reach 200 lux by daylight, sensor on when light intensity drops under 200 lux, timer to turn it off around 22 pm.
A little light at night does not harm the cows and is good for the farmer, so you can easily leave one neon tube on at night. Or in milk-robot-barns, leave one light on in the robot. Cows don’t need light to find the food or the robot, but a little light won’t harm them either.
80% of all problems arise in the transition period
80% of all problems arise in the transition period. 80 percent. Problems like milk fever, ketosis and metritis are a direct result of shortcomings in dry cow management. This is cutting cow lives short. We need to take better care of our pregnant ladies! To do this, we launched the video course Dry to Fresh this month. This launch will be acompanied with a free webinar (May 23) and a free whitepaper.
- Webinar Dry to Fresh for Advisors
- Webinar Dry to Fresh for Farmers
- Whitepaper stress-free calving line]