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V O LU M E 11 N O 6 A U GU ST/ SE PTE MBE R 2013





UK herds are four steps away from eradication

Golden rules for a smooth transition period

Success stories from the 2013 Livestock Event

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Newhouse Gofast Goldwyn x Oman x Addison

Solid production Superb udders Reliable calving ease (109) Excellent hoof Health (107) Holstein production

Conformation Traits

Interbull, August 2013

Breeding Values GES August 2013

Milk +267kg Fat +17.1kg +0.08% Protein +13.8kg +0.06% 214 daughters in 156 herds 79% Rel

PLI ÂŁ164 Fertility Index +1.8 Lifespan +0.2 Longevity +462 days SCC -13

Frame Dairy Strength Udder Feet and Legs Total Score

112 110 114 107 115

102 daughters in 74 herds 90% Rel

3 Gofast daughters - Newhouse Sneeker 486 (L) - Sneeker 488 (M) - Sneeker 487 (R)

Avoncroft Freephone 0800 7831880 Avoncroft genetics Ltd abide by the DairyCo and Holstein UK established Code of Advertising

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4 Cow Talk 15 Overalls off: RNLI volunteer 22 Roger Evans 35 A  voncroft Breeding Information/ Thompsons Nutritional News 45 Veterinary practice: heat stress 51 NMR Dairy Management News 54 Events and contacts R e p orts 16 A round up of the award winners at this year’s Livestock Event F eedin g

20 The ‘Golden rules’ for effective dry cow management B reedin g

42 Progeny groups at Cow Expo 48 August bull proofs

Elizabeth Berry “BVD eradication plans are gaining momentum in England” 36

Editor Rachael Porter Stay one step ahead


razing shortages are hitting some producers with the much-hoped-for good summer still in full swing. But silage making has been considerably less arduous and fraught on most units, despite a cold and slow start to the spring, even if some silage quality is less than ideal. With all this in mind, our feeding special, which starts on page 27, takes a close look at planning for the coming winter and how to maximise feed efficiency. Assessing silage stocks now – both in terms of quality and quantity – will take some of the hassle out of winter ration formulation. Healthy cows will also be more efficient at converting feed into milk and we’ve an article that outlines the four steps – planning, investigating, controlling and monitoring – that producers, with support from vets and NMR, should be taking to eradicate BVD. Take a look on page 36 and see just how straight-forward it is to adopt a BVD eradication strategy. Preventing health and fertility problems post calving is largely down to sound dry cow management and another nutritionist shares his ‘golden rules’ to ensure success on page 20. Take a look and see if there’s more you could be doing to avoid, among other problems, milk fever and retained cleansings. We’ve a round up of the top award winners from this year’s Livestock Event, including the NMR/ RABDF Gold Cup trophy holders, the Shropshirebased Higgins family. Our ‘winner’s enclosure’ starts on page 16.

Main article Genetic gain

Special Feeding

Health BVD eradication




How has dairy breeding developed during the past decade?

Feed efficiency: tips on getting more milk from your herd’s ration

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We outline the four vital steps towards successful BVD elimination in England

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Do you know your fat facts? A free two-part fats guide was launched at the Livestock Event and the publisher, Volac, says it is designed to help producers to maximise efficient and healthy production while at the same time improving their unit’s overall sustainability. The guide comprises a 26-page booklet, which describes fats and fatty acids, and why they should be included as

part of a balanced diet. It also contains guidelines on how much fat to feed and how to compare the many fat supplements available to ensure value for money. Another booklet, called ‘fat products’, summarises the company’s portfolio of rumen-bypass fat supplements. “Fluctuating input costs, a rapidlygrowing world population and

pressures to reduce emissions, all focus attention more closely on the need to produce more from less,” said the company’s Jeannie Everington. “That’s where fats come in. They contain the highest energy available and play a crucial role in increasing energy density of rations to improve energy supply.” The guide is available from Volac on 0800 919808.

Bypass protein product launched in UK A bypass protein, manufactured using a process that improves bypass protein values and consistency, is now available to UK producers from Carrs Billington Agriculture. Following the introduction of Amino Max-Pro in the US in October 2012, more than 100,000 cows are now being fed the product. “The product has been well received on US dairy units and producers have been pleased with the results,” said the company’s Duncan Rose. The bypass protein product is manufactured using soya and rape to provide highly consistent levels of

bioavailable lysine, methionine and other essential amino acids to the cow. “Unlike expeller-extruded soya bean meal, it is based on a controlled reaction that reduces the variability in bypass protein value, which is often associated with mechanical processes. The process uses no harmful chemicals.” By significantly increasing metabolisable protein yield, the bypass protein allows for much greater flexibility when formulating rations to achieve individual feeding goals, according to the company. “It is a fantastic tool to help nutritionists limit the amount of total crude protein in the diet,” added Mr Rose.

What’s in your clamp? A wide range in the analyses of first- and second-cut grass silages makes it vital that producers get clamps tested soon, according to Frank Wright Trouw Nutrition International’s Adam Clay. He said that while the results so far look encouraging, the range around the average shows that fine tuning will be required to maximise milk from forage this winter. “Now we have analysed in excess of


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2,000 first-cut silages, and more than 300 second-cut samples, we have a robust picture of grass silages and can sensibly start to understand the feeding implications of these crops. “Compared to 2012, this year’s first cut is slightly drier, with marginally higher D values, ME and crude protein levels. NDF levels are similar but lignin levels are much lower. Lactic acid levels are also reduced,” he added.

