September Journal Club 2023 with Dr. Bill Weiss, The Ohio State University

Posted: Oktober 4, 2023

Podcast Topic

In this episode, we welcome back the fan-favorite journal club podcast. Dr. Bill Weiss joins Scott and Clay for this episode, discussing a large study from Germany evaluating the time spent in the pre-fresh group and its impacts on health and production.


Dr. Bill Weiss, The Ohio State University

Episode 85: September Journal Club


Dr. Weiss begins with a description of the study’s overall research question of “How long should a cow stay in the pre-fresh pen?” – and the researchers’ hypothesis that time periods too short or too long would be detrimental to both cow health and production. (3:14)

The study had a wide range of days in the pre-fresh pen, ranging from around seven days to about a month, with a mean of 18 days. This is similar to the general industry recommendation of 21 days. (7:16)

Diets were typical of a U.S. diet, although DCAD concentrations would be considered moderate. (9:42)

The longer heifers were in the pre-fresh pen, the higher their milk production was. A quadratic effect was observed in the multiparous cows, where too short was detrimental to milk production, and too long was detrimental to milk production. (11:56)

If the time spent in the pre-fresh pen was less than seven days, both cows and heifers were at higher risk for retained placenta. (14:30)

On the other hand, more extended periods of time in the pre-fresh pen were related to higher incidences of clinical hypocalcemia. (16:40)

Metritis and ketosis were also higher for cows who spent shorter periods of time in the pre-fresh pen, with three weeks best for these health issues. (19:26)

From these results, Dr. Weiss recommended that if calcium metabolism is an issue on a farm, leaning toward a shorter pre-fresh period of around two weeks may be beneficial. On the other hand, if other issues like mastitis, metritis, and retained placentas are an issue, leaning toward three weeks may be most appropriate. Regardless, don’t put cows in the pre-fresh pen for less than a week or more than 35 days. (20:37)

Dr. Weiss suggested an interesting next-step study would be to feed a DCAD diet for the full dry period to both cows and heifers. (28:32)

Dr. Weiss detailed some of the differences observed between cows and heifers in this study and how more research needs to be done around first-lactation cows because heifers are not just little cows. (35:35)

You can find this episode’s journal club paper here:… Authors: P.L. Venjakob, W. Heuwiese, S. Borchardt

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