I’ve been able to spend some time travelling to some of our customers farms in the last few days and from talking to many of our customers and representatives we have pieced together a general on-farm report for April 1st 2014.
Dairy cow report.
In general all cows were well looked after in the dry period although not a lot of dry cow minerals were fed. Most dry cows were a little on the heavy side probably between Body Condition score 3.25 and 3.75. What we have seen is that in herds where these cows were not fed adequately they have lost a lot of body condition score and will require serious feeding now to get them ready for the Breeding season.
If the cow is short of energy at the moment coming up to breeding season she will do her best to produce milk firstly, then she will try to keep or increase her body score and lastly she will put any left over energy into getting her reproductive cycle started.
If you are able to hold B.C.S of around 2.75 to 3 your herd will be in good shape to go to breeding. If they are below that and a lot of rib is showing and there is very little fat cover on the tailbone and pins then you need to look at the diet again and seriously consider increasing the feeding level or doing something to put more energy into the diet.
As a case study on a call last week, I was in a herd of cows that calved down at BCS 3.5. Unfortunately the calved cows were only fed 1 to 2 kilos of concentrate after calving and they have lost a full body condition score in the 6 weeks since. All cows were dosed for fluke and in general good health but the milk protein is now very low and the cows are on average 2.25 to 2.5 BCS. The farmer had been hoping to get them out on grass before now but it has not happened yet. With the body condition score so low I would have serious concerns about cow fertility and getting the herd cycling again in the near future without a serious change in diet.
Last year the herd was kept indoors for much longer due to the fodder crisis and ended up being bred indoors on a high feeding regime and conception rate was over 90% on first serving. It was an extremely busy calving period calving all these cows over a three-week period but does it not show the value of feed for conception and fertility?
He knows where he went wrong this year in not feeding adequately after calving but unfortunately will have to pay the price of a reduced milk cheque for the rest of the dairy season due to this huge loss in BCS.
Our advice is to stand back from your herd and try to put a body condition score on the herd impartially, or if you are not confident enough please feel free to ask one of our representatives to call and help you with this. it can surprise you how a herd can slip away over the course of a few weeks and you may not notice over time.
Please feel free to call us on 061 355186 for any help we can give in your animals nutrition. We believe that we are in the business of making you money through animal nutrition.