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Sire selection to control Johne’s Testing cattle for Johne’s disease is important for its use in control programmes, but the results of a study, carried out by scientists in Edinburgh, show that the same field data could also be used to develop breeding tools as part of an overall disease control strategy. So say scientists at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in Edinburgh, who set out to estimate genetic parameters for antibody response to Johne’s disease using field data milk ELISA test results. “We found that the heritability was in line with similar studies and for other health traits,” said Tracey Pritchard. “Sire and animal models produced similar heritability estimates, but were slightly higher using the animal model. “Despite the low heritability – less than 10% – of health and fertility traits, genetic progress can still be made,” she added.

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health & safety and personnel advice for dairy farmers professional, efficient & safe....

‘I was prompted to employ Dairy Management Systems because of their reputation in the sector and the good work they’ve done for other dairy producers’ Tom King Vortex Holsteins Ltd Winner RABDF Gold Cup 2011

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‘Dairy Management Systems have been good for us over the last six years in an ever important area and one that is often neglected until an incident arises’ Colin McGregor J & I McGregor Farms Winner Farmers Weekly Arable Farmer of the Year 2011

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‘After nearly nine years of working with Dairy Management Systems they are an important part of our team and there for my guys as much as they are for me’ Robert Barnes L. E. Barnes & Sons Ltd Winner Farm Business Employer of the Year 2010

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The rate of genetic gain is accelerating due

Fast forward with h As part of our 10th birthday celebrations, we take a look at how dairy breeding has developed during the past decade and we ask a leading dairy geneticist ‘what’s next’ in terms of new selection traits and tools. text Rachael Porter


he future of dairy genetics is about to get ‘smarter’, according to DairyCo Breeding+’s Marco Winters. It’s been 10 years since geneticists and breeders seriously started to look at ‘real’ fitness traits, with a particularly emphasis on fertility. “Until then, PLI was very much focused on production – combined with a bit of type,” he says. In 2005 the fertility index was introduced and in 2007 the industry saw a substantial review of PLI, where fitness traits actually accounted for 55% of the total PLI index. “That was a seismic shift really and laid the foundations for the genetic gains that we see today.” Progress has continued with considerable pace. “Producers want cows with good milk production, but they also want longevity, so the emphasis on fitness traits has continued to increase. We’re now selecting bulls that deliver those traits – such as good fertility and longevity – and this is helping to drive the cost of production down as cows are bred to complete more lactations and replacements rates can fall.”

Computing power With the genetics of fertility much improved already, health is next on the list. “But our focus will remain on the complete cow. So we’re looking at production, fertility, efficiency, health, carcass traits and even her greenhouse gas production.” This ‘journey’ towards such a ‘complete’ cow will continue into the next decade and, says Mr Winters, at an increasing rate. “Greater computing power allows us to analyse data that was difficult, if not impossible, to decipher before. This can also be done relatively quickly and, most importantly, accurately.” Genomics are playing a key role here too – particularly in terms of speeding up the process Select sires: geneticists and breeders are looking for greater emphasis on health and fitness traits



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ting due to refined breeding tools and technology

h high-speed breeding and, therefore, the rate of genetic gain. “This technology has already served to improve the reliability of some of the fitness traits and we’re also able to get these estimates much earlier than before – even before a sire is producing semen or has daughters on the ground. The ability to change genetic progress has certainly accelerated. “We knew back in 2005 that we had to find and breed from bulls with good fertility. And then it took us four or five years to find that kind of bull from data on daughters. Now, thanks to genomics, we can identify bulls that improve fertility when they’re just a year old.” Mr Winters says that the speed of change is set to increase further as the genomic technology improves and become more sophisticated and refined. This speed is good news, if breeding takes producers in the right direction – healthier, more fertility and more productive cows.

Fitness traits “But is also means that we, as breeders and geneticists, have to work with the industry – right along the food chain – to ensure that we’re selecting the right genetics to benefit the cow, the producer, the processor, the consumer and the wider environment. “Producers still want milk, but not at the expense of other traits. So we’ll continue to step up the emphasis on the fitness traits with a close eye on production. The producer wants the best of both. And that’s what we’re working to give them.” On the horizon Mr Winters sees, for incorporation into PLI, dry matter intake as an actual trait and other production efficiency measures. “We’ll also be looking at disease resistance, such as Johne’s and bTB, through bull daughter data. Some bulls do sire daughters that are more resistant compared to other bulls. “Lameness is important too and we’re gathering data from hoof trimmers that should allow us to develop a foot health score.” As for fertility, longevity and other fitness traits; “We’ll continue to fine tune these, as well as introducing more. Carcass quality, for example, will be invaluable since 50% of beef comes from the dairy herd. So we’re analysing data on that at the moment.” Mr Winters also believes that, within the next decade, all cows will be genomically tested. “Much will depend on the price of the test, but it’s already dropped considerably during the past three years and will continue to fall.” Using computer programmes to match sires to cows

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Is the cross breeding trend set to continue? Cross breeding is growing in popularity in the UK, with many breeding companies reporting a significant increase in sales of semen from breeds other than Holsteins for use on blackand-white herds. But is it a trend that’s set to continue, or will improvements in the Holstein’s health and fitness traits – and their incorporation and greater emphasis within PLI – see producers crossing back? Geno UK’s Wes Bluhm thinks not. And he believes that cross breeding – which has become increasingly popular during the past few years – will continue to grow.

