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V O LU M E 10 N O 2 MAR CH 2012

IN THIS ISSUE

CROSS BREEDING

FEED IN G

G RA SSLA N D MANAGEMENT

The benefits of selecting sires from a wider gene pool

Additive turns on the ‘milk from forage’ tap

Tips to help reduce grass waste and boost swards

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C O NTENT

F E A T U R E S

Cow Talk Overalls off: Bell ringer Veterinary practice: Leptospirosis Business: feed price update NMR Dairy Management News Avoncroft Breeding Information/ Thompsons Nutritional News 46 Events and contacts 5 10 23 34 41 43

Editor Rachael Porter Early birds

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R e p ort 12 Consistency is key to Dorset-based herd’s success column 14 Roger Evans mana g ement 16 Producing low-saturated-fat milk is good for cows and consumers B reedin g

20 Big Winner – a sire that makes dreams come true F eedin g 36 Nutrition can boost milk protein and the milk cheque

Mark Harvey “A consistent approach makes it easier to manage a herd” 12

e try to be first here at CowManagement – first to bring you information about new and innovative products, techniques and ideas. And that way we can put you, our readers, first and help to keep you ahead of the game. So what about your girls? Are they out and eagerly taking their first bite of grass this year? If not, take a look at our feature, which starts on page 30, and see if they should be. DairyCo’s Piers Badnell says that on some units cows could already be out as early as February, even if it’s only for a few hours a day. He says that an early and efficient start can actually result in more grass growth and utilisation over the entire grazing season. We hear from a producer who was one of the first to trial a feed additive, developed to help cows get more from the forage portion of their ration, whether they’re inside or out, on page 44. Take a look to find out how he got on and how the product works. We also focus on how to increase milk protein levels through feeding, as we approach the time of year when milk protein percentage tends to dip for some herds. And we look at how fine-tuning butterfat, to reduce saturated fat levels, can benefit cow, as well as human, health. See page 16 to find out more. Our star turn in ‘Overalls off’ this issue is Paul Dutton – a bell ringer from Shropshire. I’m looking for more producers with interesting pastimes to feature in future issues. So please get in touch if you think you – or someone you know – has an interesting story to tell.

Main article Cross breeding

Special Grassland

Feeding More from forage

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Selecting outside the Holstein gene pool is becoming increasingly popular

Tips on grass variety selection and getting more from your swards

A feed additive is helping one herd to produce more milk from forage

COW MAN AG E ME N T

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C O W

The new ‘high-sugar’ generation

Richard Hayes

A high-sugar grass, AberGreen, features in the latest NIAB Herbage Varieties Guide for the first time. It’s the highest yielding intermediate diploid perennial ryegrass, with a grazing yield at 108% of the mean of all perennial ryegrasses on the general list. Alongside other significant strengths, including its ground cover and grazing D-value, the variety also has unrivalled ME yield and is being heralded as the first variety from the IBERS Aberystwyth University grass breeding programme to offer close to the optimum forage

Maize muddle

protein-to-energy balance for improved nitrogen utilisation. This offers benefits for animal production and the environment. As IBERS forage grass breeder Richard Hayes explains, success in producing ryegrasses with higher and higher water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) contents – without a proportional increase in protein level – is the key to the improved nutritional balance. “Cattle are poor converters of grass protein into milk,” said Dr Hayes. “This is largely due to the imbalance between readily available energy and protein within the grass. “In a grazing context this results in only 20% of the protein from herbage actually being used for production. The rest is excreted. “The combination of higher WSC, which provides more readily available energy in the rumen without a proportional increase in crude protein, means more of the nitrogen released from the breakdown of protein is used by the rumen microbes for milk production. “And less is excreted as greenhouse gases.”

Take control of feed preparation Making the best use of the diet and controlling feed costs will become easier thanks to new developments in feeder wagon technology from Keenan. The iKeenan concept extends its PACE and Mech-Fiber technology. Users of the PACE system have been able to download feeder-wagon-use information to their computer and, when milk output information is added, the system calculates feed efficiency. iKeenan’s AutoStop reduces wear and tear

With PACE Connect, feed data is automatically uploaded onto a central web-based system using mobile phone and Cloud technology. The data is available faster with a report sent by email or direct to a Smartphone app. And producers can give their nutritionist, consultant or vet access to the data. “They can monitor performance and help their customers improve margins on a regular basis, often without necessarily visiting the farm. They can also upload changes to the diet remotely, which are then implemented the next time the feeder is used.” Also available is AutoStop, which shuts down the PTO drive to the mixer wagon when the required number of revolutions has been completed and the optimal physical mix has been produced. “We estimate that on heavy usage units, stopping mixing at the correct stage could reduce annual fuel usage by up to £1,000 and also reduce wear and tear,” said Keenan’s Max Ford.

Some of our most eagle-eyed readers spotted a measurement error in the article we ran on maize in the January/ February issue. The Symms’ estimated maize yield in 2011 was between 42 and 45 tonnes/hectare – not per acre as stated.

Balanced minerals help to sweeten swards Fertilisers, formulated to help producers combat the rising cost of bought-in feeds by maximising grass production, are available from Norfolk-based company Bunn. SupaGraze and SupaCut provide a balance of minerals for improved grass yields, as well as multiple nutritional benefits, according to the company. Both products incorporate MagnesiaKainit, a naturally-occurring mineral fertiliser that contains potash, magnesium, sodium, sulphur, and other trace elements. Independent UK trials comparing Magnesia-Kainit with MOP (muriate of potash) showed that grassland treated with the mineral fertiliser out-yielded MOP by more than 10%, with improvements of up to 12% in second-cut silage production. It also ‘primes’ the grass to make best use of nitrogen applications. Bunn’s Jim Holt also says that where the fertiliser product has been applied, grass is sweeter and more palatable. This encourages the cows to eat more of it, resulting in higher dry matter intakes and increased milk yields from forage. UK research on seven farms, with a total of 2,000 cows, supports this. The work found that the cows preferred to graze in areas treated with the mineral fertiliser, rather than NPK or straights. Magnesia-Kainit, a mineral fertiliser

COW MAN AG E ME N T

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M A I N

A RT I C L E

It’s all about breeding the cow that be st s

Horses for The trend towards cross breeding means that the gene pool has widened considerably for many UK producers when they’re looking for sires to use on their Holstein herds. So which breeds are they using and why? Read on and find out. text Rachael Porter

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reeding isn’t just ‘pure’ anymore – it’s about breeding the right cow for your system and set up, and breeding a cow that has longevity. So says Avoncroft’s David Matthews. “Cross breeding is growing in popularity. It’s really taken off during the past year or two,” he says. “Swedish Red, Montbeliarde, MRI, Brown Swiss, Jersey, British Friesian and Fleckvieh are just some of the breeds being used on what had previously been pure-bred Holstein herds. These producers want to improve fertility, longevity or simply all-round robustness.” So why are so many Holstein breeders looking outside the pure-bred gene pool when selecting sires? Why are producers, who if you broke them in half you’d see the word Holstein written through them, cross breeding? “There are many reasons, but fertility is a big one. Producers using Swedish Red sires, for example, may be looking to Richard Park: reduce their involuntary culling rate by “I’m still learning and improving fertility. While those using trying new things” Jersey sires may want to improve milk constituents or perhaps they want to breed smaller cows that are lighter on their feet when out at pasture. It’s usually a combination of things,” says Mr Matthews.

or snobbery about cross breeding doesn’t seem to be there anymore, according to Mr Matthews. “Some producers were a little afraid of cross breeding, worried that it may reduce the value of their stock or perhaps unsure of which direction to take for the best. But it seems that the blinkers have fallen away and that more and more people are waking up to the potential benefits of using other breeds to cross with the Holstein. “They want to breed cows that really do suit their system. They’re using their eyes and experiences and forming their own opinions. And for many it’s not about pure breeds anymore. “Their focus has shifted and now it’s all about what type of cow will produce milk efficiently and easily on their units. “But it’s important not to get carried away. Many producers are crossing with different breeds and it will be interesting to see if they get the improvements they are looking for,” says Mr Matthews. “But most are now selecting bulls with fertility, longevity and health traits within the Holstein breed. The Holstein will still be, by far, the most popular breed in years to come.” The image of cross breeding has also changed. High-profile early adopters have led the way and producers look to these herds, see the success that they’ve had and want some of that for themselves.

Robust cows Richard Park is one of those early adopters. He has been cross breeding for the past 12 years. His family’s 160-cow herd, based at Low Sizergh Farm near Kendal in Cumbria, was pure Holstein until, in

Early adopters Geno UK’s Wes Bluhm agrees. He too has seen a huge increase in sales of semen for cross breeding purposes and says that fertility is the biggest driver among his customers. “This is vital whether you’re running an extensive grass-based system or a more intensive set up. And for fertility we tend to suggest Norwegian Red sires. But which breed will work best varies from herd to herd. There’s no right or wrong breed when it comes to cross breeding. It really is a case of ‘horses for courses’.” Producers are waking up to this idea and the stigma

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be st suits your system and your business

or courses a bid to improve health traits, he introduced Swedish Red bloodlines. “We were considering switching to an organic system so we wanted to breed cows that were less susceptible to mastitis and other problems and would look after themselves a little more than the milk-production-focused Holstein,” he explains. He bought some Swedish Red cows from Sweden and Swedish Red sires were used on the existing herd, with a view to breeding until the herd was pure Swedish Red. “But it didn’t really work out like that. The second-cross heifers and cows were no where near as good as the first cross, so we had a re-think.” He read about some research carried out in the US on three-way crossing and using Holstein, Montbeliarde and Swedish Red bloodlines he gave it a go. “It was quite a leap for me at the time, but then I’d already made the first cross and I wasn’t overly impressed with the second cross. So it was worth a shot,” he says. And it paid off. That was back in 2005 and today his herd is very different to what it was then. It comprises 45% Swedish Red cross, 35% Montbeliarde cross, 8% pure Holstein, and 12% pure Swedish Red and pure Danish Red. And it’s still evolving. “That’s part of the attraction for me. I’m still learning, moving forward and trying new things. I’ve recently started using Fleckvieh sires to replace some of the Montbeliarde sires that I’d been using.” He saw some Fleckvieh crosses on a recent visit to the Netherlands: “I liked what I saw. They had

great udder quality and good temperament too.” After a decade of farming organically, the herd is now back to being run conventionally. Block calving in autumn, Richard looks for cows that give plenty of milk, but get back in calf easily before being turned out to graze in the spring and produce milk as cost effectively as possible off grass.

