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V O LU M E 10 N O 4 MAY/ J UN E 2012





Take steps to pre-empt antibiotic-use legislation

Veteran producer shares her passion for Jerseys

Robotic solution to skilled-labour shortage

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Cow Talk Overalls off: Kayaking challenge NMR Dairy Management News Veterinary practice: Botulism Business update: Milk price Avoncroft Breeding Information/ Thompsons Nutritional News 50 Events and contacts 4 9 25 37 44 47

R e p orts 10 Veteran dairy producer Pamela Ainslie shares her passion for Jerseys C o l umn

20 Roger Evans H ea l th

40 Tips on hoof health at grazing B reedin g

22 Dome’s Navarro

Pamela Ainslie “Now, sadly, showing is all based on looks rather than performance” 10

Main article Antibiotic use


Pre-emptive action on antibiotics use could minimise legislation stress

Editor Rachael Porter Cutting it fine


ime is tight when managing a dairy business and never more so than when making silage. It’s all hands on deck to get the crop in, in the best possible condition, before the weather turns and before the contractor has to move on to the next eager customer. So anything that can help to save time and labour, without comprising job quality, is a huge boon – particularly at this time of year. One producer who has freed up invaluable time to focus more closely on dairy husbandry and management is featured on page 30. He’s installed two robots on his Cornwall-based unit to help take some of the strain when it comes to milking. And our milking equipment special also features a few more labour-saving devices that are designed to help you to spend less time in the pit while, at the same time, improving udder health and hygiene. Time is something that our producer on page 10 has spent a lot of in this industry. We think she could well be one of the UK’s oldest – and wisest – dairy producers. We paid her, and her ‘golden’ herd, a visit to find out why she’s milked and bred Jerseys for more than 60 years. If you’re hard pressed for time this issue, quick reads include our regular veterinary column and an update on what factors are behind the current low milk prices. We know that most – if not all – our readers can always make time for Roger Evans. See what he’s got to say for himself on page 20.

Health Johne’s control


Special Milking equipment

The UK should do more to tackle Johne’s to keep up with European countries


Robotic milking: automatic system frees up time for vital herd management.


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Manage silage to minimise mycotoxins This year’s difficult season means that producers will have to pay particular attention to managing their entire silage process if they are to avoid a high mycotoxin challenge. “It’s not only that we got a lot of rain just as many producers were getting close to harvesting their first cut,” says Silage Solutions’ Dave Davies. “The conditions we had already experienced this year – a dry and warm February and March followed by a cold and wet April and early May – have been challenging for plants. This means silage crops are already stressed and more vulnerable to attack by fungal pathogens, leading to a

greater risk of aerobic spoilage at feedout, and field formed mycotoxins.” Mycotoxins are poisonous compounds produced naturally by moulds. Many people believe that these highly toxic compounds are only associated with visible moulds, however mycotoxins can still be present where no mould is visible. Similarly, just because mould can be seen doesn’t necessarily mean mycotoxins are present. “However, you can be sure that moulds and mycotoxins are bad news for silage,” says Alltech UK’s Graeme Smith. “And the main moulds of concern are aspergillus, fusarium and penicillium.

These produce a wide range of mycotoxins that, at best, can reduce animal performance and, at worst, cause livestock disease.”

Silage: avoiding mycotoxins • Mow grass when it is dry • Aim for a stubble height between seven and 10cm • Spread crop immediately after mowing • Don’t leave a thick, dense sward – the perfect environment for mould • Ensure the crop is consolidated well in the clamp • Use sufficient weight – consider a silocompacter – to help this process

Plan now to control docks Docks in silage fields are taking advantage of recent rain and warm conditions to leap into vigorous and active growth. And spraying with a translocated herbicide, such as Doxstar, two weeks after first cut, will offer producers the best chance this year of getting on top of dense dock populations. So says Dow AgroSciences grassland specialist David Roberts. “Spraying two weeks after the silage has been harvested is ideal, as the weeds are at the same growth stage and all bear healthy young leaves ready to take up

the active ingredients. These make their way into the plant’s internal transport system and go right down into the long tap roots, killing the entire plant from within.” Mr Roberts advises that because the grass sward will be relatively short at this stage, water volumes of 300 litres/ha will be enough to ensure adequate coverage of the weed leafs. “Leave at least three weeks before second cut so the spray has enough time to do a complete job.” Doxstar is very safe to grass and will not hold back regrowth after application.

Dock shock: infestations reduce the yield and nutritional value of grass

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A range of water troughs, designed to meet the needs of dairy cattle with capacities ranging from 68 litres to 2,270 gallons, has been launched by Northern Ireland-based Moore Concrete. The drinkers feature rounded corners, both internally and externally and including the base. This ensures additional animal safety and additional strength, according to the company. Each drinker also includes a 49-mm bung, which is positioned in the side wall, and the range suits both conventional and fast-flow ball cocks. The double troughs have a recess on the top rim of the drinkers. This allows the pipe to be pulled closer to the drinker and affords a degree of protection from livestock.

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Weather plays havoc with silaging Producers who made silage in wet conditions – or who delayed cutting due to the weather – will need to consider making slight changes to avoid clamp and quality losses later in the year. That’s the advice from Micron Bio-Systems’ Mark Cox, answering concerns raised by several producers who attended May’s Grassland event. The prolonged spell of wet weather has delayed silage cuts, but he says not to panic. “Maintain regular contact with your contractor and look for a suitable window of opportunity. “Assess the standing crop and if there is a lot of dead material in the base of the sward, raise the mowing height slightly. This will avoid harvesting dead and sometimes mould-infested material. It will also help to reduce soil contamination, which can be problematic in wet conditions. “Watch the chop length too, as low DM material needs to be slightly longer than

grass cut in the dry. Avoid over-rolling the clamp too,” he adds. Producers baling silage from lateharvested crops should be aware of the extra stemminess of the grass as film punctures will be more likely. Ensuring the net wrap reaches the edge of the bale and increasing the number of layers of film-wrap from four to six and can reduce the chance of puncturing and subsequent wastage. “Silage additives really come into their own when conditions at harvest are poor,” adds Mr Cox. “Choosing the right additive will give a fast and efficient fermentation, help maximise nutrient retention and give good control moulds and aerobic spoilage. Getting it right now will reduce wastage once the clamp is opened up. Look for an additive containing the right balance of bacteria and enzymes, and make sure you order sufficient product to cope with the extra bulk likely from delayed cutting.”

Pocket planner: free guide provides food for thought when selecting forage crops

Show some restraint!

Liam Keelagher (left) and David Russell, from Russkeel Products, demonstrate the Klassoo

A cattle restraint, designed to allow producers to hold an animal’s head still while administering intranasal vaccines or ear tagging, has been launched by Fivemiletown-based Russkeel Products. Called the Klassoo, this tool is proving popular with producers the length and

Free guide to best forage options

breadth of the UK and Ireland. “It is possible to vaccinate up to 70 cattle per hour, with the help of the Klassoo. And it’s made from extremely durable materials and should, therefore, last for many years,” says the company’s David Russell.

Producers can evaluate which forage crops to grow, and which varieties give the best yields, using a free pocket guide to forage crop trial results, produced by Limagrain UK. The 12-page, pocket-size booklet contains information on the performance of different varieties of swedes, kales, forage rapes, fodder beet and stubble turnips, along with information on crop energy contents and economic value. “There are no official recommended lists for kales, swedes and turnips,” says Limagrain’s Martin Titley. “But we have been running forage crop trials for nearly 20 years, and have amassed a huge amount of data on how different varieties compare. “The performance figures in this booklet are not taken from just one year of trials, but across many. This makes them a reliable source of information for producers. “Variety selection has a big influence on the feed value of a given crop. For example, the difference in DM yield between the best and worst performing stubble turnip varieties is 1.5t/ha, and for forage rapes, 0.7t/ha,” he adds. For your free copy of the Pocket Guide to Forage Crops, call Limagrain UK on 01472 37141.


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O V E R A L L s

Name: Location: Number of cows: Hobby:


Dave (see picture) and Rob Smith Ellon, near Aberdeen 150 Kayaking

Dave Smith: “The river won’t give you a second chance”

Rapid riders text Rachael Porter


wo Aberdeenshire-based producers swapped the white stuff for white water and ditched the parlour for paddles in a bid to raise money for charity and add some much-needed adrenalin to their otherwise steady lives. Producer Dave Smith and his semi-retired father Rob embarked on a kayaking challenge in early May. They paddled and walked the length of the River Ythan in Scotland, from source to sea, which is about 45 miles. And their goal was to raise at least £500 for Pitmedden First Responders, a group of volunteers who work alongside the Scottish Ambulance Service, providing rapid response treatment before the ambulance gets to the patient. “When my dad had a heart attack in 2006, they were on the scene in seven minutes and provided vital care pre-ambulance. Dad now has an internal defibrillator fitted, which looks after him,” explains Dave. With support from the local Peterhead Canoe Club, Rob began training just after Christmas. He joined the club’s Friday evening sessions: “And I asked if I could join him,” says Dave. “I loved it, but paddling in circles in the pool didn’t really push any buttons for me. I was looking for an adrenalin rush and the river challenge provided me with that.” Post challenge, which father and son completed in two days, and Dave is hooked. He’s buying a kayak of his own and is a fully-paid-up club member. “To paddle through white water is just immense. It can be a bit scary, like when you stop to pick your line through some rapids. But once you go you’re too busy concentrating on avoiding any rocks to feel fear. Full focus is essential as the river won’t give you a second chance – it will just send you for a swim,” he says. Rob enjoyed the challenge too, but he’s not so keen on pursuing the sport. That said, Dave plans to coax him back into the water very soon. “Dad’s more of a walker and he certainly showed me up on the walking section of the challenge. He’d put in some miles before hand, whereas I didn’t do much walking and suffered a bit after the 15-mile hike.” But it was well worth it. The original £500 target was soon smashed and to date the pair have raised just short of £8,000. “We’re extremely chuffed, to say the least. The challenge was a fantastic experience and something we had the pleasure of doing together. I’ve also discovered an adrenalin-fuelled sport, as well as a new circle of friends, that I can continue to enjoy on my own.” If you’d like to know more about the Smith’s kayak challenge or make a donation, visit