Commercial success “While this is easy to say, the practicalities of putting these changes in place are difficult. “Sire analysts and AI companies are driven by commercial success, just as we all are. Strong pure-bred semen sales are based on bulls that rank well in the indices.

“These sires will be the ones with the best genomic profile. And I believe that this is a very limited group at the moment, so inbreeding could be an issue,” he says. “Many in the industry also believe that genomics will be the answer to the inbreeding problem with Holsteins. But many geneticists also feel that genomics could exacerbate the problem,” he adds. While other countries have facilities to measure health and growth traits and feed-conversion traits in other breeds, they are not available here in the UK. So even if UK breeding programmes want to implement these in their indices, it would be difficult to capture the data. “The traits that producers want to most improve in many cases are those with low heritability. “While indices can be changed to reflect increased emphasis it can be difficult to improve these with pure breeding,” says Mr Bluhm. He adds that as more long-term cross-

breeding trials deliver the same good data, the results become more and more incontrovertible. “And even if pure breeding indices put more emphasis on the traits that those who are cross breeding are looking for, the undeniable benefit of heterosis, or hybrid vigour, is only available via cross breeding.”

More durable Countries, such as the Netherlands, which began the cross-breeding journey before the UK have seen the growth in cross breeding continue as more producers see the results for themselves. “In the US, a major force in dairy breeding, it is estimated that between 8% and 10% of the national herd is crossbred – that’s close to a million cows,” says Mr Bluhm. “In developing countries it has been found that cross-bred cows are more durable and suited to their environment and management system than nondomestic pure-bred animals.”

Genomics means that young sires are becoming bull fathers, even before they have a daughter-based proof

will become routine across most herds: “Particularly as selecting sires becomes more complex – due to genomics, but also the speed of progress. It will be even more important to get it right.” He also sees vets getting more involved in sire selection. “I think they’ll take more interest in the genetics being used on their clients’ herds, since genetics play an important


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role in herd health. We know, for example, that not every cow responds to being vaccinated and some react differently to concentrate feeding compared to others. What we need to do now is find the genomic profiles to identify these animals. “All areas of herd management will become more integrated and genetics will play a key role here. Breeding will

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become more targeted as the science behind it evolves. We’ll know exactly how genetics perform in different systems and environments, and what impact they have on the environment.” He stresses that it will all have to be monitored carefully. “We’ll be moving ahead so quickly that it really will be vital to keep a check on the direction we’re going” l

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B I O - S Y S T E M S

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O V E R A L Ls

Name: Location: Herd size: Pastime:


Adrian Semmens Sennen Cove, Cornwall 210 cows RNLI volunteer

Adrian Semmens: “Launch decisions rest on our shoulders”

Manning the lifeboats text Rachael Porter


iving so close to the Cornish coast, it’s little wonder that Adrian Semmens spends some of his spare time at the beach. But he’s not one for sunbathing. His trips to the shoreline are either as a member of the HM Coastguard or as a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteer. He first got involved with the RNLI when he was six years old. His grandfather was elected chairman of the Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station committee and, when he was old enough, Adrian also became involved with the station. He too was elected to the committee some 14 years ago. Today, as well as being a member of HM Coastguard for the nearly 40 years, Adrian is now the chairman of the lifeboat station – one of 234 around the UK and the Republic of Ireland – and he’s also one of the deputy launching authorities (DLAs). The DLA acts as a deputy to the lifeboat operations manager when they are on leave and is, therefore, responsible for managing all operational activities at the lifeboat station, authorising the launch of a lifeboat and the day-to-day management of the station. “The operations manager – and the DLAs – decide if a boat should launch, or not, when we receive a launch request by pager,” explains Adrian. “We’re there to ‘protect’ the station’s coxswain or his deputies. The decision to launch, and any consequences of that, rest on our shoulders and not theirs,” explains Adrian. Much depends on the weather but in 99 out of 100 cases a boat is launched. That decision is made in 10 to 15 seconds. “We’ve always got an eye on the sea, the weather and the forecast. We make the weather our business so we always have a ‘heads up’ if we get a shout.” Although Adrian does not go out to sea himself, he is a crucial member of the on-shore team. His daughter Emma, who works alongside Adrian at the family dairy unit, is also a member of HM Coastguard and a DLA at the station. Adrian enjoys the responsibility of both his RNLI and Coastguard roles. “It’s great to be part of such a fantastic organisation and to be working at the ‘sharp’ end. I get a lot of satisfaction from what I do. “To be involved in a rescue is a really good feeling. What’s a disturbed night’s sleep if you’ve played a major part in rescuing someone?” If you’d like to know more about the RNLI, or are interested in volunteering, then visit

