To truly know how cows are managed, we need to "hang out" with them, or with their caretakers, for several hours. We need to see how feed is mixed and delivered, how milking is performed and determine how often feed is pushed up.
Last night I received a phone call from the doctor who provides routine veterinary services to a dairy herd where I do the ration balancing. This herd is experiencing some problems with fresh cows, and the doctor performed some blood testing in an attempt to obtain clues regarding the cause of these problems. The blood work revealed moderately low albumin levels in most of the six dry cows he tested. This suggests low protein intake.