A large increase in the human population is followed by a rise in food requirements, especially milk and meat. An increase of 125% in consumption of milk and milk products is expected in South Asia by 2030.

To achieve this target, complete and economical use of the potential of dairy animals is necessary, particularly of high milk-producing Holstein cows. However, with the intensification and commercialization of livestock production systems, the economic implications of metabolic disorders are becoming increasingly important at both farm and national levels, as they represent an avoidable waste of scarce resources and animal potential through balanced nutrition. These problems seriously reduce the production potential of the dairy animals when left unaddressed, especially during the transition period.

Successful transition from non-lactating to lactating period is necessary and beneficial for the dairy production system. As a part of this broad target, different experiments were conducted by Mr Muhammad Uzair Akhtar, PhD animal nutrition scholar under the supervision of Dr Muhammad Naveed-ul-Haque, at the dairy animals training and research centre, the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pattoki and Pakistan Holstein Farm Pvt. Ltd. Risalpur, KPK.

We have investigated and proved that various pre-calving nutritional strategies can be successfully used to improve milk production and reduce animal health issues in high producing Holstein cows. This research work was focused on the: 1) effects of pre-calving dietary protein and energy supplies on post-calving milk production and reproduction performance of dairy cows, 2) effects of propylene glycol supplementation as glucose precursor to improving energy and metabolic status around calving, and 3) comparison of different pre-calving dietary cation-anion levels in fat and thin cows.

The results revealed that milk production and reproduction performance improved while metabolic health issues of cows were reduced by 1) pre-calving low intake of energy coupled with a high protein diet, 2) propylene glycol supplementation around calving in both primiparous and multiparous cows, and 3) low dietary cation-anion diet during the pre-calving period in both fat and thin cows. In general, our local conditions are difficult for high producing Holstein cows and special emphasis should be given on precision nutrition of dairy cows during the transition period and different combinations of nutritional strategies to minimize the metabolic stress for greater milk production and long (re-)producing dairy cows.