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A ward s

r o u nd


A round up of the award winners at this year’s Livestock Event

Winners’ enclosure We showcase the cream of the British dairy industry crop who were recognised for their hard work, dedication, talent and innovation during July’s two-day event. Read one to find out more about, among others, this year’s NMR/RABDF Gold Cup winner and the Prince Philip Award text Rachael Porter

Shropshire family’s golden reward The Higgins family from Wilderley Hall, in Pulverbatch near Shrewsbury, has been crowned this year’s winner of the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup. A family business in every sense of the word, brothers Andrew and Bill, supported by parents Bill and Margaret, manage the 316 cows and 266 followers that make up the pedigree Holstein Wilderley herd. The family has increased cow numbers and performance on its 145-hectare unit during the past 15 years through breeding top quality replacements. Cows have been bred consistently for production with good functional type. The family’s aim remains to breed a uniform herd of top cows. Calving is year round with a calving interval for the qualifying year of 433 days and milk is sold via Muller/Wiseman to Tesco. The level production pattern suits the business’ management and milk buyer. In the year to September 2012, this three-times-a-day milked herd achieved

12,718kg of milk at 3.81% fat and 3.03% protein. Average cell count was 68,000cells/ml. A team of three full-time staff and five part-time milkers are part of the Wilderley Hall team. They are an asset that the family fully appreciate and admit that the high level of stockmanship shown by the team is integral to the success of the herd. Presenting the award at the Livestock Event, RABDF chairman and chairman of the Gold Cup judges Ian Macalpine described this herd as a shining example of attention to detail right through the dairy business. “Every aspect, from calf rearing through to the milking herd’s routines, is managed with great care and to an exceptional standard. This herd is well bred and well cared for and, as a result, it is performing to a very high level, which is reflected in its production data and its overall lifetime daily yield.”

Bill Higgins (centre) with sons Bill (left) and Andrew (right), and RABDF president David Leaver (far left) and NMR chairman Philip Kirkham (far right)


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Silver celebrations for Lancashire herd

Breed society awards

Ayrshire Cattle Society president Colin Christophers (left) and John Adamson

Also presented at the Livestock Event was the Lilyhill Cup for the top Jersey herd and the Murchland Cup for the top Ayrshire herd among this year’s 500 Gold Cup qualifying herds. Winner of the Lilyhill Cup, awarded by the Jersey Cattle Society, is Swangrove Farms from Badminton, Gloucestershire. This 107cow herd achieved a yield of 6,486kg of milk at 5.23% of fat and 3.72% protein with a cell count of 153,000 cells/ml. The Murchland Perpetual Trophy, awarded by the Ayrshire Cattle Society, went to John Adamson & Son from Pettinain, Lanarkshire. Their 157-cow herd saw an average yield of 8,254kg of milk at 4.33% fat and 3.31% protein. The 2013 NMR Silver Salver winners are James and David Tomlinson

Runner up and recipients of the NMR Silver Salver were David, Sheila and James Tomlinson. Together they manage the 230-cow Bilsrow Holstein herd from Bilsborrow in Preston, Lancashire. Responsibilities are shared on this 154-hectare unit. James Tomlinson takes care of milking, fertility and health with the help of assistant herdsman James Billington. His father David – with part time help from Russell Thompson– looks after the land work and feeding. Breeding decisions are based on a

balance of type and production and have always underpinned the progress and success of this herd, which achieved an average yield of 10,538kg of milk at 4.41% fat and 3.14% protein on twice-aday milking with an average cell count of 118,000cells/ml for the year ending September 2012. Milk is sold to local cheese makers Dewlay at Garstang. With cow numbers now at 230 and 210 youngstock and more land recently acquired the Tomlinsons are set for expansion.

From left to right: President of the Jersey Cattle Society Tom Bradley, NMR milk recorder Myra Chappell, NMR field business manager Jane McGill, and RABDF president David Leaver

Highest LDY herd Winner of the Chris May Memorial Award, given to the Gold Cup qualifying herd with the highest average lifetime daily yield (LDY), was Nick Cobb from Dorchester, Dorset. His 731-cow herd achieved an average LDY of 19.47kg/day for the year ending September 2012 and has a calving interval of 383 days. Alan Cobb (second from right) with herdsman Paul Crocker, RABDF president David Leaver (far left) and NMR chairman Philip Kirkham (far right)

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A war d s

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u p

By Royal appointment The 2013 Prince Philip Award has been presented to Milkrite in recognition of the company’s continued research, development and innovation and the introduction of the IP20-AIR milking machine liner, all of which aim to bring health and productivity benefits to dairy cattle. Widely recognised around the world for its innovative approach to milking machine and liner design, Milkrite’s IP20AIR has been designed with high yielding herds in mind. It features a narrow bore which helps reduce liner slip, increase milking speed and helps deliver a more gentle ACR removal. Combined, these lead to less ringing on the teats, a lower

