Give the cows some rest
All of these are management related. That means we can influence them. A good example is overstocking. When you fill 80% or more of the stalls in the close-up pen, you will end up with a reduction in milk yield for the first-calf heifers.
Lying time in the lactation period
With commercially available sensors, like the Nedap Smarttag Leg, we can monitor lying time for individual animals, pens and the entire herd. Studies done at a very well managed farm (3x milking, 300 cows, sand-bedded stalls) show how lying time changes throughout the lactation (Figure 1).
Let’s take 10 to 16 hours as the desired lying time. In Figure 2 we can see that almost 20% has a lying time below 10 hours per day. These cows might have problems but it can also indicate management issues. Monitoring this data week by week can help you understand what is happening in your pens and your herd. It gives farmers an early warning system that the cows are on track.