With the prospects for milk improving, the need to properly manage dry cows and first calving heifers over the coming weeks takes on even greater significance.
But it’s that time of the year when these animals can pose a real headache for every milk producer. Access to lush grazed grass, which is high in potassium, can predispose the animals to milk fever and other metabolic diseases.
Meeting pre-calvers’ mineral needs during the dry period is crucial to ensure that a cow calves down with ease, produces a healthy calf and goes on to milk profitably throughout her subsequent lactation.
“Ensuring that a dry cow is offered the correct level of mineral and vitamin supplementation is therefore crucially important,” explained John Sayers of HVS Animal Health.
“Repeated research and trial results and on farm experience has confirmed the key role trace elements play in optimising fertility and reducing the stress factors that can lead to elevated Somatic Cell Count and mastitis levels, once a cow joins the main milking herd after calving.
“The challenge of mastitis and a predisposition to high Somatic Cell Counts will be even greater in these animals than is the case with heifers.”
He added: “Heifers ready to calve can be even more difficult to manage at this time of the year. Most will have been grazed since the spring, without receiving additional supplementation. In addition, these animals are still growing. Yet we are expecting them to produce a healthy calf, with a strong immune status to allow it to fight off scour and respiratory problems.
John confirmed that one way of ensuring that the micro trace element requirement of these animals is met in full is to drench them with HVS Liquid Gold Dairy.
“A 100ml dose, administered at drying off or between four and six weeks prior to calving, contains all of the micro trace minerals and vitamins pre- calving animals need. Specifically, zinc, manganese and copper are made available solely in a chelated form.”
According to John, this approach will take the worry out of ensuring that autumn calving animals are not being affected by some form of mineral related problem at calving time.
“HVS Liquid Gold Dairy can act to improve the immune status of the cow and her newborn calf,” he stressed.
Liquid Gold Dairy has a strong track record of success in Northern Ireland. The use of the product has been consistently shown in trials and on farm to help reduce somatic cell counts and improve fertility while also increasing hoof strength and immune function.
For further information, contact HVS Animal Health on 028 4483 1700.