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Pamela Ainslie: “I’ve always milked Jerseys and wouldn’t milk any other breed”

Pamela Ainslie One of the UK’s veteran producers shares her thoughts and views on dairy herd management and milk marketing, as well as her enduring passion for the Jersey breed. Number of cows: Average milk yield: Butterfat and protein: Milk buyer:

A ‘diamond’ lady with golden girls It’s no surprise to veteran producer and Jersey breeder Pamela Bexhill on Sea

100 5,000kg 7% and 4.5% Arla Milk Link UK


ith more than 60 years of dairying experience behind her, there’s little that fazes Pamela Ainslie – she’s seen most, if not all, that managing a herd and business can throw at you. And to her it’s no surprise that her beloved Jersey, with its high butterfat and protein yield, is a breed that’s swinging back into fashion. “As far as I’m concerned, the Jersey has always been in fashion and deserved favour – I’ve always milked them and wouldn’t milk any other breed,” she says. At 91, and having bred, managed and milked Jerseys all her life, her knowledge of the breed, the business of dairying and the importance of breeding good cows is not to be argued with.

Ainslie that Jerseys are a popular choice for dairy producers looking to cross or switch breed. And it seems that her traditional views on what makes a good Jersey are also back in fashion. text Rachael Porter

She runs the 100-cow pedigree Jersey Cooden herd, with help from herdsman Dave Pilbean, at Barnhorn Manor, near Bexhill on Sea in Sussex. Her passion for the breed and dairying began just after the Second World War. “My parents had some house cows and by the end of the war we had 25 in total – they formed the foundations of the herd we have today,” she says. Jersey cow families that are still going strong today include Silvercross, Valencia and Poppy. “Cow numbers have just grown gradually over the years. In the beginning we did buy in some cows. But we’ve been a closed herd for many, many years now. “I often say to Dave that we have too many cows now – I think I’ve been saying

Hands on: Pamela and her herdsman Dave work together to manage the herd



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that for about a decade. But thankfully he loves the cows just as much as I do. In fact I’d go as far as to say that he’s even more passionate about them than I am.”

Simple system Dave is quite a find – Pamela knows how hard it can be to find a good herdsman and she’s had many during the past six decades. “I have to say that, present herdsman accepted, the women I’ve employed have always made the best herdsmen. I had one who worked with me for 17 years – she was exceptional.” The herd, which calves all year round, is managed on a simple system. Cows go out to graze from the beginning of April through to the end of October. Through the winter cows are fed on a mix of grass silage and brewers’ grains, with concentrates fed to yield through the unit’s 12-stall abreast parlour. For Pamela the breed is all about fat and protein. Without it – and plenty of it at that – the cow is not a true Jersey in herd eyes. And that’s been a view that some have come to share in recent years, a welcome swing away from the trend in the 1980s and 1990s to breed for more milk yield, rather than solids. “I’ve always been strict about solids and always bred for at least 7% butterfat. Sometimes I’ve only got 6%, but some bulls can transmit 8%. Now that’s what I call a real Jersey bull,” she says. The advent of AI is still clear in her memory. “It was an exciting time for the Jersey, as well as all the other dairy

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breeds. It opened the door to the very best genetics from all over the world and it had a huge impact on the breed. But there were also some disappointments.

Home-bred bulls “I’ve always found that, in order to avoid low butterfat and disappointment, I tend to use home-bred bulls now. She likes a Jersey that’s easy on the eye too. It’s not all about production. “I do go in for a spot of showing too – yes. But it’s not the same since they scrapped the milking trials at the Dairy Event. My girls really used to excel in those – that was our speciality and we were regular winners. But now, sadly, it’s all based on looks rather than performance. The balance is somewhat skewed.” Dave says that the herd is currently averaging around 5,000kg at 7% fat and 4.5% protein. “The contents of the bulk tank look more like cream than milk – it’s a fantastic product.” Milk is sold to Arla Milk Link UK on a Channel Island contract and Pamela, like

most dairy producers, would like to see a better price for her milk. “The best price, and most profit, I made was when I used to separate the milk solids out and sell the cream direct to suppliers in London. But that was an awful lot of work – and it was 25 years ago. I suspect I’d have to jump through so many food hygiene hoops now that I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to.” Pamela is so sold on the breed, and the fact that ‘proper’ milk contains lots of butterfat and protein, that she says that she doesn’t view some other breeds as being dairy cows. “To me, there are a lot of cows just producing white water and so many of them seem to be lame too. They’re not good on their feet at all and they’re not good grazers.”

Grazing ability “The ability to graze is key to the breed’s success and certainly contributes to its high butterfat production,” she adds. “It’s an adaptable breed and can graze almost anywhere. I have even seen Jerseys

grazing on the side of volcanoes in Japan.” Dave also likes their resilience and adaptability: “They’re easy calving – it’s rare for use to assist – and they have strong feet so lameness levels are low. They graze well and they last a long time in the herd. “We’ve several cows here that are 15 years old and we had one cow that calved at 18 years old – Cooden Beauty. I’d like to milk a whole herd of cows like her.” It’s these attributes that are attracting Holstein producers to the breed, according to Pamela. “We sell a lot of bulls to producers who want to cross breed with Jerseys. There’s a strong demand at the moment.” She’s seen similar trends and cycles in dairying before, with breeds, ideas and techniques moving in and out of favour. “And Jerseys – my kind of Jerseys – are on the up again. More producers are now seeing, first hand, how much easier they are to manage – not to mention the ‘goldtop’ quality of their milk – I think it’s a demand that’s set to grow.” l Good grazers: their foraging ability and high constituent yields are just two of many attributes that make Jerseys popular all over the world


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Pre-emptive action on antibiotics use could minimise resistance prob

Take steps to ‘redu Taking steps to reduce your antibiotic use could help to pre-empt, if not prevent, any future legislation to limit their use in dairy herds. And you could also save money and enjoy the benefits of a healthier herd. text Rachael Porter


ntibiotic use in agriculture is under review, spurred on by ‘resistance’ problems in The Netherlands and other countries, and there will be some new legislation on their use across Europe in the not-too-distant future. That’s something that all our experts agree on. And they also agree that producers shouldn’t wait before they take steps to review antibiotic use in their herds – there are health and business benefits to be had now. Using antibiotics with greater responsibility not only means that herds could be healthier, but it could also save money. And, looking at the bigger picture, producers could also help to safe guard the efficacy of certain antibiotics and avoid ‘resistance’ problems while at the same time pre-empting, if not avoiding, future and John FitzGerald: “Reducing possibly strict legislation antibiotic use is not as straight that could include a ban forward as it seems and it’s not just on the preventative use of about dry cow therapy either” antibiotics in all farm animals. The EU’s veterinary medicines directive is under review and the European Parliament has indeed proposed a ban on prophylactic use of antibiotics in agriculture. “Antibiotics are used prophylactically, in both human and veterinary medicine, where groups live together and such a ban could be damaging to animal health and welfare,” says the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance’s (RUMA) John FitzGerald. “Legislation should not dictate when and where antimicrobials can and should be used. RUMA believes that such decisions should be taken by the vet responsible for the herd and we’re working with our EU colleagues to ensure that the people making


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ance problems and reduce the impact of possible future regulations

reduce your use’ 2005 dry cow products lactating cow products total

1,750 1,375 3,125

kilogrammes of active ingredient 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2,002 1,266 3,268

1,880 1,383 3,263

2,317 1,775 4,092

1,873 1,298 3,171

1,882 1,649 3,531

Table 1: Sales of intra-mammary products (2005 to 2010)

these decisions are well informed and understand the likely consequences of such a ban.” RUMA is also working hard to ensure that vets and producers have the information that they need to take steps to demonstrate a responsible approach in a bid to pre-empt any changes to legislation. These could be as soon as 2014 if proposals are made in 2013 and then agreed.

Veterinary role

Best practice: targeted use of dry cow therapy could help to reduce antibiotic use in some herds

Guidelines put together by RUMA are designed to help producers to both use antibiotics in a responsible way and also to reduce the need for their use. And it really is vital to talk to your vet, according to the National Office of Animal Health’s (NOAH) technical executive Donal Murphy. “Each herd and each unit has its own set of challenges and it is not possible to give blanket advice about when or when not to use antibiotics – prophylactically or otherwise. The decision about when to use any antimicrobial is one that Donal Murphy: “Work closely with needs to be made by the your vet to develop on-going herd herd’s vet. These medicines health plans and make sure that are only available on these are reviewed regularly” prescription from vets,” he adds. “NOAH’s advice is to work closely with your vet to develop appropriate herd health plans, which should be under on-going review, and take their advice and guidance on this. They know your herd’s disease history and risk factors better than anyone else.” “Ideally, yes, antibiotics should only be used to treat sick animals. But sometimes it’s also necessary to treat animals that are at severe risk of infection. It’s not as straightforward as it first seems and it’s not just about dry cow therapy either,” adds Mr FitzGerald. “If some calves are sick, for example, do you treat all the others in the group as a precaution? And

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A Dutch precautionary tale... There’s been a huge media backlash against the Dutch agricultural industry’s use of antibiotics and high profile vilification of the industry. And this is what the UK industry is working hard to avoid. The Dutch population has livestockassociated MRSA, seen mainly in people working with pigs.