Calving interval Fertility is king here and with this mix he’s certainly got that. The herd’s service to conception rate is 1.5, pregnancy to first service is 67%, and the calving interval is an impressive 363 days. And production is good too. The herd is averaging 8,100 litres at 4.2% butterfat and 3.3% protein: “That’s close to what the Holstein herd was producing back in 2000, only it’s easier to do it with this herd.” Little wonder that Richard now has visitors to his unit, wanting to know more about cross breeding and to look at his herd. “In my experience, they’re usually looking to increase their herd’s fertility, improve feet and reduce health problems.” He has no worries about the value of his herd either. “We did sell a few cows a couple of weeks ago that didn’t fit in with the calving pattern – some second and third calvers and we saw more than £1,800 a head. We didn’t get the top price, but there was plenty of interest.” He knows that some producers get a lot of pleasure out of their pure-bred cattle – he used to be one of them. “But why not have your cake and eat it? Keep your best cow families pure and pedigree and then do some cross breeding with the rest. l

Fertile future: cows in Richard’s cross-bred herd are so much easier to manage

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O V E R A L L s

Name: Location: Number of cows: Hobby:

O F F

Paul Dutton Calverhall, Shropshire 110 milkers sold, now contract heifer rearing Bell ringing

Paul Dutton: “You don’t have to be musical or particularly strong”

A ‘pealing’ pastime text Rachael Porter

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o you know your ‘Reverse Canterbury’ from your ‘Plain Bob’? Paul Dutton does. For 40 years, he’s been one of the dedicated bell ringers at two of his local churches. He first got involved as a teenager. “That age when if there’s somewhere that most people aren’t allowed to – in other words the bell tower – then you go. And I really enjoyed it.” Today it’s the social side, namely the friendly pint in the pub after mid-week practice with his fellow campanologists, that’s one of the draws. As well as the bell ringing itself, of course. “It’s actually quite skilled. There’s a lot more to it than simply standing there and pulling on a rope. It’s mentally and physically challenging and, even after 40 years, I’m still learning.” Wednesday nights are practice nights, alternately at either St John the Baptist’s church in Ightfield or Holy Trinity at Calverhall. And the bells are rung each Sunday morning for church, as well as for weddings and funerals. And even after all these years Paul says it’s an escape when he climbs the stairs of the bell tower and enters the chamber below the belfry. “There’s something almost magical about it, particularly in older churches. You feel quite privileged to be there.” Paul doesn’t have a specific ‘bell’ that he rings. He says it’s important to be able to ring them all, when you’re part of a team. And he says that once you get the ‘balance and feel’ of a bell that it’s second nature – almost like riding a bike. “You don’t have to be musical or strong. We had some teenage girls who came along to give it a try a while back. It’s just a case of being observant and having a sense of timing.” False nail extensions can hold you back, as one of the girls discovered before promptly removing them and placing them on the window sill. “And it can also be a little off putting when the safety devise or ‘stay’, a length of wood at the top of the bell which prevents it from rotating more than one revolution in either direction, breaks. The bell then becomes a winch and pulls the rope up into the belfry and you have to make sure you let go,” says Paul, adding that it doesn’t happen very often. The team is learning a new ‘method’ at the moment. Most have been around since the eighteenth century – such as Plain Bob, Reverse Canterbury and St Martin. But the aptly named ‘Five Rings’ is a new method, written for the 2012 Olympics. “So we’re giving that a go, which is fun.”

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H E R D

R E P O RT

Protocols are the lynch pin for tip-top performance and a healthy profit

Mark Harvey A management approach based on consistency, as well as the full use of data, drives performance and delivers top level results. Number of cows: Average milk yield Unit size: Heat detection rate:

It’s all down to consistency Running a system that keeps the herd, the business and the books Sturminster Newton

on an even keel is the secret to success on one Dorset-based unit. And gathering and analysing management data is where it all

390 9,600kg 728 hectares 61%

starts. We spoke to the man in charge to find out more. text Rachael Porter

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eveloping a consistent system and gathering management information, which allows problems to be identified and corrective action to be taken, underpins the performance at Hinton St Mary Farms. So says farm manager Mark Harvey, who runs the Velcourtmanaged unit, near Sturminster Newton in Dorset. “Cows like consistency, the rumen needs consistency, staff appreciate consistency and a consistent approach makes it easier to manage a herd as it means we can develop meaningful benchmarks,” he says. The unit was previously run by the owner, Anthony Pitt-Rivers, and Velcourt took over in 2003. Since then, cow numbers have increased from 330 to 390 and yields have also risen from 7,780 to 9,600 litres sold. Mark has more than 30 years of dairy experience and has been employed by Velcourt for 10 years.

cows. In addition he has three dry groups – a far-off group, a transition group and a close-up calving group. “If we keep the number of calvings each month at roughly 30 we can avoid overcrowding. We achieve this fairly well

but, if there is a bottle neck at the moment, then it is in the close-up dry cows. We are looking to put up a new building so the transition and ‘close-up’ cows are housed under the same roof.” The herd is housed all year round

All cows – and these heifers – are bred using Genus’ reproductive management system

Steady flow The whole approach at Hinton St Mary is about steady and undeviating management of the 390-cow herd. The aim is to have 330 cows in milk all year round with 30 calvings per month. “Fertility drives production so we need a steady flow of fresh calved animals. This also means that the grouping system can work efficiently.” Mark runs three milking groups with a group of 70 elite cows who average more than 40 litres per day, a group on 100 fresh calvers and heifers and a final group of 160 mid- and late-lactation

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Hoof care: cows use the footbath twice a day after each milking

although the far-off dry group do sometimes go out to graze and low yielders go out to loaf during the summer. The herd is TMR fed with a diet comprising 70% maize silage and 30% grass silage. This is fed with a blend, beet pulp, molasses, chopped straw and minerals. And even the ration is mixed according to a set protocol to ensure even presentation. Mark likes maize to be in the clamp for at least three months before it is fed to ensure high starch degradability and

Ladies in waiting: a ‘close-up’ group of dry cows

less variability in the forage as fed. He usually includes wholecrop in the diet and plans to reintroduce it next year, growing enough to allow it to be fed 365 days of the year.

Fertility performance As a steady flow of calvings is central to the system, all cows are bred by Genus ABS Reproductive Management Systems (RMS). “Previously we carried out all the heat detection ourselves and, while fertility was acceptable, I felt we were missing a trick. Making the time to watch cows often didn’t happen as we were busy with other tasks. “But now our RMS technician, Charlotte Powell, is focussed on breeding the cows and heifers and she’s an integral member of the team. Fertility performance is monitored regularly and the system gives me the data that tells me all I need to know – I know exactly what is going on.” Heat detection rate is currently running at 61% while pregnancy rate is 20%, compared to the UK average of 13%. Mark also pays close attention to the type of cow he is breeding. “Eight years ago we had a wide range of cow types ranging from extreme Holsteins to more typically British Friesian types. “But I want a consistent herd of similar animals, cows that can compete and are comfortable in the environment with no bullies and no weaklings. “Longevity and durability, with a balanced cow with good feet and udders is important to me. I am not interested in extremes.” Mark has used the Genus GMS mating programme. All cows were scored by breeding advisor Julia Turney and a breeding plan was developed. Now all heifers and three year old animals are scored annually.

Mark is currently using bulls such as Shottle, BlueSky and Homestead. Breeding consistent cows has also allowed heifers to be reared in more even batches. The current average calving age is 772 days. Heifers are also bred by RMS and Mark is using sexed semen on the heifers to accelerate the rate of genetic gain and reduce calving problems. Data is the other key element of the management approach. “With the system we have we can set realistic benchmarks and monitor performance,” Mark explains. “The key to all the information I use is that it must help me manage the cows, identify problems and develop solutions to them.”

Regular footbathing Mark receives regular fertility updates as part of RMS, uses KPI targets developed by Velcourt and also uses NMR Herd Companion and the Genus Herd Health Report. He believes the information has been particularly valuable when trying to restrict the impact of lameness and mastitis. “Mastitis runs at 33 cases per 100 cows. It was higher than this but we have used bacteriology to identify the specific bugs and have a management protocol per bug. “On the lameness front we had a big problem with digital dermatitis when I first came but by implementing routine foot trimming and regular footbathing we have reduced the impact. Cows are footbathed twice daily after milking while all dry cows and youngstock are foot bathed three times a week. “You will never beat these problems but you can manage them. The staff understands the importance of a consistent approach and appreciates that preventative actions are preferably to treating cows.” l

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Shropshire-based producer Roger Evans has a touch of indigestion, possibly brought on by animal welfare groups. CowManagement’s editor also wonders if he’s after a pay rise.