Company success: the Milkrite team is presented with the 2013 Prince Philip Award

incidence of hyperkeratosis and, as a result, a reduction in mastitis and improvement in somatic cell counts. The Prince Philip Award is presented for the most practical, relevant and bestpresented technical demonstration or

exhibit at the Livestock Event. The award commemorates the Duke’s Presidency of the RABDF from 1973 to 1975 and is presented annually at the Livestock Event. Winners receive their award at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Recognition for top health management students Charlotte Torrance, an FdSc Agriculture student at Plumpton College, and Gregory Steele, a student studying at Cambridge University Veterinary School, have each received the RABDF Farm Health Management Award, sponsored by Volac. This is an awareness raising initiative for younger members of the industry and the two winners were each awarded a £500 cash prize during a presentation at the Livestock Event. A certificate was presented to the two other finalists short-listed for the award: Victoria Kirby, an Extended Diploma in Agriculture student at Myerscough College, and David McFarland, who is studying at Glasgow Vet School. The annual award, which was open to agriculture and veterinary students, required them to write a 1,500-word essay on proactive farm health management and the benefits it brings to animal

RABDF president David Leaver (left) with Volac’s David Neville (far right) with David McFarland, Victoria Kirby, Charlotte Torrance and Paul Wood (on behalf of Gregory Steele)

health and welfare and farm business profitability. They were asked to demonstrate an understanding of the environmental effects of disease and its likely impact on meat and milk quality, comment on the overall progress of the national health planning and

management initiative and discuss the differences among the various livestock sectors and how one can learn from another. The essays were judged by the RABDF’s Derrick Davies, vet Andrew Praill, and consultant John Sumner.

Pasteuriser scoops innovation award The Milkworks Gold colostrum pasteuriser, from Lancashire-based company G Shepherd Animal Health, was presented with the RABDF Livestock Machinery and Equipment Award, which is made to the product that delivers the most economic value to the livestock sector. RABDF president David Leaver (left) with Chris and Graham Shepherd (centre) and RABDF council member Angus Wielkopolski


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The entry was a clear winner, according to RABDF council member Angus Wielkopolski, who was chairman of the three-strong judging team. “We were impressed by the simple-to-use system, which has the potential to deliver much improved calf health. The machine also incorporates defrosting and cooling settings and uses disposable bags, which maximises the hygiene for each calf while minimising the amount of labour required.”

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s i t i t s a m i l o c . E t u o e Strik ! t o h s e l g in a sin E.coli mastitis accounts for 19% of all mastitis cases in the UK1. When E.coli strikes it is usually sudden and sometimes fatal. If you want a fast-acting E.coli mastitis treatment then you need an antibiotic with a quick bactericidal effect that kills E.coli fast. This also helps: body temperature, general condition and appetite start to return to normal within hours.2 Fluids and an anti-inflammatory will also greatly assist with a fast recovery.

Equally important, is reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance developing on your farm. Single injection short-acting antibiotics (SISAAB) help you reach peak concentrations fast but also quickly leave the system reducing the chance of resistance development. This also enables shorter milk withhold periods*. Contact your vet to discuss the short-acting single injection antibiotic (SISAAB) treatment that strikes E.coli mastitis hard and fast, getting her back to milking faster.3


References: 1. Published Defra data. VIDA lab results (2011) all incidents of mastitis in cattle in Great Britain as a percentage of total mastitis diagnoses. 2. Grandemange (2012). Efficacy and safety of a single injection of marbofloxacin in the treatment of bovine acute E. coli mastitis in a European field study. Proceeding of World Buiatric Congress in Lisbon 2012. 3. Vetoquinol study 634VD581. Advice on the use of Forcyl and other antibiotic treatments should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. This advertisement is brought to you by Vetoquinol, makers of Forcyl. Forcyl速 contains marbofloxacin. Legal Category: UK: POM To be supplied only on veterinary prescription. Further information is available on request from: Vetoquinol UK Limited, Vetoquinol House, Great Slade, Buckingham Industrial Park, Buckingham, MK18 1PA. UK: Tel: 01280 814500 Fax: 01280 825460. Email: Website: *Withdrawal milk 48 hours and meat 5 days for supply for human consumption after the last Forcyl treatment. Please use medicines responsibly. For further information please visit

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Never underestimate the importance of an effective dry cow management programme

The gold standard



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The decisions made during the dry period have far reaching consequences. We spoke to a nutritionist who identifies the ‘golden rules’ of a successful dry cow programme and a producer who is dealing with on-farm issues in ‘real time’. text Allison Matthews


ith many cows close to drying off and the prospect of a buoyant milk price, it is crucial that producers take advantage of the situation and follow the first ‘golden rule’ as recommended by DSM’s ruminant manager Adrian Packington. “Producers must take the time in late lactation to assess body condition score as there is still the opportunity to do something about it. Cows should be dried-off and calve down between a body condition score of 2.5 and 3. Achieving this can prevent over conditioning in late lactation and if cows more than 200 days into lactation are monitored, consideration can then be given to grouping or feeding strategies.”

This can make them more susceptible to type II diabetes, which affects energy metabolism at calving. But these cows also suffer a much greater reduction in feed intake immediately before calving, which can continue into the fresh period. “Several strategies can be introduced to regulate energy intakes, including straw feeding. This should be chopped short – muzzle width is too long and will restrict the intake of forage. This will help to avoid the consequences of negative energy balance in early lactation,” says Mr Packington.