The country’s pig and poultry industries have the highest levels of antimicrobial sales and off-label cephalosporin use in poultry farming, as a misting ingredient when vaccinating chicks, has been linked to superbugs in people. The political response has been just as devastating for the industries, with a pledged reduction of 20% (in veterinary

what if some animals have sub-clinical symptoms? Again, do you treat or do you wait to see if they become clinical? “It’s about weighing up the risk to animal health and welfare and the best placed person to do that is the herd’s vet. Producers and vets, ensuring good farm management practices to minimise the risk of disease and then using antimicrobials responsibly, will reinforce the argument that the right to assess risk and act accordingly remains with the vet and is not taken away by legislation and regulations. It’s about getting the balance right.” Dry cow therapy (DCT) does account for a considerable amount of preventative antibiotic use in dairy herds. Sales of intra-mammary products varied between 3,125 and 4,092kg of active ingredient between 2005 and 2010 (see Table 1). Sales of lactating cow products increased to 1,649kg in 2010 and sales of dry cow therapy products increased to 1,882kg. So there may be scope for reducing these figures – but again it must be done with great care and on an individual herd and cow basis, Mark Holmes: “Accurate record according to Cambridge University’s keeping is a must. Decisions on preventive veterinary medicine which cows to treat with dry cow specialist Mark Holmes. therapy can’t be made without “Most producers use it on all their them, or input from your vet” dry cows – they’ve been actively encouraged to do so for many years in a bid to keep somatic cell counts and mastitis under control. “DCT accounts for a lot of antibiotic use in dairy herds, with producers mainly administering third and fourth generation broad-spectrum cephalosporin tubes. But we’d like to see producers using these antibiotics more selectively – just on so-called ‘high risk’ cows,” adds Dr Holmes.

Accurate records He says that such decisions must be made with accurate and up-to-date mastitis records. And certainly with advice from your vet. “Record keeping is a must – and that takes a bit of effort. Only a small proportion of producers keep proper, ordered mastitis records. Yet, to control the disease effectively, these records are as important, if not more so, than the antibiotics used to treat and


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antimicrobial use) between December 2010 and December 2011. By 2013 this reduction in use target is set at 50% of the 1999 figure. And there’s also a ‘name and shame’ policy for ‘red zone’ producers – in other words those not reducing use or using antibiotics responsibly.

prevent it.” He adds that a change of dry cow practice will undoubtedly be daunting for some producers, who see DCT as their insurance policy for good udder health in the next lactation. “The decision about the use of dry cow therapy should be made by the herd’s vet, who should have access to the appropriate milk laboratory records (for example somatic cell counts) and who should have an intimate knowledge of the disease history of the individual cow and of the herd in question,” adds Mr Murphy.

Responsible use He adds that the vast majority of vets prescribe antimicrobials in a responsible manner. “Vets and producers must continue to reduce the need to use antimicrobials by, for example, improving animal husbandry and management. “However some animals will become ill, despite preventative measures being in place, and where this occurs vets need an appropriate range of antimicrobials to treat them,” he adds. Mr Murphy explains that the European equivalent of NOAH – IFAH-Europe – is calling for more transparency at the prescription and use phase. “It wants data to be gathered from vets and herds so that more information is available to establish if indeed vets and producers are using excessive volumes of antimicrobials, which NOAH does not believe is the case.” If data collection were to identify that some herds were using more antimicrobials than expected, without good reason for needing to do so, these ‘over users’ could be offered advice on how they could reduce their need to use antimicrobials for disease treatment. NOAH says it would welcome such a system of monitoring responsible antibiotic use in the UK. “We also believe that such data would demonstrate that the vast majority of vets and producers are responsible in their use of antimicrobials,” adds Mr Murphy. Mr FitzGerald agrees and stresses that responsible use must continue. But if they are used responsibly then any risk of developing resistance is greatly reduced.” l The RUMA guidelines for producers and vets can be viewed at

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Silage Inoculants Get More From What You Grow - C O W M AVNE AE G T E EML ET N JT A M N U AA YR / JI U1N/ E2 22 00 10 29

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31-05-2012 11:36:22


UK should do more to tackle Johne’s to keep up with other European countries

Quarterly alerts essential A world leader in Johne’s disease control, with a track record of administering a successful Johne’s control programme in his home country of Denmark, was one of the speakers at recent vet meetings organised by NMR. We put some key questions to Soren Nielsen and other speakers. text Karen Wright


ohne’s control plans have been running for a number of years, but there is still progress to be made. Why is it so important to ‘step up’ Johne’s control? Soren Nielsen, Professor of disease modelling, University of Copenhagen: Johne’s disease causes a range of problems such as poor milk production, high cell counts and poor fertility. Many

cows will be culled as a result, having contracted the disease from infected faeces, typically as calves. But clinical cases only account for between 5% and 10% of the problem – these are just the tip of the iceberg. Also we have to acknowledge that the Johne’s causing bacteria, MAP, is found in the bloodstreams of many Crohn’s sufferers. This forges a link between the two diseases. Research into

Crohn’s is focussed on the links between MAP and the allergen response in humans, along with human genetic predispositions. But even if the science is unproven, perception of a potential problem may well be enough to determine policy. So, from a vet and dairy producer’s perspective, we already know that beef and milk are the main areas for potential exposure and we therefore need to consider how we can minimise human exposure to MAP. What effect does Johne’s have on UK herds? Steve West, NMR Herdwise manager: Defra estimates that around 35% of UK cows are affected by Johne’s but many industry experts believe levels are much higher. Data collated through Herdwise – the NMR surveillance testing service – during the past four years from 18,000 cows in 80 NMR-recorded herds and

Johne’s cows are typically infected as calves but symptoms are not normally seen until they are adults


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01-06-2012 15:57:43

Steve West: “Strong link detected between Johne’s and other diseases such as mastitis”

Soren Nielsen: “Annual screening is not sufficient for effective management”

Pete Orpin: “Johne’s control requires 100% commitment from the producer and the vet”

analysed by the University of Reading showed a strong statistical link between Johne’s status and mastitis, high SCC, lactation number, lameness and fertility. High risk cows, in other words those classified within NMR’s Herdwise screening service as likely to have Johne’s, produce between 10% and 12% fewer litres of milk irrespective of breed and lactation. There were 50% more cases of lameness and mastitis in cows testing positive for Johne’s compared with their ‘negative’ herdmates. High cell counts were twice as likely in Johne’s positive cows. This large-scale sample will produce data that could help in the selecting of groups of cows most at risk and those worth putting forward for a Johne’s screening test. Low risk or zero prevalence herds emerging from this initial screening will then be in a good position to screen quarterly as a surveillance method.

that more than 1,200 UK producers – about 15% of herds – have introduced a level of Johne’s disease screening through their milk recording organisation during the past three years. Many more have taken steps to establish the prevalence within their herd though NMR’s 30-cow screening test. Results have shown that 70% of herds undergoing a 30-cow screening have a presence of the disease and further action is required. There are still a lot of herds that need to establish their Johne’s status. However, many producers who are taking action are seeing significant improvements in Johne’s prevalence.

Who should interpret Johne’s milk test results? Prof Nielsen: Producers should work with their vets to establish the probability of risk among the herd. Results from quarterly screening will show up which animals are most likely to be shedding and so be a risk to the herd. Vets can interpret the test results – current and historic – and, with the contribution of additional data such as cow condition, management decisions can be taken. Herdwise reports use repeated test results to group cows depending on their risk of spreading infection. ‘Red’ cows have repeated positive test results and are high risk, ‘amber’ group cows have had one positive result and are medium risk and a green group has repeated negative test results and are low risk. Colostrum from the first two groups should not be pooled.

How is Denmark controlling Johne’s? Prof Nielsen: Denmark has a voluntary risk-based Johne’s scheme that involves four quarterly milk tests and groups cows into three main risk groups – red, amber and green. The scheme started in 2006 and has maintained the membership of 40% of the Danish herd. The proportion of Johne’s positive cows within these herds has significantly reduced from more than 8% to less than 2%. Australia and the Netherlands are among other countries with national control programmes in place. Some countries are looking to trade only with countries capable of providing a Johne’s free status which would discredit countries not able to make this claim. What is the UK doing to control Johne’s? Steve West: In many ways we are following the Danish model. We estimate

Why is quarterly testing for Johne’s so vital? Prof Nielsen: From a scientific perspective, and from experience, quarterly surveillance is the surest method of managing Johne’s. Annual screening is fine to verify the status of the herd, but it is not sufficient for effective management. The Johne’s status of a cow can change throughout the year, so without more frequent testing the management systems would have to be more rigid to avoid an infectious cow infecting a lot of her herd mates before she is identified. Tests on milk can be accurately and costeffectively carried out on a quarterly basis using a milk antibody ELISA test. One set of results is a start and any positive animals can be isolated before calving and their colostrums not used. But a bigger picture is needed over subsequent quarterly screening tests to identify the relative risk each animal poses to the herd. Identifying the status of each cow allows control to be more targeted and specific – and cost-effective without the need to use a ‘broad brushed’ procedure for the whole herd to minimise transmission. This will reduce labour costs associated with infection management.

Testing is not enough – why not? Pete Orpin, vet: Many producers are now embracing Johne’s control and are testing regularly for the disease. However testing is not enough. To control Johne’s you must have a robust control programme running alongside the testing. There are increasing numbers of herds now testing but not all of them are controlling and you won’t find out for several years that your plan will not work. Getting your vet on board and spending a couple of hours creating a robust control plan at the start is the best investment you can make. Management actions based on the biosecurity plan play just as important a part in Johne’s control as the quarterly tests. Remember, a positive lab result confirms that the disease is already established. Johne’s control requires 100% commitment from the producer and vet. Bear in mind that a half-hearted approach will not lead to control and should not avoid the more challenging parts of the control plan. Eighty per cent control can lead to 100% failure. l

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01-06-2012 15:57:55







Shropshire-based producer and award-winning columnist Roger Evans shares his revolutionary new spraying technique and bemoans the rise of the nettle.