Simply the best I

expect that, like me, you get too much ‘stuff’ through the post. If opening the post and tossing a fair proportion of it unread into a bin was an Olympic sport, I could be a medal prospect. But CowManagement is very different. To start with, the cover photo is always worth a good look. I’m looking at the latest copy now. How did they get that one cow in a different focus to all the others and how did they get her to look just at me? I’ve absolutely no idea. Turn the page and we get a very different photograph – the editor. She looks shy (her Dad thinks she looks shy as well but we both know she isn’t) and she looks coy. I don’t know what winsome means, but she looks like that too. But she is none of these things. She’s more Tina Turner than Mary Poppins in real life. And you can’t tell from her photograph, but she’s very clever. What she has done is find a niche for the magazine that is always useful and relevant to managing cows. Some friends were looking at our cows the other day and suggested that the Holsteins might have a touch of acidosis, but that the cross-bred ones looked fine. So here comes CowManagement and what’s in there? Articles on acidosis and crossbreeding. Is she telepathic? I doubt it, but I bet there’s some witchcraft in her DNA. What it is important to recognise is that the UK dairy industry is at something of a crossroads. The recent DairyCo report confirms that having a low-cost, milk-from-forage herd of cows is the best place to be. The next best place to be is with a high yielding (between 9,000 and 10,000 litres) herd and those of us, the majority probably, are somewhere in between and struggling to break even. We are all probably too close to the costs of the high yielding herd but achieving lower yields. Sustainability is the key. Do you or I have a system that will sustain our business in the longer term? It becomes a clear choice – a ‘get on or get out’ sort of choice. But it’s not quite as simple as that. There is ample evidence that retailers listen to welfare groups and that these groups want family- farm-size units where cows go out to grass in the summer and live in cosy sheds in the winter. These groups haven’t yet picked up on the fact that a lot, and I mean a lot, of dry cows wintered outside on turnips after a wet week are not a pretty sight, but they will. As usual they want it all ways to suit themselves and if they end up not wanting huge units and not wanting low cost units, and the conventional units are not making any money, then you have to assume that they don’t want any milk either. It could be that they haven’t worked that out yet, or it could be that they are all driven by a vegan agenda anyway. There are challenging times ahead and a magazine like this will continue to stimulate us, keep us up to date with new developments and ahead of the game. If I have acidosis I take Rennies. They always work and I wouldn’t be without them.

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Copyright, ©, 2012, Alltech. All rights reserved

01-03-2012 14:07:38


M A N A G E M E N T

Dairy cows are happier and healthier producing lower sat fat milk

Fine-tuning fat favours cow health The UK dairy industry is making headway into monitoring and modifying the amounts – and types – of fat produced in milk to meet Government guidelines. And it looks like a win-win situation as the benefits of managing dietary fat appear to have cow-side benefits too. text Karen Wright

S

etting the ball rolling on the subject of saturated fat this year was National Milk Laboratories’ director Ben Bartlett in his paper at the British Cattle Breeders’ Conference. He looked at how saturated fat in milk might be influenced through genetics, cow nutrition and management. Thanks to an investment in mid Infra Red (mIR) technology, which can establish fatty acid profiles at a fraction of the cost of gas chromatography, NML has been routinely generating fatty acid profiles for 50,000 milk samples a month for the past two years and identifying the groups of fatty acids, such as saturated fatty acids (SFA), in each sample. “It is clear that there is a wide variation in saturated fats, which include a number of bad fats, between herds and in some cases between cows within a herd,” he said. “In November 2011 the overall industry average %SFA in milk was approximately 69% but, at the extremes, some herds had a SFA% of less than 57% while others had a SFA% of more than 80%. The reasons for the range in SFA percentages are complicated but the two primary drivers are feeding and breeding.” NML data showed up that some cows in a herd can be seen to be producing more than 5.5% fat with SFA results below 60%, while others are showing much lower fat results with SFAs above 70%. “There is a need to understand relationships, such as cow health and productivity against the fatty acid profile and groups of fatty acids, such as saturated fatty acids,” adds Mr Bartlett.

Productivity vs. profile

Feeding and breeding play major roles in the range of saturated fatty acids in milk

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While fatty acid production is a complex business – a cow will produce about 1.2kg of 400 different dairy fatty acids from 600g of 10 different dietary fatty acids – there is evidence that cows that produce higher levels of unsaturated fats, the ones that are good for the human diet, are healthier themselves. “We already have milk buyers requesting fatty acid profiles on bulk milk samples. But there’s growing interest from feed companies who are becoming more aware of the role of fatty acid profiling as a tool that can enable them to make adjustments that will not only result in milk with less saturated fat but also lead to improvements in cow health, feed efficiency and profitability. BOCM PAULS are using the NML fatty acid profiling service as part of its

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Fat monitoring projects Two four-year projects are now underway that will monitor saturated fat profiles in milk using NML’s mIR monitoring service. The Optimir project will pool fatty acid profiles from five EU countries alongside phenotypic data to provide a European standard. The second project is UK based and co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board. NML will provide fatty acid profiles on both bulk milk and individual cow samples and work with SAC and Marks and Spencer to establish links with genetic and management factors.

NML has found a wide range in % SFA production between cows within a herd

Visiolac feed efficiency monitoring service that reports on the cow’s energy and protein use and on her health and fertility. It also reports on the milk’s Omega 3 status, saturated fat level and on methane production per litre of milk. “We have more than 800 producers using this service,” says BOCM PAULS’ ruminant marketing manager David Forbes. “It gives an ‘inside story’ on their herd’s feed efficiency and certainly helps them and their account managers improve performance.” And by using the extruded linseed product Lintec in cow diets, already Robert Wytchard: ”Using our fatty acid profiles for rationing has led to better fertility, more milk and improved cow condition”

known to have a positive effect on saturated fat levels in the milk and to help to reduce methane levels, they found that improvements could also be made to milk yield, fertility and overall cow health. “By incorporating fatty acid profiles as part of our feed efficiency programme we can assess the nutritional status of the cow and adjust the ration. A carefully formulated diet that includes Lintec will increase the proportion of valuable Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet leading to less saturated fat in the milk.” On-farm trials have also shown improvements in cow condition and well-being and observed reductions in the risk of acidosis by improving acid flow through the rumen wall.

Fertility increase A further bonus of monitoring feed efficiency has been an increase in conception rates for The Mapledurham Trust near Reading. Estate manager Robert Wytchard recorded an increase in the 500-cow herd’s three month conception rate moving from 30% to 40% following the introduction of Lintec at a rate of 0.5kg per cow per day and improved fertility protocols. “We started using Visiolac to monitor feed efficiency and introduced Lintec into the partial mixed ration in October 2010, which includes maize and grass silage, lucerne bales, Intamix and minerals,” he said. “We also feed an 18% Eco Elite ration in the parlour. “During the past 15 months, alongside fertility improvements, we’ve seen an

increase in yield of 500kg. Our NMR average is 11,237kg of milk at 3.78% fat and 3.15% protein with the current cow average at 37kg and a margin over purchased feed of 19.93ppl. “Cows look healthier too – their coats really shine, and they’re showing more bulling activity which is important to us in an all-year-round calving herd.” Saturated fat level for this herd, based on NML monthly bulk milk tests, was a rolling 70% during winter 2010/11 but has now dropped to 65% which is well below the M&S threshold level for their new healthy milk initiative. Fine tuning the diet at Mapledurham did add to ration costs but according to their account manager, Richard Greasley, this was marginal and easily covered by the value of the extra milk. There are also savings attached to health and fertility improvements and the possibility of lower vet costs.

Widespread profile use Mr Bartlett can see a time, quite soon, where fatty acid profiling will be common place in nutritional planning in herds. “We are already planning industry events that will demonstrate the use and benefits of fatty acid profiles in practical dairy situations and the availability of results through Herd Companion. “Also, it will soon be possible to provide fatty acid profiles from individual cow NMR samples. This could be used in management but would also have widereaching implications in genetic evaluations and breeding decisions.” l

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01-03-2012 11:27:31


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05/08/2011 11:46 25-08-2011 13:16:14


S I R E

R E P O RT

Outcross Win 395 son gains popularity with the improvement of his breeding values

Big Winner – a breeder’s dream

BIG WINNER (WIN 395 X LUCKY LEO)

Production proof: 296 daughters in 160 herds (Source: GES/DairyCo breeding+, December 2011)

In 18 months the breeding values of Big Winner have risen

Kg M % fat % prot. Kg fat Kg prot. PIN PLI +166 +0.17 +0.11 +20.0 +13.9 £35 £158 Longevity: SCC: Fertility: Calving ease: Temperament: Milking speed:

increased by 250 days of longevity. Late maturity appears

+504 days (exceptional) 8 103 101 104 105

to be the trademark of the Super Star family, which contains 100-tonne and excellent cows. text Florus Pellikaan

Conformation: 74 daughters in 48 herds 88

frame

102

dairy strength

105

udder

105

feet and legs

107

total score

107

stature chest width body depth

112

97 100 98

angularity

100

condition score

103

rump angle

98

rump width

103

rear legs rear view

104

rear legs side view

102

foot angle

101

locomotion

106

fore udder attachment

108

front teat placement

100

teat length

100

98

udder depth

103

rear udder height

102

central ligament

101

rear teat placement

104

by more than 60 points NVI, 3 points for conformation and

A

bull that inherits the vision of his breeder almost to perfection is not only every breeder’s dream, but also an exceptional phenomenon. Big Winner however shows like no other that late maturity and longevity is the aim of his breeders Jos and Ingrid Knoef. In just 18 months, in fact, Big Winner improved his breeding values from 143 NVI, 104 for total score and +252 days longevity to 208 NVI, 107 for total score and +504 days of longevity. The breeding value for rate of maturity has at 111 become his most extreme index. The improvements in breeding values of

Big Winner are also easy to see in his daughters. During the NRM in 2010 the functionally built daughters were still somewhat immature. As second-calved cows however, during an open day in September 2011, the daughters had matured into gentle milking cows with depth.

