After a difficult summer, where lower than average temperatures impacted on grass growth, utilisation and in some cases silage quality, the recent spell of good weather has been long overdue, but initial grass silage results confirm the extent of the challenge that lies ahead. Prospects for milk prices might seem gloomy but producers must recognise that the nutrient requirements of a 40 litre cow have not changed from this time last year. Efficiency of production should be at the forefront of producer’s minds, with the aim to make every consumed kilogramme of feed work harder than ever before.
Winter rations must be tailored to maximise both dry matter intakes and the energy requirements of the cow. The reduction of a negative energy balance is paramount to ensure both cow health and performance isn’t compromised - particularly in the freshly calved cow. Every unit is different and genetics and management systems all play a part in the diversity, therefore it is vital that every herd is addressed individually and cows are target fed where possible. Balancing rations in terms of feed rates is essential but it is also important to ensure adequate amounts of rapidly fermentable carbohydrates are available to maximise the microbial activity within the rumen. The inclusion of protected fats to increase the overall energy density of the ration will also be of benefit especially where silages have lower ME values.
Cereal based rations will enhance the glucogenic quality of the diet by forming blood glucose the building blocks for metabolisable energy. Glucogenic diets will drive milk yield, enhance milk composition and reduce the number of days anoestrus (days not cycling). If these nutrients are not supplied in the cows diet they will be mobilised from body tissue and the cow will “milk off her back”. For this winter, in addition to the Thompsons’ HGM and Classic range, a new Whitegold range has been created to complement the variation in forages and herd situations that are being fed. All diets contain a maize and wheat based compound nut, ranging from 17% to 21% crude protein. Alongside tailored blends, all forages should be adequately supplemented this winter.
For further advice on how to balance your diets for the winter ahead please contact your local Thompsons’ representative.
Since its launch four years ago Rumitech365 has continued to play a significant role in improving the rumen conditions of cows across Northern Ireland. Born out of three years of scientific study by AFBI and UCD and with support from Invest NI, Thompsons’ Rumitech365 has been proven to show an improvement in milk yield of 2.3 litres and a butterfat increase of 0.15%. By raising rumen pH and optimising conditions for the digestion of nutrients, Rumitech365 has been locally proven to enhance the efficiency of feed conversion by 14%. With conditions difficult at farm level it is important that the ability to convert feed into milk is maximised this winter. To find out how this can benefit your herd talk to your local Thompsons’ representative and follow our technical advice on other value added products available from Thompsons in the following weeks in the Farming Life.
Fertility, lameness, mastitis and herd health all have a massive impact on milk yield and the overall financial performance of local herds. To combat this, all HGM ranges contain Availa 4 protected minerals. Tried and tested the inclusion of Availa 4 protected minerals improve fertility (in calf 13 days earlier), reduce lameness (30% less overall claw lesions), lower somatic cell count (by 14.5%) as well as improving the productive performance of lactating dairy cows (by 1.1 litre of milk).
The Thompsons DD pack, developed in association with Zinpro Performance Minerals, is the first product within the U.K dairy industry to address the issue of digital dermatitis from the inside out. While it does not replace the need for well managed DD protocols on farm such as foot bathing and slurry management, it does represent not only a new trace mineral product but also an entirely new approach to controlling and reducing DD on dairy farms. The Thompsons DD Pack is now available on request in Thompsons’ blend plant.
Heifer DD Pack
Following further extensive research by Zinpro, a product to combat DD in heifers has been introduced to the market and is now available from Thompsons as the Heifer DD Pack. The recent research has shown that when this product was supplemented in the diet, there was on average, a 64% decrease in the incidence of the disease. This research was carried out on almost 10,000 heifers across 22 farms.
For further information on any of Thompsons’ value added products contact your local sales representative or Thompsons on; 028 9035 1321
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