Supporting Dry Cow Nutrition with Lic Tubs

Posted: April 19, 2021 | Written By: Dave Lahr, Form-A-Feed Nutritionist

dry cow

The importance of dry cow nutrition is recognized for multiple reasons. We expect this cow to do many things in a short period of time.  She needs to deliver a healthy calf, produce quality colostrum, and release and expel fetal membranes.  She requires appropriate body condition, metabolic readiness, and rumen health to support peak and sustained milk production, and the increased dry matter intake to support it.  And finally, she will undergo uterine involution and prepare for another pregnancy. 

While nutritionists balance sound diets for late lactation, early dry cow, pre-fresh, and lactation, there are several factors that may result in less-than-optimal nutrition for dry cows: 

  • Variations in dry matter intake. These may occur due to cow health, rumen capacity, or stress. 
  • Heat stress may reduce dry matter intake, and create challenges in gut health. 
  • Some dry cow diets contain a high amount of grass and/or straw, with risk of ration separation. 
  • Overcrowding.
  • The imprecision of pasture feeding situations.
  • Lack of regular management oversight, especially for animals housed away from the main dairy site. 

One useful tool to support dry cow nutrition is offering Form-A-Lic tubs in the dry cow pen or pasture.  A well-formulated and properly manufactured lic tub will provide multiple benefits: 

  • A ready source of valuable nutrients with controlled consumption.  
  • High level of molasses provides sugar, helping feed rumen bacteria.
  • Licking stimulates salivary production and natural rumen buffering. 
  • Minerals and  vitamins.
  • Ingredients supporting digestive performance, helping prepare dry cows for the rigors of transition, calving and lactation. 

Form-A-Lic Dry Cow Lic is specifically formulated to complement dry cow diets. It is formulated for palatability and manufactured to assure stable, controlled intake. In addition to quality protein sources (16% Protein, no NPN) and balanced macrominerals, Dry Cow Lic provides an excellent source of bioavailable trace minerals and vitamins.  Amaferm® (Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract) fungal extract supports fiber digestion, for the higher fiber diets appropriate in dry cow dietsAntioxidants (Zinc, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Selenium) support the immune system, necessary for quality colostrum, release of fetal membranes, and reproductive health.  

Best practices for feeding Dry Cow Lic include offering one 250 lb. tub per 20-25 head. Place tubs 10 to 50 feet from clean water supply.  Desired intake is 0.3 to 0.7 lb per head daily.  After the first week, monitor and estimate intake.  Moving tubs closer to water to increase intake, and further away to decrease intake.  Maintain good bunk management practices, always keeping forages or TMR available, as hungry cattle will overconsume tubs.  Unusual changes in lic tub intake can be an indicator of ration imbalances or the need to review feeding and management practices. 

Important nutrients provided by 0.5 lb of Dry Cow Lic include:

  • 170 mg Copper
  • 520 mg Zinc
  • 125,000 IU Vitamin A
  • 20,000 IU Vitamin D3
  • 800 IU Vitamin E
  • 2 mg Selenium

If dry cows are grazed on lush spring pasture, consider 44-Magnum Lic w/ Stealth 5.  This tub, with 4.4% Magnesium, helps reduce the risk of grass tetany.