Favourite family The progression that Big Winner is undergoing appears to be the absolute family trade mark as Jos explains the history of the Super Star family. “We started late here on the farm with

Lightning daughter Big Super Star 30, half sister to Big Winner

“They are all the same” Dinand Vosman from KI Kampen has seen many daughters of Big Winner and his conclusion is clear. “They are all the same. When you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. The Big Winners are normally developed as maiden heifers, somewhat closed in the ribs with well-formed udders and the best feet and legs. The older they are, they grow out and they survive in any cubicle system.” Dinand advises using Big Winner on somewhat large, milk-typical cows.

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01-03-2012 11:16:44


Pinkpop daughter Big Pinkpop Star 5, grand dam of Big Winner

Holsteins, but after several visits to America I was enthusiastic. I then bought two Blackstar embryos from the Etazon programme,” he says. The two embryos resulted in two pregnancies and two heifers, one of which Jos later sold. Big Etazon Blackstar remained on the farm and became the founding dam of the successful Super Star family. She produced almost 140,000kg of milk, with 10,000kg of fat and protein and was classified VG89. “The producer who bought the other Blackstar unfortunately has no members of the family left. In breeding there is a very fine line between success and bad luck, because it could have turned out the other way round,” says Jos. CRV bought an Ideal son out of the Blackstar daughter, but then it went quiet as far as AI breeding interest round the Super Star family was concerned. On the Knoef’s unit, the family were working on the image of long lasting cows. So the excellent Pinkpop daughter of Blackstar, Big Pinkpop Star 5, produced more than 100,000kg with 3.64% protein and she won the heifer title at the HG show in 1996 in Zwolle. Danaco Bell Sundae (Bell) Big Etazon Blackstar (Blackstar) Big Pinkpop Star 5 (Pinkpop) Big Super Star 25 (Lucky Leo)

Big Winner (Win 395)

Big Super Star 30 (Lightning)

Big Superstar (Fidelity)

Big Embrace (Fiction)

Lucky Leo daughter Big Super Star 25, dam of Big Winner

Without doubt Jos names the Super Stars as the favourite cow family of the farm. “They are not very big, but they are correctly built and always equipped with good udders. They also continue to produce milk of high quality.”

Bull father The Pinkpop daughter, in combination with Lucky Leo, resulted in Big Super Star 25, the dam of Big Winner. “As a heifer she scored VG86 and she had a lactation score of 100. In later years she was classified EX90 and produced well over the farm average with 3.87% protein. “On our own initiative we had the cow flushed. And she produced 79 embryos by bulls such as Goldwyn, O Man, Shottle, Orcival and Lightning.” “KI Kampen was the first AI company that wanted to do something with the Lucky Leo daughter,” says Jos. From KI Kampen sire analyst Dinand Vosman became involved in the purchase of Big Winner. “This family fits with the high lifetime productivity and the high protein like no other sire at KI Kampen. And Win 395 was a bull father with us because of his good feet and legs inheritance. Looking back things went really well with Big Winner. He has the feet and legs and the milk potential of his father and the milk contents and the longevity of his maternal line.” In the outer appearance of Big Winner, Dinand sees much in harmony with his family. “If we were to photograph the bull again, from the view point of two years ago, he has become deeper and more open. We also see that in his daughters. In the rough productivity figures the second-calved Big Winners produce 1,500kg of milk and 0.06% protein more than in their first lactation.” From the first breeding figures for Big

Winner, KI Kampen had confidence in the bull. “Otherwise we wouldn’t have shown a group at the NRM a couple of months later. But fair’s fair, we hadn’t expected either that he would become such a success.” Only since the last index round has KI Kampen also used Big Winner as a sire of sons. “His first breeding values were naturally not fit for a direct sire of sons. But through the huge improvement in his breeding values he has commanded this status and alongside that is his natural out-cross pedigree.”

Super Stars Jos has also only just begun to use the bull in a big way since the last index run. “The bull fits into my breeding vision, but in the beginning he was rather ordinary for udder health and I find that a very important characteristic. But now I see that somatic cell count improves as Big Winners calve more often, which gives me confidence that there will be high lifetime production.” On Jos’ farm the following generations of the Super Star family can also count on importance in breeding. CRV genomically tested more young bulls from O Man daughter Big Super Star 32 and from the red factor Lightning daughter Big Super Star 30. “We didn’t keep a bull from the O Man daughter, but the bulls from Lightning had very good markers,” says Tonny Koekkoek, sire analyst at CRV. “Her Fidelity son Big Superstar is even in the top 10 genomic red-and-white bulls. We use both him, as well as Fiction halfbrother Big Embrace, as sires of sons.” Meanwhile Dinand is looking to another highpoint for Big Winner. “As it looks now we want to exhibit a group of third-calved daughters at the NRM. Meanwhile the first has calved and things are looking good.” l

c ocwomwamn aa ng ae g m ee m n et n m t asre cp h t e 2m0 b1 e2r

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01-03-2012 11:16:55


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02/02/2012 08:44 01-03-2012 14:15:15


F R O M

T H E

V E T E R I N A RY D E B B Y

P R A C T I C E

B R O W N

Consulting cattle vet Debby Brown, from Lancaster-based Advance Nutrition, takes a timely look at health and welfare issues that are affecting dairy herds across the UK. Here she offers some food for thought on Leptospirosis – a serious threat to cattle fertility and human health.

Turnout is the time to vaccinate against devastating disease

Minimise Lepto risk T

urnout is the best time to vaccinate against Leptospirosis, so now is a good time to consider if it’s a possible threat to your herd, as well as you and your staff. Human infection can occur through either direct contact with cows’ urine, aborted foetus or placental membranes, or through exposure to contaminated water. In the UK the majority of hardjo infections in cattle are subclinical. Infection in lactating cows may cause ‘milk drop syndrome’. It can also cause reproductive problems, including abortion and poor fertility that is characterised by low conception to first service rates, and this can lead to associated high culling rate. Abortion tends to occur in cows and heifers that are between four and eight months pregnant. Lowered fertility is a more insidious problem and is often the result of long-term infection; either new infection or chronic inactive infection changed to active acute infection. Once natural immunity has been established throughout a herd, fertility levels return to those accepted as normal. Recurring sub-fertility problems may then occur with the introduction of susceptible cattle into the herd. Running an open herd, cattle movement and buying in infected carrier bulls, heifers or cows are all major risk factors for introducing infection. Close interaction between two maintenance host species, such as cattle and sheep, can also pose a risk.

The encyclopaedia Leptospirosis Cause

Treatment

The cause of Leptospirosis is a small, aerobic spirochete bacteria – most typically L interrogans serovar hardjo and L borgpetersenii serovar hardjo.

The drug of choice is di-hydrostreptomycin, but amoxycillin is equally effective. Treatment helps to reduce the excretion of leptospires, but doesn’t completely stop it. It’s not effective during outbreaks of abortion or milk drop, but can help to reduce abortions during a chronic phase.

Symptoms Milk drop, abortions and poor fertility are the symptoms.

Diagnosis Foetal tissues or urine of infected cows can be tested for hardjo. Blood and milk can also be tested for antibodies. Antibody detection is useful for identifying the Lepto status of a herd.

Prevention/control Vaccination is best administered around turnout in spring, but producers should keep in mind that it does not eradicate infection from endemic herds or stop excretion by carrier animals or prevent abortion when infection is already in the placenta. Producers also need to stick with a vaccination programme once they start one because if they stop it can render the herd totally susceptible.

COW MAN AG E ME N T

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MARC H

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01-03-2012 12:08:04


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G R A S S

S P E C I A L

Mineral status: tips on balancing soil and essential grass nutrients. Page 28 Reduce waste: tips to help maximise grazing (and milk from grass) this season. Page 30 Grass varieties: selecting the ideal mix for your unit and system. Page 32

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01-03-2012 11:22:50


G R A S S

S P E C I A L

Use soil analysis to get to the root of mineral problems

Take a balanced approach With fertiliser prices still high, resolve to make this spring your most precise when it comes to grassland applications. Not only will this cut costs and help to boost sward productivity, but cow health and productivity should also improve. We spoke to an agronomist and a nutritionist to find out more. text Rachael Porter

T

hink about the soil, the sward and the girls when contemplating fertiliser applications this spring. They all need a balance of minerals for optimum performance. And a bottom-up approach works best –

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C O WMANAGEMENT

so start with the soil. That’s the advice from GrowHow’s Elaine Jewkes. “I see a lot of variation in soil analyses, but some soils are deficient in phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Because the cost of inputs has increased significantly,

MAR CH

producers have been more frugal with their fertiliser applications and this is showing in places.” That said, a recent report showed that 40% of soils tested were actually over the ideal index (index 2) for P and conversely 40% were below the target index for K. “This is because the offtake of K, particularly from cutting grass, is a lot higher than P. That needs to be monitored and the balance corrected. By carrying out soil analyses can producers make meaningful and economically sound decisions about fertiliser applications.” She knows that many producers are feeling the squeeze, but adds that cutting back on things like soil analysis, which only cost around £12 a time, is a false economy.

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01-03-2012 11:55:59


“Far better to have an up-to-date soil analysis and balance the nutrients you have at your disposal on-farm, in other words slurry and FYM, within environmental guidelines with boughtin fertilisers. It’s very likely to save you money for just a small outlay.”

