The three weeks before and the three weeks after calving is an important and vulnerable period for the dairy cow. Her metabolic needs increase dramatically, and how she copes with this high-energy transition period will impact how well she performs during the rest of the lactation. This is why having a good transition cow management program is crucial for a successful dairy operation.
Transition diseases can result in milk yield decreases of 5 to 10 pounds of milk per day at peak lactation, a considerable economic loss for the producer. Also, research has shown that there is a domino effect: when a cow suffers from one transition disease she is more likely to develop another. A cow with milk fever is eight times more likely to develop mastitis early in lactation. It has also been shown that the highest proportion of culling occurs in early lactation. This makes it clear that a well functioning transition cow program is important to ensure healthy cows and a profitable operation.
On this page you can find articles and links to other resources, to help you evaluate your cow transition program.