Pre-Housing: Keep in control of your farm.
Dry cow Management
With autumn grass growth good at present, the objective is to achieve a BCS of 3.0 at drying off. With a small sample of silage analysis, the results seen are:
- Average DM% = 30.76, the lowest being 23.9%,
- Average DMD% = 69.5% the lowest being 65%,
- Average CP% = 12.74%, the lowest being 10.8%.
With digestibility and crude protein percentage looking to be low, analysis is critical to optimize BCS at calving with a balanced compound. Additionally, the mineral status is critical to minimize issues with metabolic disorders. Get this done now to plan your dry cow program.
In the spring of 2021, there was a higher than accepted mortality of calves at birth than would have been the norm for several herds. These were calves dead at birth or shortly afterwards, calves that were slow drinkers and calves referred to as being dopy. These calves had one thing in common there were all from in calf heifers calving for the first time. When a blood profile was carried out on them, they were all very low in selenium. As in calf heifers are not supplemented at grass, administering a bolus is a good practice. Supplementing with a dry cow mineral alone starting from a very low base will be difficult to correct. It is a good practice to carry a blood profiling out in the last 100 days in milk as this gives time to correct the basal status.
Housing and Stress
Scanning is underway and results are looking good with less than 12% not in calf, some herds are up to 18% not in calf. Stress caused indoors by lack of headspace and not enough cubicles will give rise to issues with metabolic disorders even with the highest specification mineral being fed. Therefore, cows not in calf, cows that had issues with high SCC during the grazing season should be culled pre-housing to optimize comfort, reduce stress and metabolic disorders giving the freshly calved cow the best opportunity in the next lactation to maximize performance and profitability.
Over the last two weeks, there has been 5% to 10% of cows with dirty backsides indicative of a high worm load. These herds were wormed in mid to late June. It is good practice to worm just these cows now, farmers have observed a milk response on doing so.
PAT O’BYRNE – NUTRIBIO NUTRITIONIST