Right balance Well nourished soil will result in a better quality, nutritious grass crop that’s also more palatable. “Herbage tests can tell you what’s going on at ‘grass level’,” says Ms Jewkes. “Sulphur, for example should be tested in the herbage, not the soil. Making that the grass receives enough sulphur can result not only in higher grass yields, but it can also increase the palatability and quality of the grass with higher sugar and protein levels. Trials at IGER on high sugar grasses showed that the cow ate more of it. And higher intakes can mean more milk from grass – still the cheapest feed on farm.” An excess of some minerals can have the

opposite effect: “Every now and again I get a call from a producer with a field of grass that their cows just won’t graze. A herbage test usually reveals that K and Mg are through the roof, but often the problem can be seen on the surface with a poor sward and a capped or slaked soil. It’s usually the result of too much muck – either from hefty applications or from the field being one where the herd is put, say at night, to be close to the buildings – a ‘campsite’ field. So, it’s all about getting the balance right – for the soil, the grass and the cow. “There’s no magic or mystery really. Just testing – that’s our mantra that we’re constantly banging out. Soil test and, if you really want to get the most from your slurry, test that too. “There’s a NIRS test available now – similar to the one used to test silages – and costs around £25 per sample. Good value for money when you think how much money you can save by using slurry effectively and optimising your use of bought-in fertiliser.”

Forage minerals

Grass roots: a bottom-up approach works best when balancing minerals for optimum sward and herd performance

NWF’s Tom Hough is concerned that the mineral status of forages in the UK is deteriorating and he says that this can present a wide range of problems. “Grazed grass is typically unable to supply a cow’s requirements of a whole host of essential minerals including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium. “At the same time others including potassium, molybdenum and iron can be present at very high levels. And all will present challenges when supplementing the ration, if performance and cow health are to be maintained.” Mr Hough agrees that many of the problems in grass mineral status can be addressed by taking a close look at the soil. He too believes that P levels have fallen because producers have cut back on applying compound fertilisers to try and save on costs. And he’s also a strong advocate of soil sampling to assess P status. “Soil analysis will also show up any problems with pH. Most producers know that as soil pH falls so dry matter production also decreases. For example at a pH of 5.0-5.5 the dry matter per hectare will be 91% of the optimum production achieved at pH 6.0-6.5. What is less well understood is that as pH falls so more minerals are locked up in the soil which reduces their uptake by plants so increasing the risk of deficiency.

Elaine Jewkes: “Herbage tests can tell you what’s going on at ‘grass level’”

“Frequency of liming has reduced in recent years and we would advise producers to lime fields if pH is less than 5.9 to maximise yields and ensure that mineral availability is increased.”

Aerate fields He is also advising producers to consider aerating fields. Not only does this improve drainage and promote better root development, but it also improves the uptake of artificial fertilisers and slurry. It can also reduce problems caused by excess molybdenum, particularly copper deficiency. He explains that molybdenum is antagonistic to copper and high soil levels lead to reduced availability of copper and an increased need to supplement diets with copper. “Aerating the soil leads to molybdenum being oxidised which reduces its uptake by plants and so increases the availability of copper. “K is frequently found in excessive levels in grass and this increases the risk of both milk fever and grass staggers. Compacted soils will exacerbate this problem so if this is an issue on your unit then consider aerating the soil. Applications of gypsum will also help.” He adds that there is also a key interaction between K and sodium. “Ideally you should be looking for a ratio of 5:1. In some cases applying 100kg of salt per hectare can improve the balance and so reduce the problems of excess K in the diet. It will also improve grazing palatability and stimulate intakes. Mr Hough stresses that more attention needs to be paid to soil and forage minerals status. “Producers need to literally get to the root cause of their herd’s mineral problem rather than using in-feed minerals as a band-aid for poor soil management. “It’s better for the soil, sward and forage productivity and quality and, ultimately, the cows.” l

COW MAN AG E ME N T

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G R A S S

S P E C I A L

Make sure you ‘catch the worm’ this grazing season – get your girls out as early as possible

The early bird... With cows already out in parts of the UK – and others bellowing at the shed door for their first taste of freedom as turn out draws near – here’s how to make this one of your best grazing seasons ever. And success, it seems, depends on how you manage the sward early in the season. text Rachael Porter

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any producers waste a lot of their grass – half of it in some cases if figures from Moorepark in Ireland are to be believed. Using the TEAGASC grassland calculator, which allows producers to work out how much grass was grown and used on their unit, case studies have shown that utilisation of grazed grass and silage varies from an average of 6tDM/ha to 12tDM/ha. Quite a difference and a real spur for producers to get to grips with grazing and pasture management and ensure that their cows are producing more milk from grass – and not high-cost concentrates. DairyCo’s Piers Badnell says that the start of the grazing season – now - is the time to take action. “It’s all about grazing the grass as early as possible, in other words at the three-leaf stage,

and grazing it hard enough to leave a low residual or stubble for good regrowth.” At the three-leaf stage, a typical late spring sward will offer maximum quality and quantity, yielding between 2,700 and 2,800kgDM/ha. And even in February, some producers could be looking at around 2,300kgDM/ha – well worth grazing. He adds that a rising plate meter can really help here. This give a precise picture of exactly how much grass is available and this should help producers to use it more efficiently. “Get the cows to graze hard – to about 5cm or 1,500kgDM/ha. A good rule of thumb is to throw a golf ball into the field. If you can see it then the height is about right. If you can’t, you need to graze harder,” says Mr Badnell. Starting the season like this sets the

sward up for a good, productive season. “It’s all about producing good residual cover or stubble from which a re-growth of top quality grass can grow. “The three-leaf stage is crucial – it’s when the grass is at its best. So you need to plan a rotation that means that the cows are grazing each field or paddock at that stage of growth and that they’re stocked densely enough to graze it back down to the residual level.”

Early window Mr Badnell says that many producers miss this early window and, therefore, don’t get the grazing season off to the best start. “There are three main reasons for this. The first is that many producers don’t actually know the quality of their grazed grass. Managed right and the sward ME can be 12MJ/kgDM from January to December. But when questioned many don’t believe that the quality is there and put the ME closer to nine or 10MJ/ kgDM. “Another excuse for not turning out early is quantity – they don’t think that there’s enough grass there to graze. And they may well be right if they’re looking to turn the cows out for a whole day. But why not turn out for just a morning for a few days? They could take 5kgDM in four or five hours and that’s 5kgDM that you’re not having to buy in,” explains Mr Badnell. “It also helps to get the grass growing. The more you graze it, the more it will grow.” The final excuse producers give for not grazing in early spring is that their land is too heavy and wet. “Every producer I meet tells me that they farm on clay, but they don’t – it’s a misnomer.

Take pride in your pasture A 10% weed infestation will result in a 10% reduction in forage yield. That’s all that DowAgroSciences’ David Roberts has to say to most producers to convince them that it really is time they tackled their dock, thistle or nettle problems. But it’s not for the faint hearted. Spray control programmes for significant infestations need to run for three years or more and must then be followed up with spot treatments to keep the nuisance weeds away. “The good news is that we’ve now

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got the chemistry right. If you apply the spray at the correct dose rate, in sufficient water volume, to plants at the correct ‘rosette’ growth stage and during their active growing phase then you will make a difference,” says Mr Roberts. He recommends Doxstar when tackling docks and says that producers are just weeks away from being able to get on and spray. Some areas in the southwest may already be seeing active growth, which is required so that the herbicide can be taken up by the plant and moved down into the roots. “If your dock problem is relatively small,

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don’t wait until it gets bigger. Literally nip it in the bud and get a knap sack sprayer. Grazon 90 is ideal for this job. Controlling weeds is key to reducing waste

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truth is that with a good infrastructure and careful management it is possible to maximise the use of good quality early season grazing.” And he agrees with Mr Badnell that early turnout is key to maintaining grass quality throughout the season. “Tracks will reduce the risk of poaching and having different entrances and exits to each paddock to spread the traffic, particularly on heavy fields, will be a big help. The benefits of early turnout will outweigh the small amount of poaching and fields will have recovered by the next grazing round.” He also urges producers to review paddock and grazing platform size. “In many cases paddock sizes established for the normal grazing season will be too large for the short grazing days suited to early seasons grazing. “So use temporary fencing to split the paddocks and aim for to graze one or two paddocks per day. So long as cows spend no more than 24 hours on a specific paddock then no permanent damage will be done. “Problems with poaching arise when cows spend more than one day on a paddock.”

Complement grazing

Early bite: grazing in late February could be the key to reducing grass waste, and boosting sward productivity, on some units

“They’re nervous about poaching, but they needn’t always be. The best way to find out if the land really is too wet is to go and walk it. And most of the producers that I go and do this with in February and March are pleasantly surprised that the land is drier than they thought it would be. So get out there and take a proper look, particularly this year with the drought conditions in some regions.” He admits that gateways can pose poaching problems early in the season and he suggests investing in cow tracks. “To help you justify the cost, work out how much it costs you to house each cow for a day and how many days

you can knock off this by extending the grazing season. I worked it out at between 70p and £1.70 per cow on a typical unit – your costs will probably be within this band.” And think about the profit you could make too. Making better use of early grazing can have a big impact on your business’ bottom line, according to Promar consultant Tomos Cato, and he too believes that there are several steps that producers can take to improve early season grazing efficiency. “Many producers have a view that grazing wastage in early season is inevitable and that turning out too early will reduce future grass production. The

Mr Cato adds that some producers are concerned about whether cows will consume enough grass if only turned out initially for short periods. He says this is not a problem if cows are turned out to correct covers straight after milking – when they are hungry and keen to graze. “Buffer feeding will be essential in some cases to ensure adequate total intakes. Calculate how much, if any, buffer needs to be fed based on available grass covers and what the costs and benefits are. “If you do feed a buffer then it must complement grazing and be higher in energy with sufficient fibre to offset the low fibre and highly fermentable nature of spring grazing.” Finally he believes that many producers fail to get the best from grazing because they switch to a lower quality cake when the cows go out. “Turnout is seen as a chance to cut the price per tonne on the assumption that quality feeds are not required at grass. “It is important to remember that every kilogramme of concentrate dry matter you feed will typically reduce grazing intake by 0.5kgDM, so it is important to make sure that the cake you are feeding is high in energy,” he adds. l