Nettle zapping T

here was a time when one of the least popular jobs on this farm was to take yourself off, with a five-gallon knapsack sprayer on your back, to spot spray nettles. To start with the knapsack was heavy, particularly if you had to walk a fair way before you got to the nettles. We often used to take the sprayer on the way to fetch the cows in the afternoon, so the nettles got further and further away. I’m sure it said on the instructions not to get it – the spray – on your skin. But if the sprayer was full, with every step a small amount would pop out of the breather hole in the round lid and sluice down your neck. You could wear a waterproof coat with the collar turned up but this would only divert the spray down the back of your wellies and who wants to wear a PVC jacket on a hot day anyway? The only thing that made all this worthwhile was the knowledge that once sprayed the nettles stayed sprayed – you wouldn’t see a nettle on that spot for possibly 10 years. But many things have changed since then. In 2011 I bought one of those sprayers that usually goes on the back of a quad bike. We’ve never had a quad bike, which is probably why my grandsons aren’t very interested in farming, but we do have a beaten up old Landrover Discovery. In the back of it there is an accumulation of all that an electric fencer would ever need, plus the dog. Also on the back seat is the sprayer. It holds about 10 gallons and I can put a couple of drums of spray already mixed in there as well. I put the Discovery in low gear and, with the lance in one hand hanging out of the window, I can chug around spraying nettles at my ease. Nonchalantly is a good word, I spray nettles nonchalantly. And if I happen to pass a particularly strong clump of docks I zap them as well. This old Discovery has one of those exemptions that allows you to take it a short distance on the road on red diesel. This is very handy because we have land away from home so I can go and spray the nettles there too. What isn’t very handy is that you are supposed to keep the vehicle in good condition, which ours definitely isn’t. So I usually sneak out at about 5am when there’s no one else, particularly the police, about. The police are busier at midnight when I’m trying to sneak home from the pub. We’d got a bit behind with spraying in 2010, so last year I gave it all a good ‘nonchalant’ go. But this year there are nettles almost everywhere where I sprayed last year. Possibly not quite as big, but nettles nevertheless. I mention this to the man who sells me nettle spray and he tells me that he agrees, that the spray he sells me is not as efficient as it was 10 years ago and that I will probably see re-growth every year. I ask him why and he says the sprays are less effective as part of the drive to reduce the damage they might cause to the environment. So, I ask myself, which causes the most damage? Spraying once every 10 years and being free of nettles, or spraying every year and having the nettles instead. Hmmm. I bet it’s the former and not the latter.


CM04_evans 20



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31-05-2012 10:50:05

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31-05-2012 11:37:13



Dome’s Navarro is in demand, thanks to his calving ease and high functional trait scores

Super-functional and popular sire

D o m e ’ s N a va r r o (Mascol x Melchior) Production proof: 151 daughters in 121 herds (Source: GES/DairyCo Breeding+, April 2012)

Self-sufficiency is a sought-after quality in cows today and

kg m % fat % prot. kg fat kg prot. PIN PLI +212 +0.03 +0.10 +10.7 +14.9 £28 £138 Longevity: SCC: Calving ease: Temperament: Milking speed: Fertility:

sires daughters with super hoof health, and has excellent scores

+347 days –6 109 98 102 98

for the functional traits of udders and feet and legs. text Marieke de Weerd

Conformation traits: 83 daughters in 69 herds 88



dairy strength




feet and legs


total score




chest width body depth angularity condition score

97 97 95 104

rear legs rear view

112 96

foot angle




fore udder attachment


front teat placement


teat length



rump width rear legs side view



rump angle

Navarro passes this on to his progeny. He produces easy calvings,


he bigger herds become, the more important it is for them to work efficiently. The 220-cow unit run by the Van den Bosch family in The Netherlands is no exception. Navarro’s breeder Mathé van den Bosch says: “Everything is done according to set work patterns. Part of this is that we have been using the Sirematch programme since the early years.” Mathé’s breeding goal is to produce easyto-manage cows that get in calf quickly and have good legs and feet, as well as longevity. In terms of production,

kilogrammes of milk are a particular focus of attention. With the aid of this breeding goal and appropriate Sirematch advice, a lot of high production animals are born in the Van den Bosch herd. For example, there is Navarro’s great great grand dam, Ambo (sire: Amos), who averaged more than 10,000kg of milk with more than 4% protein in the 1990s. She holds the distinction of preferred foundation dam. After this cow, the family splits into two lines. The line that produced Navarro

Dome’s Davine (VG87) is Navarro’s grand dam


udder depth


rear udder height


central ligament


rear teat placement


Out-cross pedigree Dome’s Navarro is broadly usable due to his out-cross pedigree and his complete profile. This Mascol son from a Melchior daughter knows how to increase his milk yield, as well as protein level, and offers a great calving ease breeding value (109). The feet and legs of Navarro daughters are of a high quality (112 feet and legs, 108 hoof health) with fantastic locomotion (114).


Dom (

c coowwmma an na ag ge emme en nt t s MA e p tYe/mj u b en re 22 00 01 92

CM04_avoncroft sire report 22

31-05-2012 16:26:59

Navarro daughter Gerrie 29

Navarro daughter Koba 163

starts with Labelle daughter LabelleAmbo. The cows in this line are characterised by strong conformation traits and high protein. “The other branch of the family is characterised mainly by high production,” says Mathé. This line led to Jabot daughter Tesamo Jabot. As a heifer, she was the top ranking Inet cow in the Netherlands in 1997 and continued to rank highly in later years.

‘Break-through’ bull “It was this Jabot daughter that got us into breeding,” says Mathé. This cow and a number of family members were flushed intensively. “Between seven and ten bulls from this family were tested, of which Navarro is the second to break through. For me, the fact that it’s worked out like this is a testimony to the Sirematch system. You don’t have to be an authority to make genetic progress with your herd,” says Mathé. In her time, Navarro’s great grand dam Labelle-Ambo was one of the best cows in the herd. Even now, she would be an asset to any herd with her average yield of 11,250kg of milk with 4.97% fat and 3.73% protein. This cow is the dam of the first bull from this family to

Dome’s Danza (Celsius)

Tesamo (Tesk)

Dome’s Davine VG87 Tesamo Jabot (Addison) (Jabot) Dome’s Reca VG86 (Melchior) Navarro (Mascol)

High constituents Her daughter, Domes Reca, is Navarro’s dam. She surpassed her herd mates in terms of production, mainly through her high fat and protein yield. In her second lactation she produced 9,401kg of milk with 4.66% fat and 3.72% protein, giving her a lactation value of 117.

In her third lactation she added a little extra and her average protein percentage over the whole lactation came out at 3.82%. Like her dam, Melchior daughter Reca was a large, broad cow with good capacity and she also had a high-attached udder with a strong suspensory ligament.

Super functional An important requirement for cows nowadays is self-sufficiency. As Mathé puts it: “The cows that you don’t come across are often the best ones. They visit the robot on time, get in calf on time and don’t get sick. So the less I know them, the better they are.” Navarro is ideally suited to this trend towards bigger and bigger herds with the goal of producing self-sufficient cows. His progeny are easily born. He passes on super hoof health and has excellent scores for the functional traits of udders and feet and legs. Navarro daughters also have straight rear legs, excellent locomotion and shallow, high-attached udders. They produce milk with a high protein percentage. l

Genomic potential

Ambo (Amos) Labell-Ambo VG87 (Labelle)

break through as a breeding bull, Dome’s Danza. Unfortunately, this bull turned out to have the BLAD factor so CRV chose not to market him. Another good descendant of Labelle-Ambo is Addison daughter Dome’s Davine. Mathé describes this cow as ‘a monster of an animal, one that stands out right away’. Davine was huge, with very broad forequarters, good capacity and a broad rump. Her udder was attached very high, so she achieved the maximum score of nine for rear udder height. In total, her udder was awarded a rating of 88 points and her frame 87 points. In production too, this cow held her own with the other cows in the family by putting up an impressive performance, producing as much 15,355kg of milk in her second 305-day lactation, giving her a lactation value of 135.

None of the cows in the Van den Bosch herd enjoys preferential treatment. “It’s pretty busy on our unit and there’s a fair amount of competition, so it would be nice if we could give them a bit more attention, perhaps then they’d achieve even higher yields”, Mathé van den Bosch says. “But we just don’t have the time for that. Genetics don’t alter that fact of course. “So it’s nice that we now have

genomics as well to show us what they can do.” Mathé says that CRV’s use of genomics gives it an even better understanding of the animals’ capabilities compared with an understanding based solely on conformation traits and production results. “It enables CRV, for example, to identify a wider group of producers and a wider group of cows of potential interest to the breeding programme,” he says.

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CM04_avoncroft sire report 23


31-05-2012 16:27:13

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31-05-2012 11:37:41


Industry supports sat. fat project An NMR meeting to discuss a new project on the use of information from saturated fatty acid profiles attracted widespread industry support. The four-year project, which started in May, has been developed by NMR in partnership with Marks and Spencer and SAC and co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board. This project will assess the scope of saturated fatty acid profiles derived

from mid-infra-red testing of NMR milk samples with a view to developing new cow performance indicators. Among those keen to be involved are feed companies and nutritionists, consultants, vets and representative bodies, such as DairyCo and the NFU. Volunteer herds for this project will be sought later in the year and project updates will be presented on the NMR web site.

