Improving calving to conception interval from 135 to 125 days

Feeding grass silage treated with Powerstart inoculant reduced calving to conception intervals by 10 days per cow.
Feeding grass silage treated with Powerstart inoculant reduced calving to conception intervals by 10 days per cow.

More production from grass and improved fertility are constant topics in dairy farming. A recent study has shown that some of these improvements can be achieved through small refinements in the silage making process.

The study involved more than 100 herds and 25,000 cows and showed that feeding grass silage treated with Genus ABS Powerstart inoculant can reduce calving to conception intervals by 10 days per cow. What made this study different to other studies – and the results even more exciting – was the fact that it was not a study designed to prove a point. In this case, the positive anomaly was spotted and only then did the work begin to establish why.

Powerstart treated silage will mean fewer undesirable breakdown products during fermentation.

Powerstart treated silage will mean fewer undesirable breakdown products during fermentation.

The study, which was reported at the International Silage conference in Finland, included 103 herds, all of which were using Genus ABS’ Reproductive Management System (RMS) to ensure consistently recorded and accurate fertility information.

In total, 49 herds (11,621 cows) were fed grass silage treated with Powerstart. The remaining 54 herds (13,415 cows) were fed either untreated grass silage or grass silage treated with other additives.

Cows fed with the Powerstart treated silage had a mean calving to conception interval of 125 days, compared to other herds where the average interval was 135 days.

The study author John Cook (Vet) said he believes the improved calving to conception interval is linked to superior forage palatability, higher dry matter intakes and to improved silage protein quality seen in the treated forage.

“Intakes play a big part in the management of early lactation energy balance. Cows with a daily DM intake equivalent to 4 per cent bodyweight are shown to be more likely to be in calf by 110 days post calving than those eating just 3.5 per cent of body weight.

“This difference in intake is equivalent to 1.5kg DM per day. Feeding trials with Powerstart treated silage showed a feed intake response of an extra 1kgDM per day, meaning cows fed this treated forage are closer to the four per cent target.”

Powerstart treated silage will ferment very quickly which means more of the best nutrients are kept, with less of the essential amino acids breaking down to undesirable products. With fewer of the undesirable products going into the cow’s blood stream, reproductive performance is optimised.

For more information on Powerstart silage additive contact your Genus ABS representative or phone the office on 02838 331451.