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G R A S S

S P E C I A L

With such a wide range of grass types and varieties on offer, careful selection pays dividends

Match grass to your land and management system Plant breeding companies have invested millions in developing new grasses that deliver yield and quality benefits, are better for the environment and are able to cope with the vagaries of the British weather. Tailor-making a grass seeds mixture to your land and farming system has never been so easy. But selecting the right types of grass and varieties does require a bit of thought. text Sara Gregson

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he grasses that cattle graze today are very different to those grown even 30 years ago, as plant breeders worldwide have developed varieties with higher yields and improved nutritional characteristics, that use nitrogen more efficiently, are more disease resistant and tolerate more extreme growing conditions. These new grasses have the potential to drive profitable milk production when well managed – confirmed in DairyCo’s recent benchmarking report. This found that grass-based systems achieve the highest net margin in pence per litre compared to other systems, largely due to high grass utilisation and a reliance on home-grown feeds. They also play a large part in successful high output operations when fed as conserved forages. Reseeding a fifth of the farm each year is a good way of introducing new grass genetics. This means most fields will be rejuvenated as the ley comes to the end of peak production and when native, unproductive species start to take over. Also, only 20% of the pastures will be out of action at any one time, usually in the autumn when many cows are starting to be housed at night.

Right choice But what is the best way to decide which grasses to plant? With 99 varieties of perennial and Italian ryegrasses on the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists alone, the choice can be bewildering. “Deciding what the sward needs to deliver to the cows and to the business is the best place to start,” advises Oliver Seeds’ Rod Bonshor. “Producers with spring calving herds will want to use very different types of grass to those relying on a range of conserved forages to produce winter milk. “The former will be looking for varieties with good grazing characteristics, which produce persistent and dense swards that can withstand trampling. They also need to have a high sugar content and start growing early in the spring. “The second group will require high yielding grasses and clovers that can produce a high protein and fibre content to balance other high energy silages being fed like maize. “Cutting leys are usually grown on fields away from the farm, while cows tend to be grazed close to home, so the mixtures should reflect this. “Some species will do better than others

It copes with extreme conditions such as cold winters and waterlogged soils, and yields well with less nitrogen fertiliser than perennial ryegrass. The seed is also currently cheaper than ryegrass.

Breeding success

Rod Bonshor: “Reseeding benefits should easily outweigh the cost”

in certain conditions. Timothy doesn’t mind getting its feet wet, while cocksfoot’s extensive root system means it copes better in drought.” Capitalising on the strengths of different grasses can help spread the risk of unusual weather. For instance, tetraploid ryegrasses have good winter hardiness and came out of the previous two harsh winters better than many other ryegrasses. Grass seed prices are likely to be 50% higher this year due to low global supply and increased demand. Do not let this put off any reseeding plans, as the benefits of introducing new seeds still far outweigh the cost. “A £20 rise in the cost of an acre of grass seed adds just 82 pence to the cost of producing one tonne of grass dry matter,” Mr Bonshor explains. “However a 20% fall in grass yield due to tired, worn out pasture, could reduce milk output from grass by more than 50%. This has significant cost implications way above the increase in the price of grass seed.”

Different types About 80% of the grass sold in the UK is perennial ryegrass, but breeders are improving other grass types too, as they too have much to offer UK producers. For example Donata, a new cocksfoot, has been bred with smooth leaves. Previously, this species has always felt hairy and coarse due to the presence of silica in its leaves, and animals would often avoid eating it. But breeders at DLF Trifolium have managed to ‘remove’ the silica to produce silkier leaves. Its extensive rooting system helps keep an open soil structure and can reach down deep for water in times of drought.

Festuloliums are another breeding success story. These crosses between fescues and ryegrasses have created varieties with the beneficial traits of each parent species – combining high nutritional quality, with good winter hardiness and stress tolerance. For example, Perun, a meadow fescue Italian ryegrass cross has high yields, is a great companion for red clover and hybrid ryegrass and is very drought and stress tolerant. “Once you have decided on the type of grasses in the mixture the only place to go to select varieties is the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists,” says Mr Bonshor. These lists are drawn up after rigorous testing carried out by NIAB TAG. The booklet, which is funded by merchants and retailers who participate in the Grass Levy Scheme, is invaluable for farmers looking for independent evaluation of the varieties on the market. “For spring sowing this year, producers should still be looking at the 2011 List, and not wait for the new one to come out this May,” he adds. “Any new varieties listed for the first time are likely to be in short supply in their first year. “For example the hybrid ryegrass Tetragraze, which has the yield potential of its Italian heritage but derives high quality leafy re-growth from its perennial ryegrass parent, was new last year but there was little seed available. “There is more stock this year but early ordering will secure this and other good varieties.” Grass can be a crucial element of a dairy farming business. Swards that have been established and managed well will produce high quality grazing and conservation crops that can contribute significantly to the bottom line. “So it is worth investing time and effort in choosing and buying new varieties that suit the farm and not plumping for ‘any old mixture’ for every field because it seems cheap,” adds Mr Bonshor. “Discuss your needs with your seed supplier – many, like us, can draw up bespoke mixtures to suit precise requirements.” l

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b u s i n e ss

u p d a t e

What’s the outlook for wheat and soya prices in 2012?

Prices set to remain volatile The latest lowdown on wheat and soya prices could help you to stay one step ahead when buying feed during the next few months. So we spoke to two analysts find out what’s been happening and what they expect to see as the year progresses.

text Rachael Porter

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ontinued volatility in raw material prices is likely over the coming months, according to BOCM Pauls raw materials director Tony Bell. “Wheat prices have risen during the past couple of months, due to the exchange rate, exports from the UK and the end to Russia’s heavy exporting pace,” he says. “And for new crops there is already concern about potential – there’s frost damage to crops in France, Ukraine and Russia.” Figures do indeed show an increase from around £160/tonne in October 2011 to £170/ tonne in February 2012. “Sterling has dropped a little against the Euro and quantitative easing could well be the culprit here. A drop of three euro cents is enough to add £3/tonne to the price of wheat.” Mr Bell adds that there are also concerns about the volume of wheat exports leaving the UK: “And there’s concern about the drought in the UK too. East Anglia has seen just two thirds of the rain it usually sees during the winter months. So already people are worrying about the 2012 wheat crop harvest, even though it’s six months away.” Mr Bell says that there is plenty of wheat across the globe, with a record world crop, and record carry out of stocks into next harvest. “But stocks are held in countries wanting to hold on to strategic stocks, such as China and India.” Soyabean meal prices have also risen sharply since the new year. “This is fuelled by the fact that the 2011 world harvest is forecast to be 19 million tonnes down compared to 2010 – that’s potentially the biggest yearon-year reduction even seen,” he adds. Any major event in the world, such as the current political unrest in Libya and the devastating earthquake in Japan in February

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month Sep 2011 Oct 2011 Nov 2011 Dec 2011 Jan 2012 Feb 2012

average prices soya (non GM) wheat £330 £300 £295 £285 £310 £318

£180 £160 £155 £150 £155 £168

Table 1: Average UK wheat and soya prices in 2011 and 2012 (source: BOCM Pauls)

2012, can have an effect on wheat and soya prices here in the UK, says KW’s feed market guru Gregor Black. “The Euro zone situation in Greece isn’t helping. Anything like that can have an impact on the market. Many people will pull out of their investments in wheat and soya at a time like this. And that can actually put downward pressure on prices. “But then there’s usually some news about the crops in Brazil, Argentina, the US or Russia to firm them up again. Argentina, for example, has been hit by drought and there’s concern about soya yields – they’re expected to be down,” he adds. So what does he advise? Forward buy now or wait? “I’d be tempted to tell producers to wait. The Greek Euro crisis could lead to a further dip. Producers should look at the value on the day. “If the price is low compared to 2011, you could wait to see if there’s a further drop. But be cautious. It may not be wise to play the market. It’s always best to take advantage of any dips that you see, particularly when there’s upward price pressure, as well as down. There’s not a lot going on at the moment, but that can all change very quickly.”

2012

02-03-2012 09:58:03


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F E E D I N G

Milk protein levels can attract a financial reward for producers

Grab a protein bonus Milk processors are willing to reward producers that have the ability to buck the spring trend and improve their milk quality. We spoke to a milk processor, a producer and a nutritionist to find out what can be done and if the premium stacks up. text Allison Matthews

Testing times: efforts made to improve milk protein levels during the spring ‘dip’ can be rewarded with a milk-price premium

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any producers may begin to see the size of their milk cheque fall in March and April – the result of lower milk constituent levels. Lower forage and dry matter intakes, resulting in a negative energy balance, mean that butterfat and protein will both be under pressure for the next few months. And reduced milk protein percentage will be the big issue for producers in terms of lost revenue. So one Northern Ireland-based group of producers, from County Tyrone, is focusing hard on producing high protein milk. “The motivation behind our farm meetings, trips and leaflets is to provide our producers with as much information as possible on how milk quality can be improved – in relation to both milk protein and somatic cell counts,” says Fivemiletown Creamery’s Maimie Neill. She explains that elevated somatic cell count (SCC) levels break down the cheesemaking protein, known as casein, in the milk. “So we are determined to help them to maintain the group’s low SCC of less than 200,000cells/ml. “As an award winning cheese producer high protein is required to give a good cheese yield – the higher the protein the more kilogrammes of cheese we can produce per litre of milk processed,” she adds.