First for cross-bred certificates  NMR Ancestry and Pe rformance Certificate     A PETER IDEAL   J L & G J TWEDDLE GARTHO RNE FARM


Nmr herd number: 01/85489/0

Fat kg 9.2

Dam: ARCHDEACON VIN Milk kg 62  PTA 37,567  kg


2    Line: 379    A PETER IDEA L    

Milk kg PTA 179

Fat kg 2.1  PTA 1,275

Prot kg 10.1

CE IDEAL     Prot kg 1.6  PTA 1,291

Fat % 0.00  PTA 3.40

Prot % ­0.01  PTA 3.43

Fat % 0.03


Rel % 72 SCC  213

UK105218700379 DOB:

Prot % 0.07

Rel % 68

Milk kg 372

Fat kg 21.1

Prot kg 15.8

Fat % 0.09

Prot % 0.05

Rel % 99

Prot kg 8.7

Fat % 0.07

Prot % 0.05

Rel % 58

Maternal Grand Dam: 907     Dam:

Milk kg ­220

Fat kg ­9.0

Prot kg ­3.7

Fat % 0.00

Prot % 0.04

Rel % 70


Fat kg ­1.7

Prot kg ­0.5

Fat % ­0.11

Prot % ­0.08

Rel % 98

PLI 119

Paternal Grand Dam: 966 HJAR


Milk kg 167 Dam: 850 HJARTA

Fat kg 11.6


Maternal Grand Sire: WINBROO K VINCE    HBN: 02641341    

Milk kg 134 Dam: WINBROOK VI 25


PLI 102

Sire: PETERSLUND    HB N: 91213    

PLI 29 6 lactations

PLI 129 Sire: HULAN

Paternal Grand Sire: T­BRUNO     HBN: 93907    


Milk kg 444 Dam: 349 BRUNA

Fat kg 17.3

Prot kg 13.6

Fat % ­0.01

Prot % ­0.02

Rel % 97


Lactation details: Lact. number A01 A02


Printed on 21/05/12

Calving date 08/07/09 22/07/10

Calving interval 0 379


Days in milk 323 327


Milk kg 6,152 6,710


Fat kg Prot kg

Fat %

Prot %


254 285

228 252

4.13 4.24

3.70 3.75

66 112






NMR, Fox Talbot House, Greenw

ays Business Park, Bellinger C lose, Chippenha

m, SN15 1BN

0844 7255567

Line:  379

For the first time dairy producers with cross-bred cows can have official ancestry and performance certificates. These are now available for all NMR recorded cows of all breeds, including cross-bred animals.

Available electronically, as e-certificates, from the NMR Herd Companion web site, these new certificates include sire, dam and grandparent details plus all lactation records, updated monthly. “With an increasing number of crossbred animals now in the national dairy herd it’s important to recognise the strength of breeding here,” says NMR’s Jonathan Davies. “Endorsing ancestry information and production data with an NMR certificate should add value to all dairy cows, including crossbreds.” Each certificate includes a full-colour pie chart showing the proportion of each breed in the pedigree. Producers can print colour certificates off the Herd Companion web site ‘on demand’.

Agri-food expert for profiling role Securing funding for two saturated-fat projects and the need to develop related testing services has led to the appointment of Rachel Pennington as NMR product manager. A graduate in agri-food production and with five years experience in the livestock and food industries, Rachel will co-ordinate the development of the NMR Group’s fatty acid profiling activities including the recently launched TSB project. Rachel will also work with research institutes to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the fatty acid profile and cow health, the health attributes of milk for humans

and implications for the environment. Originally from a mixed dairy farm in Shropshire, Rachel studied at Harper Adams University College. Rachel Pennington

New – Johne’s cohort monitor

A new report on the Herdwise Johne’s website provides vital disease control information. The cohort monitor graph shows the status of animals according to the date they were born for any animal more than 36 months old. Symptoms of Johne’s have been picked up in cows with consecutive eartag numbers, around the same time, and this could identify a biosecurity breakdown. Available to vets, the new report pinpoints these groups of high risk animals and allows control procedures to be put in place that will minimise the risk to the rest of the herd.

Spring’s 100 tonners The top three cows reaching 100tonnes in March and ranked on lifetime daily yield (LDY) are: 1. Aldsworth Patricia 40 with 107,184kg of milk in six lactations and a LDY of 30.93kg. DC & B Wilcox, from Wall Farm, Aldsworth, Gloucestershire. 2. 122 with 111,414kg of milk in eight lactations and a LDY of 28.55kg. Steanbow Farm, Pilton, Somerset. 3. Salcey Dorf Shamock with 100,522kg of milk in eight lactations and a LDY of 26.86kg. Winfrith Fields Farm, West Chaldon, Dorset. A full list is published on the NMR website.

For more information on NMR products and services contact customer services, 0844 7255567, NMR web address:, NMR email address: COW MAN AG E ME N T

CM04_NMR news 25


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31-05-2012 15:05:43



CM04_p26.indd 26

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31-05-2012 11:40:03

Flushing System FA R M SC O TL A N D ’S EV EN T S ES N B U SI

AirWash® injector suitable for existing liner and cluster

® AirWash WON



Stall mounted control unit




• AirWash flushing system provides a powerful tool in mastitis cross-contamination prevention. • By providing a hygienic liner for every cow the risk of cross contamination in the milking parlour ®

is reduced to an absolute minimum.

• AirWash flushes each liner after every cow has milked whatever the cluster position. • There is no change to operator routine. AirWash uses only 400-500ml of water for each cow. ®


ASK YOUR LOCAL SUPPLIER OR FOR DETAILS OF WHERE TO PURCHASE CALL Tel No.: 01948 667676 Fax No.: 01948 666505 CM04_p27.indd 2

email: website: website: 31-05-2012 11:41:08




Page 1

Control Winter Feed Costs





Call FiveF on: 01200 445525 for more information. *The cost per unit of protein added in the Alkasystem is LESS than from conventional feed proteins like rapeseed and soya bean meals

CM04_p28.indd 2

31-05-2012 11:43:52




Robotic milking: automatic system frees up time for vital herd management. Page 30 What’s new? We take a look at some parlour ‘add ons’ to help boost health and hygiene. Page 32

CM04_special intro 29

31-05-2012 10:47:57




Milking ‘wizards’ work their technological magic

Robots relieve parlour pressures An automatic milking system is saving time and money, as well as increasing milk hygiene and yields and cow health, on one Cornish unit. Read on to find out why and how the robots suit the management set up – and the staff – so well. text Rachael Porter


xpanding cow numbers, a tired parlour and labour scarcity – three factors that saw one Cornwall-based herd take the plunge and invest in two robotic milking machines. And they’re factors that are familiar to many producers who are increasing herd size up and down the UK. But why did Graham Duke plump for robots, rather than any other type of parlour? The investment was certainly needed to solve the puzzle of how to relieve the constraints imposed by his old 12:12 herringbone parlour. “But I liked the added bonus of increased milk yield per cow, due to more frequent milking, and that labour costs – and the worry of finding and keeping skilled milkers – would also diminish,” he says.

Additional land In September 2004, Graham, who farms in partnership with his wife Jill at South Bridgetown Farm near Launceston, took on an additional 40 hectares, extending his tenanted farm to a total of 134 hectares. The extra land enabled him to expand his herd from 140 to 220 head. But with a cramped and worn out parlour, the twice-daily milking regime was tough going. There had been some parlour upgrades, but it still only had a throughput of between 50 and 60 cows per hour. As a consequence, Graham was spending as much as eight hours per day in the parlour. “We had plans to improve the



CM04_special new robot 30


milking parlour by building a new dairy on a green-field site adjacent to the existing farm buildings,” says Graham. “Our plans featured enough capacity to house, feed and milk 350 cows through a rapid-exit parlour. As an alternative, we also thought about installing four robots to milk the high yielders, with the remainder of the herd going through the existing herringbone.” But unfortunately these expansion plans coincided with the start of the credit crunch so Graham put his plans on hold while he re-assessed his borrowing options. In the meantime he looked for other ways to relieve the pressures that high cow numbers were placing on his existing setup. Then, in spring 2010, the family had the opportunity to take nearby Buttern Farm on a 10-year farm business tenancy. Unable to transfer the existing herd from South Bridgetown due to TB restrictions, 90 cows were purchased and transported to Buttern Farm and put under the management of Graham’s eldest son, Lloyd. Cow numbers at Buttern Farm currently exceed 170, which has enabled the herd at South Bridgetown to be downsized, with 130 cows now being milked through two Fullwood Merlin robots that have replaced the old herringbone parlour. The Merlin machines were commissioned in October 2010 and have revealed a number of key benefits over the farm’s traditional herringbone system. “The robots have improved working conditions for the cows and staff at the unit. They have also reduced our labour requirements and are paying for

Graham Duke: “Average yield has increased to more than 9,000 litres”

themselves through lower staff wages,” explains Graham. “We’ve also seen milk yields increase by more than 800 litres per cow since we switched to fully automated milking, primarily because the cows are being milked more frequently.” The low yielders at South Bridgetown are milked as little as once per day, but the high yielders are regularly achieving 4.5 milkings per day. The Merlin robots have also contributed to a flatter, more consistent milk production curve, with cows and freshly calved heifers giving more milk for longer.

