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Farm Animal Practice
Nutrition of the periparturient dairy cow
  1. Nial O'Boyle

    Nial O'Boyle graduated from Liverpool in 2001 and spent a year in mixed practice along the Welsh borders. He subsequently worked in dairy practice in Cheshire and undertook a large dairy management internship in the USA. He has recently returned to the USA to work for a group of large dairies and to undertake an MS in immunology and nutrition at Michigan State University.


FROM a physiological standpoint, the transition period ‐ that is, the last three weeks before and the first three weeks after parturition ‐ is a pivotal time in a dairy cow's lactation. Despite a strong industry and research focus in this area over the past 20 years, approximately half of all high‐yielding dairy cows fail to make the transition without some form of periparturient disease. This is a sobering statistic, which is unique among mammalian species. This article reviews the conjecture behind the failings of the transition period in cows and examines some new nutritional approaches being investigated to reduce the levels of disease in these animals.

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