Monday, 28 February 2022

Metabolics need not be a delicate balancing act


Transitioning cows through pre-calving and into lactation requires careful planning, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

To avoid the costly consequences of metabolic disease including reduced milk production, delayed mating, and stock deaths, it is important to identify and understand if you have a problem. Key signs are if you have more than 3% of your cows going down, or you use more than 10 bags of metabolic treatments for every 100 cows.

Don’t forget that in every case of clinical disease you treat, there will be other cows suffering from sub-clinical disease in the herd. In all cases, correctly balancing the cow’s mineral requirements will help minimise levels of metabolic disease.

To help with any diagnosis consider:

  • When are the cows going down – pre-calving, calving or post-calving?
  • Soil and pasture test results for magnesium and calcium.
  • Cow diet during pre-calving and post-calving.
  • Types, amounts and rates of minerals used pre-and post-calving.
  • Blood test results for magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, and energy.
  • Weather conditions.
  • Fertiliser and lime history.

Prevention is always better than cure and the below should be considered:

  • Ensure stock are adequately fed before, during and after calving.
  • Manage cow and heifer body condition pre-calving.
  • Use a quality magnesium supplement (Magnesium Sulphate, Magnesium Chloride Natural, Magnesium Oxide Fine) from 4-6 weeks pre-calving through to at least the end of mating.
  • Minimise pre-calving calcium supplementation including liming pastures.
  • Identify ‘at risk’ animals early and manage them accordingly.
  • Avoid grazing effluent blocks with late pregnancy cows.
  • Use a quality lime flour for post-calving calcium supplementation.

For further advice or to place an order speak to your agri manager or call the Customer Centre on 0800 100 123.