Prevent disorders

“Cows that consume too much energy in the four-week period after drying-off are at a greater risk of metabolic disease,” Mr Packington explains, adding that by looking at his second ‘golden rule’ and not over-feeding cows in the far-off dry period, problems can be minimised. “Even moderate diets, containing anything from between 10 to 10.6 MJ/kg dry matter, can lead to excessive intakes of energy – between 40% and 80% above what is needed. Ultimately the danger with these cows is that they will not appear to be gaining weight, but they will be depositing fat internally, resulting in elevated non esterified fat (NEFA) levels.”

By monitoring body condition, producers are on track to avoiding energy related metabolic disorders, which Mr Packington identifies as his third ‘golden rule’. But with ideal ground conditions there may be the temptation to keep dry cows out at grass. He says that this can increase the likelihood of sub-clinical milk fever. “Avoiding high intakes of potassium found in late season grazing reduces the risk of milk fever. As the ‘gateway disease’, milk fever is held responsible for the incidence of other problems such as mastitis and although the incidence of clinical milk fever is typically between 4% and 9%, up to 25% of heifers and 44% of second calvers can be affected. Avoiding sub-clinical milk fever is pivotal in ensuring these cows move through their first four weeks of lactation

Adrian Packington: “Following the ‘golden rules’ gives management a framework”

Drew McConnell: “Low condition score cows benefit from targeted feeding”

Fat levels

as successfully as possible,” he adds. Using his own ‘golden rules’, producer Drew McConnell finds he can make a difference as he prepares for calving in the third week of September. “We worked with our Thompsons’ nutritionist at drying off to verify condition scores, and then went through our usual practice of worming and fly treatment,” he says. “The first group of dry cows will be housed at the start of September, allowing us greater control of energy and mineral intakes through our out-of-parlour feeders. We keep an eye on body condition scores, as a matter of course, as we manage the herd and when the dry cows are housed we have the opportunity to correct any issues.” Mr McConnell uses a high energy blend to feed cows with a poorer score, but is careful not to overdo the richness of the diet. “We have found that those with low condition scores benefit from targeted feeding even in the final few weeks of the dry period and those in better condition benefit from having less milk at calving so we are careful not to over feed them.”

Avoid stress As the dry period continues, he dries off around 10 cows every week and ensures that each group is housed together. Disrupting social groups and stress can be just as damaging to health as poor cow comfort. This is the fourth and final ‘golden rule’ of dry cow management, according to Mr Packington. “Studies show that frequent pen moves, particularly in the two weeks before calving, should be avoided,” he says. Investment in purpose-built dry cow housing facilities will deliver long-term dividends as the environment of a dry cow should be clean, comfortable and dry with adequate trough space (80cm), lying area (11m2) and clean water. It’s vital to know the real incidence of periparturient disease in your dairy herd. This will give a snapshot of how well the dry cow management programme is working. By following ‘golden rules’ a framework is given to the dry period, which is open to each producer’s interpretation and regulated by what is feasible. But by discussing the findings with your vet and nutritionist, a team-based approach can be taken and this brings all the skills together. Or to take it even further, write down an action plan and regularly review progress. Above all, use cow-based measures objectively. l

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Award-winning columnist and Shropshire-based dairy producer Roger Evans is spending some time in his garden and notes a change in cow behaviour as temperatures soar and summer grazing runs short.

Lazy ‘Daisies’ I

t’s a beautiful sunny morning – still early – and I’m sitting in the garden with my pen and an A4 writing pad. I usually do my writing, in the kitchen, by whand. At some point I will give it to my daughter, Sally, who will type it up and send it off to where it has to go. I could email it myself – I’m not a complete dinosaur. I’ve got a laptop. I can send emails and receive them. I used to carry a Blackberry around with me in my top pocket, but I bent down one day to mend a chain on the yard scraper and you can guess where it ended up. I see people in the pub with phones that can play music and watch test cricket, but I dread the day that the old phone that I have dies and I have to move on to something a bit more sophisticated. I bought my car on eBay, but it’s such a nice car it doesn’t fit my ‘man of the people’ image, so I always end up having to explain how cheap it was. I write ‘CowManagement’ at the top of the page. That’s a good start. So I have another swig from my mug of tea. At the end of the garden is an acre or so that was at one time an orchard. We call it the patch. The cows are flopping down there as they leave the parlour. This is a new phenomenon. This is our third year of trying to get more milk from grass. It’s changed our behaviour. My son is seen with a plate meter almost as often as he is seen in the pub – which isn’t quite as often as his dad is seen in there. My son always knows how much grass he has in front of him and the cows, it’s called the ‘wedge’. In the middle of June we took 80 bales of silage out of this wedge because there was plenty of grass ahead of us. Now we are in this hot and dry weather we are feeding that grass back to the cows. But if our behaviour has changed, it’s not changed as much as that of the herd. Go back three years and they were grazed using a set stocking system and fed silage and a blend all year round. It was a lazy life. They would wander off at their leisure after milking, pick at a bit of grass, lie down for a couple of hours, hear the mixer wagon fire up and wander back to eat some silage. This was the easier option for them compared to grazing and eating grass. They can’t hear the mixer wagon fire up anymore because we’ve sold it. That’s why this morning’s sight of them lying down in the patch is a new phenomenon. I usually open the gates after milking and see them charge down the track because they know that, wherever the electric fences takes them, there will be some nice fresh grass and the more they loitered on the way down there then the less grass there will be for them when they get there. All the cows are lying in the patch now. They’ve changed their behaviour back again because they are getting three bales of that silage a day while the hot weather continues. That’s filled them up so there’s no need to rush down the track and they know there’s not much grass down there anyway, because they ate most of it last night. Cow management? Just who is managing who?


