McLarnon Feeds have introduced an exciting new service for Northern Ireland dairy farmers, which could transform the way in which cows are managed during the dry period and immediately post-calving.
The Transition Management System (TMS) was launched recently at a series of technical seminars, held around the province. TMS has been designed by the leaders in transition cow management and nutrition, UK based Premier Nutrition, to help farmers determine how well their herd is transitioning into the next lactation.
Speaking at the TMS launch, Dr Ronald Annett, ruminant technical manager at McLarnon Feeds, explained how management during the transition period is crucial for herd success.
“Events around calving are particularly stressful for the modern dairy cow. It’s not surprising then that 50% metabolic disorders occur in the first three weeks after calving. If we can ensure the cow remains healthy during this critical period, through better nutrition or maybe just a small change in management, this will set her up to realise her true potential.
“The question every dairy farmer asks is: ‘What changes do I need to make?’ This is where TMS comes in,” says Ronald.
TMS is an on-farm recording service which is unique in evaluating some key parameters that impact on cow health and performance during the transition period, including body condition score and lameness. It involves a monthly visit by the TMS manager, who provides an impartial assessment of the herd, followed up with a monthly report which is sent to the farmer. A technical advisor from McLarnons is also on hand to follow up with support and recommendations at individual farm level.
Almost 40,000 cows from around 140 UK dairy herds are now being recorded on a monthly basis using TMS, which has now been running for nearly five years.
“Milk fever prevention is traditionally the main benchmark for transition cow health,” says Dr Andrew Pine, Ruminant director at Premier Nutrition. “The TMS data clearly shows that retained cleansings is now the number one clinical health issue in freshly calved cows, yet the incidence is rarely recorded. TMS provides dairy farmers with a comprehensive tool to independently monitor the energy and health status of their cows and to record the incidence of key transition health issues. With these records to hand, we can then begin to identify the main bottlenecks at farm level and highlight the areas where attention should be focused.”
To find out more about TMS or sign up for the service, speak to your local McLarnons salesrRepresentative or telephone the McLarnon office on 028 9035 1321.