Getting to the root cause of herd underperformance can be a difficult task, and is one which Roy McCrea undertook in earnest, when he felt his herd were not meeting their potential.
Roy McCrea farms with his two sons, Richard and Mark in Tree Tops Farm, in Claudy, County Londonderry. Tree Tops Farm is a dairy enterprise which milks 700 cows.
The cows are typically high performing, with milk yields of 9000kg, and the farm is a proud supplier of Strathroy Dairies.
A couple of years ago, the McCreas were concerned that their herd was not performing as well as it should be and were keen to get to the root cause of the issue.
Their vet organised for blood tests and forage analysis; the results of which all indicated trace element deficiencies in copper, cobalt, selenium and iodine.
To address this issue, the vet recommended Bimeda’s CoseIcure Cattle Boluses. He explained to the McCreas that these boluses provide consistent levels of copper, cobalt, iodine and selenium every single day, for up to six months. This controlled release of trace elements is a critical feature of the boluses, as peaks and troughs in levels of supplementation can have a detrimental effect on the fertility and health of cattle. The vet explained that these boluses are in fact truly unique, being made of a soluble glass, which is designed to dissolve at a controlled and constant rate, which ensures the consistent supply of trace elements.
The vet also highlighted that the boluses were particularly beneficial to animals requiring cobalt and iodine supplementation.
As these particular trace elements cannot be stored in the body, it is vital that deficient animals receive a constant, controlled and daily supply. also highlighted that using a bolus is particularly good for animals requiring cobalt and iodine which cannot be stored in the body and therefore a daily supply is required.
Another attraction of the CoseIcure boluses was their long-lasting nature - it is very convenient to use and reduces labour costs as the cows need only be bolused twice a year.
The farm purchased the CoseIcure boluses at their local Fane Valley store and started bolusing the cows at dry-off.
This has paid dividends, with cow performance and health vastly improved. Now bolusing at dry-off is an essential part of the routine on farm. They also carry out regular blood tests and forage analysis to stay on top of the deficiencies.