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Larcrest Chenoa (by Planet), dam of Vekis Chevrolet (by Freddie)

BULLS AT THE TOP THAT OPEN UP NEW HORIZONS In addition to top-notch production, the improvement of health, welfare and fertility traits is good for the cow and also makes an efficient lifetime production of the herd possible. CRV supplies bulls to the top of every list, that enable dairy farmers to benefit from this double advantage.


Bouw Rocky

(Shamrock x Goli)

2431 GTPI 2411 GTPI 334 GNVI

Delta Cupido

(Wonder x Paramount)

(Photos: Alex Arkink)


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Plan ahead: a timely look at forage and feed stocks will aid winter feeding decisions. Page 28 Feed efficiency: tips on getting more milk from your herd’s ration and saving money. Page 30

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Look at silage quality now to avoid winter production trouble

Take stock of forage A timely look at forage quality should give producers plenty of time to whip out their calculators and do a few cost-saving sums to ensure that this coming winter is a profitable one. text Rachael Porter


he 2013 silage season got off to a difficult start, following a late and cold spring, so KW nutritionist Mark Scott is urging milk producers to pay close attention to potential silage quality this ywear. He says that overestimating nutrient supply from forage can quickly undermine milk yields during the winter, and result in higher feed costs as well as reduced production. “Milk production suffered across the country in winter 2012/2013 as poorer than expected forage failed to provide the nutrients needed. In many cases, yields were below target for the entire winter,” he says. “The signs are already there to suggest that this year might well pose similar challenges in terms of forage quality, so it’s vital we learn the lessons from last winter and re-adjust winter feeding plans accordingly.”

More mature This year, the late spring meant a slow start to grass growth and the vast majority of the country took first-cut silage at least a couple of weeks later than normal. Although the swards being cut looked ‘normal’, Mr Scott says the likelihood was that grass was probably more mature than it appeared. “Regardless of when spring growth starts, heading dates for most grass varieties remain remarkably static,” he explains. “The grass reacts to a shortened growing season by moving to maturity quicker, with the aim of producing seed at as close to the normal time as possible. “It means that a three-week delay to the start of growth in the spring might only delay heading by a week, if that. The result is that even if silage is cut just two weeks later than normal, the



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grass is already more mature than you might expect.” And the effect tends to run on through the rest of the growing season. A shortened window for regrowth leads to further delays if producers are waiting for grass volumes to catch up, and all subsequent silage cuts are either more mature, lower in volume, or both. “The other big challenge in these situations – as we saw in winter 2012 – is that forage analysis results can sometimes ‘overestimate’ feed value,” Mr Scott adds. “Regardless of how good the grass looked going into the clamp, make sure you get silage analysed and be prepared to make adjustments once you start feeding it out.”

Silage analysis Kite Consulting nutritionist Tim Davies agrees that reduced quality may be an issue on some units and he’s urging producers to test their silage now. “Some producers did delay taking first cut because yields were looking low. And this may have compromised quality. So best to get in and check this now – rather than later.” He says that silage can be tested just a week after being ensiled. “You’ll get a good indication of what you have in the clamp and, when you know what you have, you can start to plan for any short falls.” Typically he’s seeing silages analysing at around 10.2ME with a D value of 66. “Some are worse, so quality is an issue this year. That said, some of my clients have taken an excellent quality first cut, but then their volumes may be down a little. Some are reporting being 10% down on quantity, which is a worry as silage stocks are already low on many units.” The key to minimising the potential impact of low stocks or poorer quality is to adapt winter feeding strategies early. If


a large amount of poor quality silage is made nationally, additional feed secured now may cost much less than if bought once winter arrives, clamps are opened and demand increases, according to Mr Scott. “In just about all cases this year, forward contract prices are lower than current spot prices, and often lower even than last winter’s prices,” he continues. “But we’re also in a situation where some of the best value feeds may sell out fast, so quick action is important. “If the price is right, don’t be afraid to book forward contracts right through to May 2014 to cover requirements until after spring turnout.” More mature forages will need additional fermentable energy to help drive the rumen this winter, with sugars from molasses-based liquid feeds and starch from rolled wheat or biscuit meals among the best value options currently available. Liquid feeds will also help to lift feed intakes, which was a critical factor in maintaining yields last winter. “Consider the distillery syrups like Spey Syrup to supply any extra rumen degradable protein that might be missing, and use cost-effective rumen-bypass protein supplements to minimise the need for expensive soya bean meal when fine tuning protein supply.