Less ‘peaky’ “Overall the herd is averaging three milkings per day and we have seen average yields rise from 8,200 litres per cow to more than 9,000 litres, with the highest yielders giving close to 12,000 litres,” says Graham. “And production is less ‘peaky’, largely due to more frequent milkings and also because we are using the robots in conjunction with outof-parlour feeders, which allow us to control each cow’s individual feed intake.” Udder health and milk quality have also improved. The herd’s somatic cell count is down to 170,000 cells/ml. “Great news since it was previously always above 300,000 cells/ml. This is partly due to the

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31-05-2012 10:48:42

robots, but also a result of addressing the over-crowing issue by splitting the herd between two units. “The same can be said for mastitis. We used to see a lot of Staph and Strep cases, but it’s rare to see either now,” says Graham. Cow welfare and longevity have also improved since the robots were installed – and so has Graham’s quality of life. “The replacement rate is falling and the cows are happier now they can choose when to be milked. My daily workload is also more manageable and I enjoy life more – I have more freedom. I can go to watch my sons play rugby on a Saturday afternoon and I can stay for drink in the clubhouse without having to rush back to milk. I’m not watching the clock all the time. “The robots weren’t installed so that I could spend less time at work, but they do give me the flexibility to spend time with my family and to help Lloyd at Buttern Farm. More importantly, they also free-up a valuable time to allow me to focus on vital aspects of herd

management, including health, foottrimming, fertility and heat detection.” Graham says that it is difficult to say exactly how much money each robot has saved his business, but labour costs have fallen dramatically due to no longer needing relief milking support, and his workload is also more sustainable. “One of the biggest costs on any dairy farm is labour,” says Fullwood’s Rob Waterfield. “If you can cut your monthly fixed costs without having a detrimental effect on cow health or milk quality, your profit margin will instantly improve. Robotic milking allows this key change to be made and Graham’s business is benefitting as a direct result.”

Grazing plan And he’s not finished yet. He’d like to graze some of the herd – probably just the low yielders – possibly next year. But that will require a little more planning and the purchase of a ‘grazing gate’ that will allow only cows giving less than 30 litres, for example, to leave the cow

house and head off to pasture. “Our grazing isn’t exactly close by, but I’ll figure something out.” Graham says the switch from conventional to automatic milking was a ‘challenging but worthwhile’ exercise. “As soon as we’d trained the cows to use the robots we knew we had made the right decision,” he says. He had worked with robots before, as a herdsman on a unit back in 2001. “I was impressed with them then, but the technology is even better now. “I never imagined I’d be able to afford to milk my own herd through an automatic system, so I’m thrilled to be doing it now.” It proved to be a difficult installation due to space constraints at the unit, but he says the company worked closely with him to make sure the cows had easy access to both machines. “We had to maximise cow flow and make sure there were no bottle necks. I think the increased milk yield and productivity of the herd is proof that we certainly managed that.” l

Automated system: robots get on with milking while Graham is free to focus on other areas of dairy herd management


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Quicken the milking routine without compromising milk or udder hygiene

Cut cross contamination We take a look at two of the latest pieces of parlour ‘add-on’ kit that promise to help improve teat condition, udder health and milk hygiene quality, while at same time save money and reduce the number of hours you spend in the pit. text Rachael Porter


flushing system that cleans liners between each cow milking has helped one producer to reduce both cell count and mastitis levels in his herd – and save time in the milking parlour. Ben Beddoes, who milks his 170-cow MRI herd at Churchstoke in the Welsh Borders, installed the Airwash system – supplied by Shropshirebased company Dairy Spares – in his 12:24 swing-over parlour in 2010 and he hasn’t looked back since. “For us, it really has been the solution to

tackling mastitis caused by cross contamination,” he says. “I used to wash the clusters by hand after each cow with water and paracetic acid. And it worked to an extent, but it was a big job and very time consuming – adding at least an hour to total milking time each day. And it was also only as good as the man doing the job,” he adds. Removing the cross contamination issue has seen the herd’s mastitis cases fall by a third and somatic cell count has also fallen from 194,000 cells/ml to 133,000 cells/ml – surpassing the 150,000 cells/

target that Ben set. “It’s phenomenal. And we recorded a SCC of 74,000 cells/ml a few weeks ago – the lowest we’ve ever seen in our herd. We’re getting the best price that we can for our milk because the quality couldn’t be any better.” Cases of mastitis have also fallen and are still decreasing on a weekly basis. To date, Ben is seeing 33 fewer cases of mastitis each year and this has dramatically reduced his vet costs. “The cost of one case in our herd tends to be around £200, so the reduction we’ve seen is equivalent to £6,600. This saving means that the system has almost paid for itself already.” Before investing in Airwash, which can be installed in any parlour and to existing clusters, Ben had looked at different existing flushing systems. Some would have been cheaper to install, but didn’t work if the cluster units were upside down. They had to be turned before cleaning. “But with this system that’s not necessary because it can flush the

Automatic wash: the Airwash system flushes the liners clean between each individual cow milking



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cluster clean whatever position it’s in. Airwash is also different as it just flushes the vital part of the cluster – the liners – compared to some other systems that flush the whole cluster. This saves water. It uses between 400-500 ml of water and chemical solution for each cow. “And when the whole cluster is flushed, a lot of milk fat goes on the floor, making it slippery,” says Ben. Ben’s vet, Oli Hodgkinson, says that the system has also improved herd fertility since the higher the somatic cell count, the less fertile the cows tend to be. “The calving index was 4.31 in 2010 and now it’s down below 4. Improved somatic cell counts combined with other changes to herd management have led to this index reduction. The extra profit linked with this improvement is around £49,500 per year,” says Ben. Ben said he would not hesitate to recommend the system to other producers. “It hasn’t complicated the milking routine – quite the opposite in fact. And it’s doing the job that I wanted too, and more. It’s proved extremely cost effective.” The only downside is that because the system is installed on the liner so has to be reset every time the liners are changed – in Ben’s case four times a year. “It’s a

Hand-held system: three brushes ensure that the teats are clean and ready to be milked

big job, but it is worth the effort. Once you get used to doing it it’s fine. “And the installation time is nothing compared to what I save every day when milking and treating mastitis cases.”

Hand-held teat-prep system Another add-on that, again, can be installed in any type of parlour is the Teat Sanicleanse system, manufactured by Lancashire-based Northern Dairy Equipment. There are several different models of the system to suit customers whose herd’s range in size from 100 to 2,000 cows. “The hand-held system washes, disinfects, dries and stimulates the teat ready for milking,” explains the company’s Mathew Wiggans. “And this is all done in approximately 10 seconds – the cow is then clean and ready to be milked.” Launched in January and already in use on eight UK units, as well as several in the US, Canada and Hungary, the system provides a time saving alternative to other pre-milking routines while at the same time helping to reduce disease and cross contamination. It has three rotating brushes. The upper two are counter rotating and they wash, sanitise and massage the external surfaces of the teats and the base of the udder with warm water and sanitiser. At the same time, the third brush completes the same operation at the tip of the teats. The whole system is manually operated moving from cow to cow on a stainless steel wire up and down the full length of the parlour just above head height. “We designed the system with cow comfort and clean milk production

in mind. The durable, yet soft brushes in conjunction with the Sanicleanse sanitiser remove dirt while providing the necessary stimulation. “The speed of the brushes and the sanitiser has been developed and tested for maximum milk let down. And our customers report a significant improvement in teat hygiene and condition,” explains Mathew. Following installation, producers say that they benefit through time saved in the parlour report – it allows them to speed up their pre-milking routine, eliminates the use of paper towels and medicated wipes, and they are able to milk more cows per hour. They also say that the system is lightweight, but strong and easy to use. More importantly, it offers consistent teat cleaning and preparation, reduces the rate of cross contamination, and keeps milkers’ hands clean. “Customers also report that their cows are cleaner and healthier and less prone to mastitis. We believe that the elimination of the first drops of milk removes a broad spectrum of contagious bacteria and that the reported improvements in cell counts are also related to better teat condition.” The system can be fitted quickly and certainly between milkings. “Every unit is different and so each installation is customised to suit the individual parlour,” says Mathew. “Our engineers carry a complete range of spare parts in their vehicles and we also offer an overnight postal service for replacement brushes and other parts when necessary. We pride ourselves on providing service 24/7 so customers have


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Simple solution: installing a slide pulsator should help to minimise parlour breakdowns

Pulsator: Boumatic’s HiFlo Evolution

peace-of-mind knowing that we are just a phone call away.”

The pulsator, which is now available for the first time in Europe, is being imported from New Zealand by the Kent-based company. This follows it’s installation in Peter’s own 70-point rotary parlour. He spotted it while he was in New Zealand researching rotary parlours for his unit at home. “I want minimal breakdowns and maintenance. Every time a parlour breaks down it is money down the drain. The slide pulsator is simple and virtually maintenance free. All we have to do to maintain the working parts is lubricate them with a silicon lubricant every few months.” Available in 4+0 and 2+2 configuration for both herringbone and rotary parlours, the pulsators are available in three pipe sizes – 50mm, 62.5mm and 75mm. The entire pulsation for a parlour is run from one electric motor, minimising the risk of breakdowns, while there are no valves or seals involved, again cutting the maintenance requirements and breakdown risks. Peter adds that the simpler a parlour can be the better. “This system simplifies parlour maintenance and by removing as many of the possible failure points as possible we can cut the risk of downtime. “The pulsator is driven by a simple series of rods, interlinked by joints all of which can easily be replaced should they break. That’s said, the likelihood of this happening is low under normal use.” The slide pulsator can be flushed with wash water and is unaffected by variations in temperature or vacuum level. With large porting on the pulsator there are also unlikely to be blockages from foreign objects that may be sucked into the airlines. l

Lactic-acid based products A range of lactic-acid based teatcare products is now available from chemical hygiene specialists Agroserve. Two teat-care products – Lactospray All-Ways and Lactodip – are formulated with enhanced lactic acid, offering superior disinfection and skin conditioning as an alternative to iodine based products. So says the company, which is part of GEA Farm Technologies. “Both products are proven to have an efficacy that is at least as good as our premium iodine and chlorhexidine dips, so there is absolutely no compromise on quality,” stresses Agroserve’s Chris Bisdee. Coloured orange for high visibility and enhanced dipping control, both the spray and the dip have a high emollient specification of +15% and Iodine-free: two dairy hygiene products based on lactic acid are now available

are EN1656 certified. With no mixing required, they are ready-to-use and available in 25, 200 and 1,000-litre pack sizes. The company adds that Lactospray AllWays is versatile because it is suitable for use before and/or after milking as a spray, dip or foam. It claims that this makes it unique in the market place. For use after milking, Lactodip is a breathable product that gives prolonged teat protection between milkings. The consistency of the dip means it doesn’t drip as much as other post teat dips making it more economical to use.

