Planning for a smoother transition
Thompsons’ nutritionist Mary-Jane Robinson looks at the transition period and what producers need to focus on to make sure everything runs smoothly.
At a recent meeting held in conjunction with Rathfriland Vets’ Aurelie Moralis and Elancos’ Bill Ferris, Thompsons’ Mary-Jane looked at the whole transition period i.e. from 60 days pre to 60 days post calving. With a critical period 21 days pre and post calving, Mary-Jane talked through the dry period in terms of its optimum length (8 weeks), body condition score of cow at calving (2.75-3.25) and the prevention of metabolic stress/disorders. When it comes to feeding these animals, Mary-Jane explained how rumen physiological changes during this time affect the cow’s nutritional requirements. Lameness and its causes; such as genetics, management and nutrition were all up for debate with Mary-Jane giving advice on the benefits of locomotion scoring. Covering general herd health issues through this period meant that Mary-Jane reported on topics such as IBR and BVD which then followed on to the care of the cow post-calving. How the cow is built up in the parlour in terms of ration type and how her environment affects her recovery was a key message in Mary-Jane’s presentation.
Rathfriland Vets’ Aurelie talked through the use of Kexxtone- an Elanco bolus inserted into the animal in the dry period which is a slow release bolus containing the active ingredient monensin. The slow release of monensin shifts the microbial balance in the rumen to produce propionic acid, increasing glucose and ultimately energy available to the cow. Kexxtone is a bolus which will be specifically targeted to animals at risk of ketosis, for example thin cows, fat cows, twin bearing animals, sick cows. But as Aurelie warned it is not a product to be used across the herd and should only be used in conjunction with a vet targeting cows at risk. The Keto Test which is a diagnostic milk test that indicates whether a cow is suffering from Ketosis, which can potentially affect 30% of cows, was also demonstrated.
For further information on any of the above information or any other area of herd management contact your local Thompsons representative or Belfast on; 028 9035 1321
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