At dry off, cows should have attained the target BCS of 2.75-3.00 and maintain this until calving. If cows are under or over BCS, the best time to change this is during the late lactation. The late lactation period is normally when cows completely replenish the BCS lost in early lactation. Cows utilise dietary energy for weight gain at 75 percent efficiency when they are milking compared to 60 percent efficiency when dry.
Cows allowed to fatten in excess during the dry period are more subject to displaced abomasum, udder edema, ketosis, and other general health problems than dry cows maintained in adequate body condition. Also, feeding cows to lose weight during the dry period can lead to fatty livers, ketosis, and other disorders.
BCS of the milking herd and dry cows on a routine schedule is an excellent tool to help manage a herd more effectively and reduce the incidence of metabolic disorders at calving.