Fat cows need to be closely monitored, as they are high risk for issues around calving.

Over conditioned or ‘fat’ cows pose a risk as the calving season progresses – this is due to them having a longer dry period and thus, taking a longer time to build condition.

Metabolic issues in cows are generally seen in cows that are over or under conditioned prior to or during calving.

The problem with a cow having a metabolic issue, is that it acts as a gateway for other issues – including milk fever, retained placenta, or displaced abomasum.

Fat cows

Calving is now in full swing on most dairy farms, and a significant amount of focus is going to be placed on freshly calved cows and cows close to calving.

But, those cows that are a number of weeks away from calving, do pose a risk for potential issues if they are not monitored closely.

Again, fat or over conditioned cows are the ones that pose the biggest risk for metabolic issues.

They are also likely going to be the ones that require assistance during calving. It is advised that you continue to monitor the condition of these cows in the lead up to them calving.

Fixing an issue with them now is unlikely, and instead you will just be trying to stay ahead of potential problems.


On most farms, the cows remain housed with conditions not suitable for grazing, which means that the majority of the diet is currently made up of silage.

Although it was a challenge to harvest quality silage on many farms this year, there is still going to be some good quality stuff in many yards.

The higher quality silage is going to be used for feeding the cows that have reduced to milk production, and should not be fed to dry cows.

The lower quality silage should be offered to dry cows to prevent them building excess condition and being fat.

It is important that you continue to monitor the condition of these cows as they wait to calf.

Although you don’t want to restrict feed from them and prevent rumen fill, you also don’t want them over eating.