Dairy Business Centre
September 2020 Newsletter 

In this months Newsletter: 

Empty Cows – Whats the Cost?

It is fair to say that getting cows in calf earlier, and tightening the calving spread is a desired goal for many farmers. In Canterbury, after speaking with many vet practices, it was estimated the average empty rate is a staggering 17%. With industry recommendations aiming for < 10%.

How much is an empty cow costing your business? 

For the average sized Canterbury dairy herd of 700 cows, the overall herd reproductive performance “gap” is costing $32,200 per year!

Want to know how much empty cows are costing your herd? 

Click the link below to find the InCalf Gap Calculator

InCalf Gap Calculator

How can you improve your empty rate? 

The success of the dairy cow is determined by her initial transition from a dry cow to a lactating cow. This critical period will determine her overall performance for the season. It is necessary to have good transition management practices leading into early lactation ensuring cows are healthy.

Below are some of our top tips to aid in improving the overall in calf rate.

Metricheck your herd 

  • Metrichecking is necessary to ensure the cows are healthy. Cows suffering from uterine infections are less likely to get in calf than clean cows. Therefore, it is recommended to metricheck and treat “dirty” cows as soon as possible allowing them to clean up their infection and the chance to get back in calf.

Record your “on heat” cows pre-mating

  • Recording “on heat” cows pre-mating will allow you to learn about your herds cycling intervals as well as non-cycling cows, particularly if you are new to managing the herd. This will also allow management to train staff before mating has begun, which reduces staff practice mistakes.

Do pre-mating blood tests

  • Pre-mating blood tests determine the herds mineral status coming into mating and also allows you time to rectify any mineral issues. Trace minerals such as Selenium and Iodine are very important for reproduction, however,  it is necessary to check for macro minerals such as Calcium and Phosphorous. Phosphorous is the back bone mineral in many reproductive hormones. If P is lacking from the cows system, these hormones will not function to their full potential.

Get your nutrition right

  •  Nutrition and mineral management is key in ensuring healthy cows. For the first 6 months of the season dairy cows are expected to calve, hit peak within 21 days, begin cycling, get in calf again all without getting sick. This is a lot of pressure on the dairy cow and they need to be fed appropriate nutrition and minerals to meet their requirements. Minerals play a large role in overall cow health and particularly in reproductive performance. Do your blood tests, re-evaluate your mineral plan going forward and evaluate your feed management eg; as pasture changes compliment the change with appropriate supplementation.

Product of the Month! 

Liquid Organic Chromium 

Organic Liquid Chromium gives the cow the ability to utilise more glucose from her diet effectively. Which leads to improved immunity, improved reproductive performance and improved milk yield… What does that mean for you?

Your herd will have the energy to combat sickness such as mastitis or metabolic issues, energy to get back in calf sooner, and produce more milk.

On farms using Liquid Organic Chromium we have seen empty rates improve by 4% ! 

To learn more about the benefits of Chromium and what it can do for your herd contact your local DBC rep!

What’s Being Seen in the Field?

The weather has been kind to most regions across the country, with soil temperature rising and pasture beginning to take off, it is important to not sacrifice your springer herd to keep on top of the pasture. This is what we are seeing as the cause of many down cows on farm this season.

We are also seeing a number of herds having lack of Calcium and Phosphorous mineral stores to get them through calving and safely into the colostrum herd. It is important to rebuild these mineral stores throughout the season and particularly through the dry period to provide enough nutritents to get through calving and make it back into the milking herd smoothly.

The DBC reps are busy helping farmers with their transition minerals, lead feed and providing the best mineral and feed options to suit your lactating herd. We have been helping farmers and calf rearers set up efficient and easy rearing systems using Maximize Calf Pellets and Stalosan disinfectant. We are hands on in helping farmers, providing the best nutrition and advice for a successful season.

Things to check:

  • Mating – Are you ready? It is recommend to do premating bloods to provide a representation of what minerals your herd may need coming into mating.  Test for macro and trace minerals! Don’t forget to Metricheck and treat cows with uterine infections.
  • Send your results to your DBC rep to ensure you are getting the best sound advice and quality mineral supplementation for your stock!
  • Springer Diet Is your springer transition feed plan and minerals organised? Are you getting down cows? Transition not going as smoothly as its could be? Get in touch to see how we can help.
  • Calves – Milk is best! Do not stress if calves are not moving on to solid feed as quickly as you would like. Keep solid feeds such as Maximize and Hay on offer, but  remember milk is always the best form of nutrition for young calves.
  • BCS – lactating cows are now losing weight. They will not start cycling until they begin to lose less weight than the day before.
  • Young stock mating – Heifers need to be hitting target weights and have appropriate mineral supplementation preparing them for mating. The best form of mineral supplementation for heifers at grazing are Loose Lick options. This always ensures consistent mineral consumption when compared to mineral injectables and lick blocks.
  • Remember young stock need Phosphorous and Calcium to grow strong, healthy bones.
  • Calving is a busy and stressful time of year. Remember to take care of yourself and your staff during this time.

Water Soluble Minerals – DBC vs Other

DBC aims to help farmers achieve their goals nutritionally by providing high quality products only using ingredients that the animal can actually utilise and absorb!

How good are your water minerals ?

We decided to put DBC’s MAX-T-MINS to the test against other water minerals on the market. Check out the results below!

MAX-T-MINS water minerals have shown time and time again consistent healthy results testing above “other” minerals and within the optimal recommended range to meet dairy cow requirements!!

How are MAX-T-MINS so much better? 
DBC only use mineral sources that the cow is able to utilise. Formulated to meet the growing demands of the modern dairy cow.

MAX-T-MINS, Water Soluble Minerals optimising the health and performance of your dairy herd

Silo Guard vs Incoulants 

Inoculants are bacteria additives such as L Buchneri (which produces acetic acid), that are used to manipulate and enhance fermentation in baleage, pasture and maize silage. However, fermentation cannot occur unless oxygen is removed from the stack. 

Silo Guard is an oxygen scavenger, eliminating oxygen from bales and stacks allowing for fermentation to occur faster.

Mould and Fungus are naturally present in forages. As soon as forage is cut, it begins to decompose. Extended drying times are perfect conditions for bacteria and fungus colonies to establish before being baled/stacked. This can cause heating and moulds to grow.

Forages such as maize, pasture and lucerne contain wild type bacteria’s such as wild L Buchneri, which is an anaerobic organism that will not function in the presence of oxygen. Even in very well compacted silage there is still oxygen trapped inside so mould and yeast will thrive. By eliminating oxygen Silo Guard prevents mould and yeast growth and allows the natural hetero-fermentation to produce lactic and acetic acid which will then effectively reduce colonies (cfu/g) of mould and yeast during the fermentation period.

Use Silo Guard for efficient, healthier fermentation for better quality silage’s.

Market Update

The DBC arrow traffic light system is a good indication on the direction the market price is moving and when the time is right to buy.

If PKE plays a large part in your farming operation then we would recommend securing a position to get you through the first part of the season. It is hard to predict if the price will eventually end up softening. Current pricing is heavily impacted by the recent drop in the dollar, the global continuing effects from COVID19 and volume of supply from last season’s harvest.

To learn more about these trends or to purchase commodities get in touch with your local DBC rep.

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Did you see our article on page 38 of the Canterbury Farming Paper August edition? Feeding calves right from day one!

Click the link to check out the impressive results our clients have seen using MAXIMIZE Calf Pellets!

Canterbury Farming Paper

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