Quality cheese Ms Neill explains how the dairy ensures it has good quality milk available to allow it to maintain its growth as a manufacturer of quality cheese. “As a milk processor, we ask our producers to focus on getting three elements right: breeding, using protein positive bulls; improving forage quality; and targeting concentrate feeding. “The next battle is SCC, which is ongoing for most producers. But with the correct milking routine and careful monitoring of cows with persistently high cell counts, a bonus can easily be achieved. Our payment structure rewards these two elements, encouraging our producers to ensure that milk quality continues to be better than average. “We pay 0.4ppl for every 0.05% above 3.15% – this is at least 2.5 times more than any other milk buyer in Northern Ireland. For SCCs less than 200,000cells/ ml we reward our producers with another 0.4ppl. The purity and quality of our milk is at the core of how we market our cheeses. Consumer expectations are high and we intend to keep meeting and

Maimie Neill: “We pay 0.4ppl for every 0.05% above 3.15% for milk protein”

exceeding them as we move forward,” adds Ms Neill. Producer Lesley O’Malley has been supplying Fivemiletown with milk for many years, but how does he maintain his current milk protein level of 3.35%, which is 0.2% points above the dairy’s bonus target.

Brilliant bonus “A breeding programme that uses high protein percentage bulls has kept us right over the years. We have stuck by our choices, even though at times we have scratched our heads and wondered if it was all worth it,” he says. “There is no doubt about the value that Fivemiletown’s bonus system provides. It is a brilliant bonus and we endeavour in several ways to ensure that we continue to exceed the targets and qualify for the additional payment. “Alongside our breeding guidelines, we maintain the condition score of cows at approximately three. Our feed company has tailored a blend for us, which is high in energy and provides good quality starch. This keeps a good covering of flesh on the cows, which we maintain well into late lactation. And we make sure that they calve down in the good condition by sustaining feed rates at a maintenance level,” adds Mr O’Malley. When producers’ income is reduced due Richard Moore: “Protein dip is usually the result of a negative energy balance”

to poor milk protein levels, prompt corrective action is key, according to Thompsons’ nutritionist Richard Moore. “Producers have the ability to control feed rates, ration selection and management and, although milk protein is less sensitive to dietary changes than milk butterfat, with the appropriate focus increases can be achieved,” he says. “March and April usually see a dip in milk protein levels. This can be attributed, in the main, to a negative energy balance in early lactation cows that are producing milk from their own body reserves.” This needs immediate attention by firstly assessing dry matter intakes. “Look first at rumen fill, forage intakes and quality, and space at the feed barrier. And then ask yourself what the calculated fresh weight intakes of forage and concentrate in the total mixed ration are. “Once you know this, it is critical that changes are made to ensure that the energy requirements of the herd are met. “Concentrate feed rate is by far the most effective way of improving the energy balance rather than just moving to a higher energy dairy compound at the same feed rate. “If feed levels are to be increased then it is vital that this is carried out on a selective basis,” says Mr Moore. “Failure to manage this effectively may improve milk protein percentage, but will over-feed the staler proportion of the herd with significant economic loss.”

Starch levels He adds that ration selection and the quality of the energy source are also key factors when trying to improve milk protein yield. “Starch levels in the diet are an important driver of propionate production in the rumen, which will improve the milk protein percentage. The use of glucogenic starch sources, such as maize, will also help.” Maimie Neill is confident about the future. “The aim is for a protein level of 3.3% and a somatic cell count of fewer than 150,000cells/ml for the group. When our producers supply us with quality milk the process of making cheese becomes very efficient. This provides benefits for the consumer, the processor and the producer – it’s a ‘winwin’ situation.” l

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01-03-2012 16:04:57


DAIRY MANAGEMENT NEWS

Top marks for quality Lifetime yielders top 100 tonnes

NMR recording procedures meet toughest international quality standards

NMR customers can rest assured that their milk records are meeting the toughest quality scrutiny of any worldwide milk recording organisation. The company has recently been awarded the ICAR Certificate of Quality for the second time, which is unique in Europe. This involved a comprehensive independent high level audit that scrutinised NMR’s recording process from collecting samples to delivering results back to customers.

Since the inception of ICAR quality certificates the whole process has become far more stringent in both the questions asked at the audit and the interrogation by the ICAR board. To pass all sections is no mean feat and requires the highest standards in all areas including recorder training protocols, equipment specifications, data and statistical checks and identification of samples and results throughout the recording process.

The three names at the top of the December 100-tonne-cow list, ranked on lifetime daily yield (LDY) all come from Gold Cup finalists’ herds. Leading the pack is the Miller family’s Shanael Lee Roxy EX91 5E from Evesham, Worcestershire. With seven lactations under her belt, she has given 102,164kg of milk and has a LDY of 28.54kg. In second place is the Higgins family’s Wilderley Lantz Bluebell from Shrewsbury, Shropshire. She has given 102,577kg of milk in seven lactations and has a LDY of 28.37kg. Third is the Gasson’s cow 319 from Banbury, Oxfordshire, who has given 102,543kg of milk in eight lactations and has a LDY of 27.72kg. A full list of 100 tonne cows is published on the NMR website. Shanael Lee Roxy EX91 5E photographed as a third calver

Text messages from cows It is envisaged that producers will be able to set up alerts for their phone to receive a text when a cow wearing a smart collar, similar to those used with the Silent Herdsman fertility monitoring system, is in distress, coming in to heat or entering labour. Further development of the collars is underway thanks in part to a grant from the Technology Strategy Board. The £1.4 million three-year joint project between The University of Strathclyde, Morrisons, Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), NMR, Harbro, Well Cow and Embedded Technology Solutions (a Strathclyde spin-out company) is looking to develop the ‘smart’collar to monitor

cow health through detecting movement and send the results back to producers using mobile phone technology. Collars set to get ‘smarter’

Dairy Olympics Herds qualifying for this year’s NMR/RABDF Gold Cup – all 454 of them – have been notified and are encouraged to enter. “In dairy circles, the Gold Cup carries at least the same weight as an Olympic Games gold medal,” says competition and RABDF Chairman David Cotton. “So what better year to enter and see if you can scoop the Gold or the NMR Silver Salver?” Entries must be submitted to RABDF by April 13, 2012.

For more information on NMR products and services contact customer services, 0844 7255567, NMR web address: www.nmr.co.uk, NMR email address: customerservices@nmr.co.uk COW MAN AG E ME N T

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BREEDING INFORMATION

Improve your on-farm management now! CRV’s Dairy Management Guide has been developed to provide information to producers worldwide and to help simplify and improve many dairy farm processes. The practical information is supported by many useful tips, calculations and clear figures to make reading easy. This collection of ‘dairy farming knowledge’ has been pulled together by CRV’s dairy management consultant, Fokko Tolsma, using his years of experience and many of his unique pictures from dairy farms all around the world. Consisting of 10 issues with topics varying from young stock management to housing, reproduction and milking, the Dairy Management Guide complements all farm processes. And it provides strategic information on breeding, economics and health issues

to improve the profitability of your farm and ensure that your cows enjoy a longer life. CRV’s Dairy Management Guide issues can be ordered separately or all together in a convenient binder. The 10 issues included in the Dairy Management Guide are: • Young stock management • Reproduction management • Breeding management • Feeding Management • Health management • Udder health management • Hoof health management • Milking systems • Housing management • Dairy farm economics Order your guide to better farm results now! Call Avoncroft on 0800 7831880. Check out the free preview at www. globalcrv4all.com.

All 10 Dairy Management Guide issues are available now

REPRODUCTIO MANAGEMENTN

YOUNG STOCK MANAGEMENT

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UDDER HEALTH MANAGEMENT

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HOOF HEALTH MANAGEMENT

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BREEDING MANAGEMENT

FEEDING

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German Brown Swiss

The Spermex Top Sires 2012 catalogue is now available from Avoncroft including the German number-one daughter proven bull Huray (£133PLI). The UK’s number-one bull Prossli weighs in at £152PLI. No fewer than five other German Brown Swiss are in the top 20 ranking, including Prohuvo £138PLI and Payssli £132PLI. All Spermex German Brown Swiss are available from Avoncroft by calling 0800 7831880. Huray Fey

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Your first choice for grazing genetics Murmur daughter Brewster

Top bulls from New Zealand and Ireland are available from Avoncroft. According to the NZ AE February 2012 ranking of active sires, CRV Ambreed boasts no fewer than four of the top 10 Jerseys, as well as the number-three Holstein Friesian bull. All of these bulls are available in the UK now. The Jersey and Holstein Friesian teams include leading Jersey bulls Okura Lika Murmur, Pukeroa TGM Manzello,

Canaan Nevvy Pioneer and Crescent Man Dominic, along with Holstein Friesian bull Bagworth Kalumburu. Ireland’s top bulls are also available from Avoncroft. At €271 EBI, Coolnasoon Fairgalt 2 is Ireland’s number-one bull and Avoncroft has eight other bulls with more than €200 EBI available. For more information on Grassland Alliance bulls call Avoncroft on 0800 7831880.

COW MAN AG E ME N T

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F E E D I N G

Could you get more from your forage by feeding an additive?

Turn on the forage tap We spoke to a leading ruminant nutritionist and a Northern Ireland-based producer to find out more about a feed additive that helps to unlock forage – and cow – potential. text Rachael Porter

id you ever stop to wonder how much of the cow’s diet can actually be used for milk and how much of the forage in the diet is put to good use? The answer might be lower than you think, according to Provimi’s ruminant product manager Philip Ingram. “It’s worth remembering that dairy cow rations contain between 35% and 45% NDF (neutral detergent fibre) and this is, by far, the largest portion of the diet,” he says. “The starch and protein we usually think of first are present in much lower proportions than NDF. However, out of all the nutrients, fibre is the most poorly used and the most variable. At best only 65% of fibre is digestible and available to the cow for milk production or maintenance, and at worst only 40%.”

