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Managing Transition Period Effectively

Effectively managing the transition period for dairy cows is often talked about as being a key area for overall herd health and performance, and whilst this is true, each farm must have a routine/protocol to take the complexities of transition science and make it into an action that can be repeated day in day out. NWF Agriculture recommend considering some key points for an effective transition management system:

  • Body condition score at drying off and at calving
  • Hoof health pre dry off
  • Housing/environment
  • Dry matter intake through the dry period
  • Length of the dry period
  • Energy and protein levels
  • Mineral contents
  • Fresh cow group nutritional levels and supplements
  • Metabolic disease strategy

All of these points are equally important and can get complicated unless they are set out in a structure to enable consistency. Whilst we do, and should focus on energy, protein and intakes, we often overlook a simple but critical point of re-hydration. A rule of thumb is that as a cow calves she releases an equal amount of foetal fluid and membranes to that of the weight of the calf, and given her attention to the calf and possible deficiencies in clean water availability there is a very real risk that the cow is left significantly de-hydrated for a period of time.

Whilst just drinking a healthy amount of water (25+ litres) immediately post calving would be a benefit, this gives us the opportunity to fortify a solution to supply the cow with additional ingredients that can help her recover from a high stress event. YMCP, a new product supplied exclusively in the UK by NWF Agriculture, is a palatable nutritional re-hydration drink formulated to be mixed into water and offered to the cow immediately post calving as a drink, or to be mixed in water and given via a drench or pump as is often done with this product in the US. Formulated to include electrolytes to aid re-hydration YMCP also includes energy from sugars and propylene glycol, Betaine and Niacin for cellular and liver health, high magnesium and calcium and a high dose of a proven live yeast included to give the rumen a kick start.

So many factors must be considered through this critical and short window, having the application of YMCP to post calved cows as routine use can help cows recover quickly and continue on into lactation.  Find out more from your local NWF Sales Specialist or visit

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