Transition management in focus at McLarnon seminars

Dairy farmers attending the McLarnon Feeds Transition Cow Seminar at Banbridge discuss the benefits of calcium supplementation during the dry period
Dairy farmers attending the McLarnon Feeds Transition Cow Seminar at Banbridge discuss the benefits of calcium supplementation during the dry period

Transition cow management and nutrition was in the spotlight at a series of lunchtime seminars, held recently by McLarnon Feeds.

The seminars provided an excellent opportunity for dairy producers across the province to discuss the latest technical innovations on feeding and managing dairy cows during this most critical period in the production cycle.

RFM risk is closely linked to the calcium status of cows at calving. Calcium is critical for correct functioning of the calcium-dependent muscles of the rumen and uterine wall, and without it, cows can encounter problems such as reduced feed intake, displaced abomasum, difficult calvings and retained cleansings. Calcium is also important for a functional immune system, particularly during the transition period when a cow’s immunity is depressed.

Providing dry cows with extra calcium has for some time been considered a major challenge to milk fever. However, the facts are that milk fever is primarily the result of feeding high cation diets to dry cows, in particular sodium and potassium. These cations alter the cow’s acid-base balance in favour of ‘locking up’ calcium, which subsequently leads to milk fever.

ExtraCal Dry Cow technology from McLarnon Feeds supply formulations to the dry cow with extra calcium but without increasing the risk of milk fever. When offered as part of a low DCAD diet, feeding ExtraCal Dry Cow for 3-4 weeks before calving helps boost calcium levels in the close-up cow, reducing the risk of uterine infections, improving muscle tone and easing the transition to lactation.

For more information on designing a dry cow programme to reduce retained afterbirths, milk fever and improve fertility, contact McLarnon Feeds, Randalstown. Tel: 028 796 50321.