Bretts Ruminant Support Specialists are available to offer advice to livestock farmers
SPRING 2018 will be remembered as a challenging period for all farms. Adverse weather led to rapidly, declining silage reserves, poor grass growth and difficult grazing conditions. It is important to stay positive and not make rash decisions. Our Sales Representatives and Ruminant Support Specialists are freely available to offer advice that is tailored to your farm so pick up the phone to get practical advice that will help you work through this season.
Focus on body condition of milking cows
Bretts Ruminant Support Specialists have been condition-scoring milking herds and on a high proportion of herds they are reporting a lot of cows with a body condition score (BCS) of less than 2.75. This is mainly attributable to the challenging spring and energy intake has been below the optimum level to maintain milk yield and milk solids. If cows are on low grass covers then total dry matter intake suffers and cows ‘milk off their back’ and this could impact on fertility performance. Assess your herd and contact one of our team to devise a plan to ensure cows are on a rising plan of nutrition during the breeding season.
Feeding must remain flexible
Thankfully temperatures are increasing and ground conditions are improving but it is still very weather dependent. Grass growth is improving but covers remain low and supplementation needs to increase if there is a grass deficit. As an example, cows being allocated 14 Kgs DM of grass per day will only utilise 12.0 Kgs DM and cows require 5.5 kgs of concentrate to support 25 litres. However, if grass intakes are lower or higher than this then feed level can be increased or decreased respectively. If cows are in poor BCS supplements must be increased.
Keep your approach to feeding flexible depending on available forage, grass supply, grazing conditions, cow body condition score and milk yield. Adhere to maximum feeding levels recommended on your feed label. The circumstances will vary from farm to farm and our Ruminant Support Specialists are on hand to assess the situation of your herd. One common problem is that farmers overestimate the intake of grass and if this happens cows will not be adequately fed.
Bretts Maxi Breeder Cubes are carefully formulated to complement spring grass, offer a flexible feed rate throughout the breeding season and provide all mineral requirements to cows at this crucial time. Maxi Breeder Cubes also contain the unique Performance Improvement Pack that helps to stabilise rumen environment, reduce the risk of acidosis, utilise valuable protein in the grass and regulate milk urea levels. Supreme Breeder Cubes include Actisaf Yeast and this works well in tackling issues where butterfats are dropping in milk. For more information contact Bretts 056 77 55300 or contact your local Stockist or Sales Representative.
Irvin Rothwell’s agricultural contracting business is currently offering farmers a Grassland Aeration service. For details contact Irvin on 087 2588325.