Pulsator ‘evolution’ A pulsator with just eight working parts has been launched by BouMatic. The HiFlo Evolution pulsator is the newest addition in a long line of pulsators developed by the company. “Our pulsators are in place on thousands of dairy units across the world,” said the company’s brand manager Dennie Plomedahl. This latest model boasts a simple, robust design and is manufactured in the US. The company says that no tools or special handling is required for its service and maintenance. BouMatic is also launching several more products at major dairy and agricultural shows and exhibitions in 2012, including the Xcalibur Streamline – its newest rotary milking system – and robotic systems for milking and for applying teat dips.

A simple pulsation solution Producers looking for a simple, reliable, easily maintained and cost effective pulsation solution for large and small parlours may want to take a look at the Read Slide Pulsator. So says Peter Joules of UK and European distributor PHR Milking Equipment.



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Vet Steve Borsberry, from the Warwickshire-based 608 Farm Vets (a member of the XLVet Group), shares some tips on disease prevention and tackling health problems in dairy herds, drawing from his many years of on-farm experience. Here he takes a closer look at a serious problem that can occur at any time of the year.

Be cautious with chicken litter and remove wildlife carcases

Deadly and devastating I

t’s quite rare, but the effects of botulism in a dairy herd can be devastating. In late 2011, a suspected outbreak on a unit in North Yorkshire led to the death of 120 cows from a herd of 160 – that’s a loss of 75%. Suspected is the key word here – it’s difficult to get a positive diagnosis. The Animal Health Veterinary Laboratory Agency carried out post-mortem examinations but it was unable to confirm the cause with toxin testing. So botulism was suspected on clinical grounds. There was no link with poultry litter in this instance, which is the commonest source of the bacteria – Clostridium botulinum – which produces an almost always deadly neurotoxin. Of the 40 cases that I’ve seen, no cattle have survived. Animals are typically found dead, with no previous signs of the infection. Sub-acute cases, which do occasionally occur, can be confused with milk fever. Cows appear uncoordinated and tend to stumble. But they’re usually found down, lying on their side and a tell-tale sign of botulism is a slight protrusion of the tongue. This is because the neurotoxin causes loss of muscle control. The only other disease that has this symptom is foot and mouth. Single cases can occur but multiple cases within a herd are more common. The cause is often the result of a carcase – usually a dead rabbit – ensiled in grass silage. Big-bale silage tends to be more prone to carrying botulism the pH of bales doesn’t fall

as low as that for clamped silage and a low pH will tend to prevent the growth of the bacteria. Another source is chicken litter, which shouldn’t contain chicken carcasses, but unfortunately sometimes it does. So if it’s piled up in a field, waiting to be spread, cows are naturally curious and will investigate. And sometimes they get much more than they bargained for. I’ve even seen cows lying on piles of chicken litter. So I strongly advise producers to keep their cows away from it. Botulism is a notifiable disease, so if you suspect it then you or your vet must contact DEFRA.

The encyclopaedia Botulism Cause Clostridium botulinum is a Gram-positive bacterium that produces neurotoxins. Cattle typically come into contact with it when carcasses are ensiled in grass silage, such as dead rabbits, or where chicken litter containing dead chicken is spread.

Symptoms Cattle are usually found dead – they die without any previous signs of ill health. But in sub-acute cases symptoms are similar to that of milk fever. Cows will be either uncoordinated and staggering

or down. They tend to lie on their side and the tongue can protrude.

Diagnosis It’s very difficult to isolate toxins in dead animals. Confirmation tends to be clinical and via a process of elimination.

Prevention Keep cattle away from chicken litter and remove any dead carcasses from pasture. Be extra vigilant when opening and feeding big-bale silage and discard suspect bales.

Treatment There is no treatment – most cattle die from infection with this bacteria.


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Take steps to keep hooves in good shape at grazing

Going walkabout

at grass, Dr Cook says that there are implications for summer grazing systems for larger herds where the whole herd is often still milked as one group and standing times in collecting yards may exceed three hours per milking.

White line disease and sole ulcers are typical hoof problems seen

Practical steps

in grazing cattle in Australia and New Zealand – and the UK. With our grazing season in full swing, what hoof-care lessons can we learn from antipodean producers? text Allison Matthews


hen the cows wave goodbye to winter housing and concrete passageways does this mean that producers can wave goodbye to lameness? Not according to Nigel Cook who has studied the impact of a grassbased system on lameness. The assumption is that cows at grass spend more time lying down and, therefore, there’s less wear and tear on their feet. “But while housed dairy cows, fed a TMR, eat for around 4.5 hours per day and rest for an average of 12 hours, the time ‘budget’ for grazing cows is very different,” explains Nigel Cook of the University of Wisconsin-Madison school of veterinary medicine’s.

Lying time “Research in New Zealand indicates that grazing cattle spend eight hours per day feeding and have shorter daily lying times ranging from between seven and 11 hours in a day. Similar lying times in a housed system would result

in an increased risk of lameness, presumably associated with long periods of time spent standing on concrete passageways.” In grazing herds the potential negative impact of this standing time appears to be reduced because they’re standing on pasture. However it is not clear if the reduced lying time is because the cows simply don’t have the time available to lie down for longer. Is it because grazing is so time consuming or that grazing cows just simply don’t need to rest for as long as housed cows? A recent study on the incidence of lameness in grazing dairy cattle found that a period on pasture can be used to help lame cattle recover, probably because pasture provides a more comfortable surface for cows to stand on and helps them to recover from hoof and leg injuries. Although this is true while the cows are

“The collecting yard can compound lameness in several ways. The amount of time spent standing on concrete reduces the amount of time available for rest. “Splitting into smaller groups for milking can help to reduce the amount of time that cows are standing on concrete. Within a herd of mixed parity animals, heifers are likely to be the most affected as they hang around at the back of the yard and tend to be milked last, which means that they’re standing around for longer,” adds Dr Cook. In Omagh, in County Tyrone, the Alcorn family has taken steps to take control of lameness as incidence in the 140-cow herd has grown in correlation to herd size. “Six months ago we purchased our own crush. Lameness was impacting on our profitability and during the summer months, when conditions allow, we graze the entire herd – even high yielders. We had to create a way of keeping on top of hoof condition without using a hoof trimmer every time we had a lame cow,” says Matthew Alcorn. “We have fairly wet ground and see our fair share of digital dermatitis, but white line disease is also a factor and the problems do not just disappear during

Going the distance: walking to and from the parlour can increase the risk of lameness



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the summer. We lift the feet on a regular basis in addition to the routine trimming and shaping at drying off. When two or three cows are showing symptoms we look at them immediately, alleviating the problem before it escalates,” he adds. A new Westfalia parlour has reduced the waiting time prior to milking. If cows are standing around for too long, this can cause hoof problems, “Horn can be softened by rough flooring, or damaged by yards where stones are allowed to accumulate on the surface creating trauma,” says Dr Cook. “When this is coupled with poor use of backing gates or excessive use of ‘persuasion’ to enter the parlour, white line disease can manifest in the front feet. “If the cows slip sideways and get caught and jammed against the backing gate, white line separation of the outer claw is often the result.”

Making tracks During the summer months cows will be expected to travel greater distances to and from the milking parlour. This can also increase the risk of lameness, caused by white-line separation and increased wear rates.

Nigel Cook: “The collecting yard can compound a lameness problem”

Matthew Alcorn: “Lameness can affect herd productivity in the summer”

“Not all cracks lead to lameness, but a large number can become severe. Both rear and front feet are prone, but in the rear foot it is the outer claw that’s most commonly affected – about 60% of cases. These claws are typically overgrown, are longer than the inside claw and have a shallow claw angle of around 30°,” says Dr Cook. “With this in mind, it’s vital that producers take time this grazing season to maintain and repair cow tracks where necessary, to maximise cow flow and minimise traumatic stress on cows.” On an annual basis – and more often if required – Mr Alcorn maintains his cow

tracks, ensuring that the quarry dust surface minimises the stress to the 560 feet that will tread the tracks four times a day during the summer months when, weather permitting, all of the cows will be grazed night and day. “We recognised that lameness was having an impact on our business. We also realised that this was not a problem restricted to the winter months. Cow mobility is vital during the summer as distances walked can be much greater than in the winter. With our own crush any potential lameness issues are dealt with before they become a huge problem,” adds Mr Alcorn. l


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The drivers behind the recent price drop and why things are set to improve

Price-cut facts and figures We take a look at UK farm-gate milk prices and ask if producers can expect to be paid more for their milk later this year. text Rachael Porter


iquid milk producers have had a tough year so far, culminating in the recent 2ppl milk price cut that has been made on virtually all liquid milk contracts. The first to make a cut in April was Dairy Crest – a move that was quickly followed by other buyers and processors. “Dairy Crest lost a large contract to supply Tesco and is also closing two processing plants. Its financial results, which were published in May, didn’t paint a rosy picture either. So a price cut was always on the cards for its suppliers,” says the Farm Consultancy Group’s Charles Holt. But there’s more to it than that. The dairy auctions, run by Fonterra and United Dairy Farmers NI, have also seen prices tumble. The milk price on the commodity market is low and, in fact, the Fonterra price is now below the 10-year trend line. “But this could be good news and may signal an end to the price squeeze and may even be a sign that prices are set to stabilise, if not increase slightly. “It’s also winter now in Australia and New Zealand, so there’s less milk being produced there. If supply dips slightly then this should help to increase the milk price,” says Mr Holt. Back to the UK’s current situation and he thinks that Dairy Crest has been made a scapegoat in the farm-gate milk price cut round. “It was just the first to make a cut – the other buyers were just waiting for someone else to make the first move. And once they did, they were all quick to follow suit and it’s interesting that all, but a few exceptions, have cut their prices by 2ppl – not 0.5ppl or any other amount. “It was always going to happen, the only question was who was going to make the first move. But I think a lot of people are surprised at the severity of the cut on some contracts.”



