Dairy farmers should be alert to signs of compromised rumen function

Cows out at pasture
Cows out at pasture
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As diets change to reflect grazing availability, dairy farmers are being urged to look out for the warning signs of compromised rumen function that can lower feed efficiency and overall production performance.

“Many dairy farmers rely on their vet or nutritionist to provide advice on rumen function, however, there are tools that farmers can use to monitor their cows on a regular basis,” says Dr Helen Warren, European technical manager at Alltech.

Dr Helen Warren,  European technical manager, Alltech

Dr Helen Warren, European technical manager, Alltech

She’s encouraging all producers to regularly carry out their own simple on-farm assessment, which can promptly alert them to problems with rumen health.

“It’s really important that farmers are able to evaluate rumen function in order to optimise herd efficiency. While there are numerous causes of compromised rumen function, and expert advice may be needed to address the issue, recognising the warning signs is an important initial step that can give farmers confidence to take action.”

Dr Warren says there are several methods of evaluating rumen function, including manure sieving, monitoring rumen fill and body condition scoring.

She’ll be discussing the signs and symptoms of compromised rumen function, as well as how to monitor them, during a seminar at the forthcoming UK Dairy Day being held at the International Centre in Telford on September 14.

“Many dairy farmers rely on their vet or nutritionist to provide advice on rumen function, however, there are tools that farmers can use to monitor their cows on a regular basis.”

Dr Helen Warren, European technical manager, Alltech

Dr Warren will deliver a practical guide to rumen health, including simple on-farm assessment, as well as looking at opportunities to maximise rumen function that will deliver a cost benefit to the producer.

The seminar will take place at 10.20am within the Sharing Knowledge Zone at UK Dairy Day and further advice will be offered at the Alltech stand.