Forage focus From an outside perspective, it must seem quite bizarre to allow around 40% of a cow’s ration to be taken up by something that is variable in quality and generally poorly converted into milk. However, as we know, the ruminant’s ‘speciality’ lies in using forage – a relatively low value, high NDF feed – to create high quality end products such as milk. “The focus must be on forage this year,” adds Dr Ingram. “Much of the milk yield increases seen in recent decades stem from the use of imported cereals. But, with the upward trend in cereal prices, we need to re-focus on what cows are designed for – getting energy from forage. “Quite a few silages this year have looked good on paper, with normal MEs and NDFs, but they are not delivering the expected performance. “The likely reason is that the makeup of the NDF in these silages may be poorer in quality and therefore less digestible than expected. Therefore, we need to

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improve digestibility – particularly in recently calved cows where requirements are greatest.” At this stage in the season, what can we do to improve ability of the rumen to make better use of dietary fibre? One solution that’s being used very successfully on dairy units is the natural feed additive Amaferm – a product developed to directly improve fibre digestion. It is the only feed additive in the EU that’s registered as a digestion enhancer for dairy cows. “The rumen contains bacteria, protozoa and fungi that all basically digest feed on behalf of the cow,” explains Dr Ingram. “Rumen fungi are crucially important in fibre digestion, as they initiate fibre digestion and manufacture the most powerful enzymes for digesting fibre. And this additive works by providing rumen fungi with the nutrients they need to accelerate fibre digestion. “It therefore boosts digestion in all types and qualities of forages and this has been confirmed in recent university trials.”

Andrew Adair: “I really do get more milk from the forage part of the diet”

Figure 1 shows experimental results from recent digestion studies. A large cross section of 150 forages were used in the study and grouped according to NDF content. Digestion was measured in situ using fistulated cows. Throughout the range of forage quality, Amaferm consistently improved NDF digestibility between 20% and 30%.

On-farm results These results are being seen on farm too. Northern Ireland-based producer Andrew Adair runs a 140-cow Holstein herd in partnership with his father James in Ballymena. And this is the second winter that he’s fed the feed additive to boost the milk produced from the herd’s forage-based ration. “The product was recommended to us by our feed rep in late 2010. I wasn’t happy with the herd’s feed conversion efficiency – I thought the cows should

Figure 1: Results from recent digestion studies using Amaferm (NDF = neutral detergent fibre) NDF digestibility without Amaferm 60

NDF digestibility with Amaferm legume based forages

legume based forages

50 NDF digestibility 24h (%)

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be performing better on the TMR that we were putting in front of them,” he says. “Butterfats weren’t great either and neither was cow condition. So I thought I’d give it a go. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.” It wasn’t long after he switched to a concentrate feed containing the additive – just a week or two – before he noticed an improvement in all three. Butterfats peaked at 4.04%, compared to 3.96% prior to feeding the additive, and average yields rose by 1,000 litres to around 8,000 litres. “I know that won’t necessarily all be down to Amaferm, but it was certainly a major contributing factor. Milk from forage increased from 2,600 litres to around 3,200 litres – I wasn’t simply adding more concentrate to the ration. “I really was getting more milk from the forage portion of the diet. It unlocked the forage’s potential – and that of my herd.” He says that the cows are cudding more and forage (grass silage mixed with chopped wheat straw) intakes have increase by around 2kg/head/day. “I’ve easily off-set the cost of feeding the additive and that’s why I’ve used it again this winter. It’s added to the concentrate at the mill, because I think that’s easier than measuring it into the mixer wagon. That does add a bit to the cost, but I know that it’s worth every penny.”

More milk

Feed efficiency: improving fibre digestion is possible with the inclusion of a natural feed additive

The additive has also been trialled in many locations across Europe and America with cows on various diets – from high forage to high concentrate systems. Results from 18 separate published experiments, with cows in early, mid and late lactation, show an average increase in milk yield of 4.8%. “Based on these results, by adding Amaferm farm pack at a rate of 100g/ head/day to a ration based on one of this year’s typical silages (50% NDF), producers should expect to increase fibre digestion by 26%,” adds Dr Ingram. Milk yield improvements of between 1.5 and two litres are typical of results seen on farms. “Ultimately, we should be striving to convert more of the ration to milk. In top quality rations more than three quarters is converted into milk. Taking measures – like including this feed additive – to improve forage quality, can vastly improve the proportion of feed used for milk.” l

c o wc m oa wnmaagne amge enmt e sn et p t meamr bcehr 22001029

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C O N TA C T S

SHOWS AND EVENTS

A warm welcome for this little newcomer Picture: Harrie van Leeuwen

C O N TA C T S CowManagement is published eight times per year by CRV Holding BV

Editorial team Chief Editor Jaap van der Knaap Editor Rachael Porter Phone 01394 270587 E-mail rachael.porter@virgin.net Editing, design and production Veeteelt Contributing writers Roger Evans, Allison Matthews, David Matthews, Sara Gregson, Florus Pellikaan and Karen Wright Publisher Rochus Kingmans

Chief editor’s address P.O. Box 454, 6800 AL Arnhem, The Netherlands Phone 0031 26 38 98 821. Fax 0031 26 38 98 839 E-mail cm.office@crv4all.com internet www.cowmanagement.net

Subscriptions CowManagement is available free of charge to customers of NMR, Avoncroft and Thompsons. If you think you are eligible, please contact: National Milk Records, Customer Services, Skipton Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 4LG. Phone 0870 1622547 E-mail customerservices@NMR.co.uk www.isubscribe.co.uk

Advertisements Julia Hughes, NMR. Phone 01249 467224 Willem Gemmink, Froukje Visser P.O. Box 454, 6800 AL Arnhem, The Netherlands, Fax 0031 26 38 98 824 E-mail willem.gemmink@crv4all.com

Illustrations/pictures

March 24-25: March 27: May 10: May 16-18: May 30-June 2: June 27: June 27-28: June 29-30: July 10-12: July 23-26: September 4-5: October 3: October 16: November 21:

Expo Bulle, Bulle (Switzerland) Agricultural Building Show, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire Grassland UK, Shepton Mallet, Somerset Balmoral Show 2012, King’s Hall, Belfast (N.Ireland) Royal Bath & West Show, Shepton Mallet, Somerset National Forage Conference, Nantwich, Cheshire Nottingham Feed Conference, Sutton Bonington Campus, Leicestershire All Holland Dairy Show, Zwolle (The Netherlands) Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate, North Yorkshire Royal Welsh Show, Builth Wells, Powys Livestock 2012 (formerly the Dairy Event), NEC, Birmingham The Dairy Show, Shepton Mallet, Somerset Welsh Dairy Show, Nantyci Showground, Carmarthen Agriscot, Edinburgh, Scotland

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX Agriprom ...................................................26 ALH-Genetics ............................................39 Alltech .......................................................15 Alta ...........................................................25 Ambic ........................................................24 Avoncroft/Thompsons .................................2 Batchelor Enterprises....................................6 Bekina .......................................................42 Biotal .........................................................35 Boehringer Ingelheim.................................48 Boer Housing Systems, De ...................11, 24 BouMatic ...................................................11 CBC ...........................................................38 Cow Comfort ............................................38 Cowcare ....................................................38 Cowsfeet ...................................................39

CRV.............................................................7 DP Nutrition ....................................6, 18, 42 EM Organisms ...........................................42 Enviro Systems.............................................6 Farmplus....................................................40 FiveF..........................................................26 Lallemand ..................................................19 Micron-Bio-Systems...................................24 Moore Concrete ........................................40 NMR .........................................................47 RE Buildings ...............................................11 Semex .........................................................4 Spermex ....................................................18 Vetoquinol .................................................22 Westpoint ..................................................40

COMING UP

H o u s i ng an d eq u ip m en t sp ecial April (April 24) – Our April issue takes a close look at housing and equipment. We’ll also have a second article about cross breeding, as well as information on the latest bull proof run.

Photographs by Veeteelt Photography, Geno-UK (8) and Judy Mainwaring (10).

Disclaimer CowManagement does not necessarily share the views expressed by contributors. No responsibility is accepted for the claims made by advertisers. No responsibility can be accepted by CRV Holding BV for the opinions expressed by contributors. Whilst every effort is made to obtain reliable and accurate information, liability cannot be accepted for errors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. Printer Classic Printing Phone 01452 731539 ISSN 1570-5641

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C OWMANAGEMENT

MARCH

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It takes a concerted effort to weather the Strep. uberis storm With Strep. uberis now the most common mastitis-causing pathogen1, it’s not surprising that it’s become the prime suspect on many farms. And it’s compelling many farmers and vets to work together on a solution. Given Mamyzin’s highly effective cure rates – up to 81.2% against gram-positive pathogens such as Strep. uberis 2 – Mamyzin is well suited to your need for an ef fective, speciFic response. Together we can beat Strep. uberis.

References: 1. Vale Veterinary Laboratory Data 2009. 2. McDougall et al. (2007) J Dairy Sci 90:779-789. Advice on the use of Mamyzin or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Mamyzin contains contains penethamate hydriodide. Prescription only medicine. Further information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Email: vetmedica.uk@boehringer-ingelheim.com. Date of preparation: July 2011. AHD6819. This advert is brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim, manufacturers of Mamyzin. Milk for human consumption must not be taken from cows during treatment. Milk for human consumption may only be taken 108 hours from the last treatment. Use Medicines Responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible).

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CowManagement March 2012