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top five Dairy Crest M&S – profile Dairy Crest M&S – variable Dairy Crest Waitrose Dairy Crest Sainsburys – profile Dairy Crest Sainsburys – variable bottom five United Dairy Farmers (NI) 4 First Milk Balancing Compositional – profile First Milk Cheese – profile First Milk Balancing Compositional – dual pricing First Milk Cheese – dual pricing

ppl 32.18 32.18 31.09 30.54 30.54 ppl 26.48 27.15 27.13 26.84 26.82

Table 1: Top and bottom five UK monthly milk prices paid in March 2012 (source: DairyCo)

He believes that some suppliers should not have cut prices quite so severely – namely those processing some milk into cheese. “The cheese market is buoyant and producers selling milk to cheese processors have escaped price cuts in the main – and so they should with demand for cheese remaining so strong.” With liquid milk it’s all about supply and demand. The commodity market is important – UK milk producers are operating in a global market place and, world wide, there is a lot of milk being produced at the moment. “China, Europe and the US are all doing well at the moment,” says Mr Holt. Mergers, like the one between Milk Link and Arla, are good for producers as they’ll give them more ‘power’ when it comes to negotiating milk price. “But milk producers are still, predominantly, ‘price takers’ – if processors and buyers want to cut the milk price, there’s very little then they can or will do about it.” Keep up to date with the dairy trade and milk prices at: and

Average milk price in March According to the most recent DEFRA figures, the average UK farm-gate price stood at 28.62ppl in March. This was a 0.27ppl (0.9%) decrease on the February 2012 average price. But annual comparisons show a 2.06ppl (7.8%) increase year on year.

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For information All Holland Dairy Show +31 26 38 98 577 e-mail: NRM_2012_adv_CM.indd 14

31-05-2012 13:00:55


The Pleasure principle Pleasure is his name. And pleasure is what results from this Red Holstein sire, thanks to his breeding. Aalshorst Pleasure (Talent x Merton x Goldie) is another example of how close the Red Holsteins have come to the top of Holstein breeding worldwide in recent years. His arrival came slowly but surely. Every new proof run saw his breeding results improve in virtually all characteristics. Milk fat and protein content are clearly positive giving him a very good production performance. His strong points are udders and cell counts and both assure his impressive longevity. As also offers calving ease and good milking speed, and his feet and legs are well above average. It is difficult to find any weak points in his transmission and he is backed by a very good cow family. His dam classified VG86 and was sired by the soundly proven Lucky Leo son Holland Merton. He’s very strong in transmitting longevity and sires daughters that get better with age. Pleasure’s dam and grand dam started their productive life with great first lactations – both were more than 40% above their herd’s average. Pleasure’s maternal brother Balaton, by Lightning, was also a successful sire and extremely popular. Maybe the strongest point in Pleasure’s breeding is his power to transmit a

Pukeroa TGM Manzello

Pleasure daughter Aalshorst Dinie 36 produced in 292 days, 8,298kg of milk at 4.67% fat and 3.75% protein

longer productive life to his daughters. They remain nearly a whole year longer in the herd than the average cow in the Netherlands. Pleasure daughters have an average productive life of about four years after first calving, which equates to an improvement of about 25% in one generation. Two years after first calving saw only 16% culled from their herds – that’s less than 10% per year. Replacement costs should be brought down substantially for many dairy herds. More attention should be paid, world wide, to dairy cow durability. It is of the greatest economic importance to lengthen the productive life of our cows. Add more durability to your herd with Pleasure! Pleasure is available from Avoncroft priced at £18 per straw. Freephone 0800 7831880.

Table 1: Production Interbull April 2012

daughters 121


milk kg

fat kg




ptn kg

fat %

ptn %

long. PLI days

10.2 +0.05 +0.06 £118


lifespan 0.3

fert. calving index SCC ease –0.7



Pleasure daughter Rolien 6352 produced in 387 days 8,132kg of milk at 4.24% fat and 3.52% protein

A Maunga son – Pukeroa TGM Manzello – is high in the breeding worth charts as one of New Zealand’s best proven Jersey sires as he starts garnering good daughter numbers and his breeding values exceed genomic expectations. Pukeroa TGM Manzello was identified early via both genomics and breeding, being a magical cross of two CRV AmBreed greats Maunga and Manhatten. Sired by Tawa Grove Maunga, Manzello is from an EX2 Manhatten daughter in a high index and high type cow family. With production figures already backed by 106 daughters milking in 40 herds, his reliability is above 86% and his breeding worth of 253 ranks him as New Zealand’s number-two Jersey and number four sire for all breeds. Manzello’s ratings for daughter fertility, longevity, and somatic cells complete an impressive health profile for this exciting sire. But it doesn’t stop there because these young cows come in a very pleasing package. Manzello daughters are larger than average and display exceptional dairy conformation, correct leg set, wide rumps with correct angle, and tremendous udders. Manzello is available from Avoncroft priced at £14 per straw. Freephone 0800 7831880. Manzello daughter


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01-06-2012 10:48:50

JULY 10, SPECIAL FEEDING Book your advertisement now! Deadline for reservation: July 2 Call: Julia Hughes, 01249 467224 48


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31-05-2012 13:16:04

More milk same feed Want to improve your feed efficiency?

Make sure your feed contains

the rumen specific live yeast In trials cows increased margins by £10 per month due to: � higher milk yield � improved feed efficiency For more cost effective milk production contact:


Royal Portbury Dock, Bristol BS20 7XS Tel: 01275 378384 |

Biotal _Yeast_Ad_AW.indd 1 CM06_p57.indd 57

35 - 39 York Rd, Belfast BT15 3GW Tel: 028 9035 1321 |


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


SHOWS AND EVENTS June 21-24: June 27: June 27-28: June 29-30: July 3: July 10-12: July 23-26: September 4-5: October 3: October 16: November 21:

Royal Highland Show, Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh National Forage Conference, Nantwich, Cheshire Nottingham Feed Conference, Sutton Bonington Campus, Leicestershire All Holland Dairy Show, Zwolle (The Netherlands) Gold Cup farm walk, Church Farm, Martinstown, Dorchester 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

The girls make their way back to pasture after milking Picture: Harrie van Leeuwen

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX 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 Editing, design and production Veeteelt Contributing writers Roger Evans, Allison Matthews, David Matthews, Marieke de Weerd 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 internet

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

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

Illustrations/pictures Photographs by Veeteelt Photography, Christopher Smith (9), Tom Reeves (10) and Steve Borsberry (37).


ADF Milking...............................................28 ALH-Genetics.............................................13 Alta............................................................39 Alltech........................................................21 Ambic.........................................................26 Ancotec......................................................45 ATL............................................................12 Avoncroft/Thompsons..................................2 Batchelor Enterprises.....................................7 Biotal Feed Conference...............................38 Biotal............................................................8 Boehringer Ingelheim..................................52 Boer Housing Systems, De....................12, 35 Boumatic....................................................26 Cogent.......................................................24 Cow Comfort.............................................26 Cowcare.....................................................42 Cowsfeet....................................................36 Dairy Spares...............................................27 DeLaval......................................................36

Diversey.................................................7, 13 DP Agri...........................................28, 35, 42 EM Organisms............................................12 Enviro Systems............................................36 Farmplus.....................................................45 FiveF...........................................................28 GEA............................................................35 Lallemand...................................................49 Micron-Bio-Systems....................................17 Mueller.......................................................17 NMR..........................................................51 Nordic Star...................................................6 NRM..........................................................46 Pearson......................................................43 RE Buildings................................................48 Spinder.......................................................45 Teemore.....................................................48 Vervaeke....................................................43 Westpoint...................................................43


F e e d i n g sp ecial July/August (July 10th) – Ever wondered what the optimum herd size is? In our next issue we’ll try to answer that question. And we’ll also have our timely special on feeding.

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


c owmanagement

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01-06-2012 10:45:30

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26-01-2012 10:38:58


day against one The science ofFrom synergy mastitis Should you and your vet choose to rethink your first-line mastitis therapy, Ubrolexin® should be uppermost in your mind. You can be confident knowing that Ubrolexin® can be used first-line without compromising efficacy1. Ubrolexin® is a 1st generation cephalosporin intramammary tube combined, synergistically, with an aminoglycoside. It’s as effective as a 4th generation intramammary cephalosporin and significantly more effective than a 3rd generation intramammary cephalosporin at treating clinical mastitis1. With mastitis still one of the most common and costly diseases in dairy farming2,3 Ubrolexin® deserves serious thought. Talk to your vet about its place on your farm.

27420 Farmer SPS_v7.indd 1 CM03_p60.indd 2

References: 1. Bradley A.J & Green M.J Journal Dairy Science 2009, 92:1941– 1953. 2. Bradley A.J The Veterinary Journal 2002, 164, 116–128. 3. IAH Disease Facts - Mastitis. Website Accessed 4.2.2011. Advice on the use of Ubrolexin® or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Ubrolexin® contains cefalexin monohydrate and kanamycin monosulphate. Prescription only medicine. Withdraw milk from supply for human consumption for 120 hours after the last Ubrolexin® treatment. Fur ther information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Email: Date of preparation: Nov 2011 This advertisement is brought to you from Boehringer Ingelheim, manufacturers of Ubrolexin®. Use Medicines Responsibly ( responsible). AHD 7013

27/03/2012 18:22 19-04-2012 13:12:28

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