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There’s an app for that! Producers looking to make the most of a good maize growing season will be using the latest technology to determine the best harvest date for their crops and ensure that this year’s maize silage ticks all the boxes in terms of quality, as well as yield. So Limagrain, in partnership with CowManagement, has developed and launched an app to help producers assess their maize crop and calculate an optimal harvest date, while in the field, in around five minutes. The free app is available to download for iPhone and Android smartphone users. The app takes into consideration the current dry matter of the whole plant, as well as the starch maturity of cob, in conjunction with the weather forecast to calculate an estimated optimal harvest date. Limagrain’s Tim Richmond explains

that because 50% of a maize crop’s potential, in terms of both yield and energy, is achieved only as the crop reaches maturity during the final few weeks before harvest, it is vital to harvest at the correct date to avoid missing out. “Some producers feel under pressure from contractors, who want to harvest a crop when it suits them and not necessarily at a time that will maximise energy and dry matter yield. “This app gives some of that control back to the producer, as well as advance warning of the ideal harvest time. “We want growers to get the best results from their crop. Growing maize requires a considerable amount of investment and this ensures that harvest isn’t rushed or delayed and that producers can maximise their return on their considerable effort,” he says.

“Focus on balancing metabolisable protein supply, not just crude protein, and aim to make the high yielders and early lactation cows a priority when it comes to the best quality forage.”

take of what you have in the clamp after adjusting for the higher dry matter – first cuts appear to be much drier at 34% – and keep an eye on the feed markets.” He says that maize crops are looking good. “So that should bolster supplies of good quality forage on many units. And feed prices have eased, with cereals at between £150 and £160 per tonne and still falling. Wheat is coming off the combine at around £155 at the moment, and could fall to £150 per tonne by

Don’t panic Mr Davies is up beat about the coming winter and his advice to producers is to hold back on forward buying on some feeds. “There’s certainly no need to panic. Just make sure you do a thorough stock


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November.” He adds that feed prices should ease from October onwards on the back of huge global crops of maize grain, wheat, soya, and rape seed from Russia, the US and Europe. “There will be a time lag, but they will come down on the back of good World harvests, and this will then have a knock on effect on things such as beet pulp, distillers’ grains and co products. So watch the markets and wait for prices to ease before booking too far forward.” l


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Maximising feed efficiency is crucial this winter

Cost benefits and healthier cows Whether it’s fine tuning rations, grouping cows or feeding individuals to yield, feed efficiency are the buzz words as we look to what we hope will be a more productive and profitable winter compared to 2012. Here is some food for thought to mull over as autumn approaches.

lowering the efficiency of fibre digestion. “Similarly, high levels of by-pass protein are often believed to be essential, but this is only when rumen microbial protein output has been maximised. Optimise rumen performance first,” he stresses. The quality and consistency of feed mixing and presentation is also important to prevent sorting and enhance feed efficiency. “Although great effort may be put in to ration formulation, unless managed correctly at feed out you may not get the performance you set out to achieve,” says Dr Hawkey. He believes that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a useful tool to Feed out: following best practice is vital to maximise ration and herd performance

text Rachael Porter


hether it’s home-grown or purchased feed, maximising feed efficiency this winter will be crucial, according to Mole Valley Feed Solutions nutritionist Robin Hawkey. “There are many benefits to be had from improving feed conversion efficiency. Less feed and/or more milk will, of course, provide cost benefits. But there are often significant benefits to be had from an improved forage/concentrate ratio, which will result in healthier cows and better milk quality,” he says. “Improved forage utilisation is also important where stocks may be limited.” Recent costings (see Table 1) demonstrate the significant variation in feed efficiency on dairy units, with many producers missing out on significant cost savings. “But in order to achieve maximum efficiency, planning is crucial,” says Dr Hawkey. “Two key factors must be considered. Firstly, home-grown feeds must be assessed for quality and quantity to

Table 1: Variation in feed efficiency

top bottom 25% average 25% yield (kg) 7,469 milk from forage (kg) 3,143 feed rate (kg/l) 0.26 feed cost/litre 6.91

7,672 2,133 0.32 8.85

8,129 720 0.37 10.66

(Source: Kingshay Annual Dairy Costings Focus Report to March 2013)



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Robin Hawkey: “How you measure feed efficiency must be clearly defined”

plan ration formulation and supply. And, secondly, how you measure feed efficiency must be clearly defined.” Depending on farm objectives this could be feed rate per litre, or milk from home grown forage, or litres milk per kg dry matter intake.

Rumen health Dr Hawkey also cites rumen health as the linchpin to feed efficiency and, to promote healthy function, balancing forages according to their nutritional content is vital. “The careful choice of purchased feeds so as to compliment home-grown feeds and promote ration balance will maximise efficiency,” he explains. “This will help target rumen health and efficiency.” He emphasises the importance of looking at the ration as a whole and balancing accordingly. “For example, a cereal-based product might be recommended to promote milk protein, but if the silage has a high lactic acid content, acidosis may occur,


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monitor how the ration is actually working and indicates the efficiency of feed utilisation. Some helpful KPIs include: • Direct measurement of feed utilisation, such as feed rate per litre or milk from home grown forages • Cow factors, such as rumen fill, cudding, dung consistency • Feed factors, including intakes, assessment of TMR mixes using a/ the?? Penn State Particle Separator • Milk output and quality, including milk urea values. “But without interpretation and subsequent management changes, monitoring is worthless,” he adds. l

Protect profitability by feeding to yield When cake is fed to cows in parlours without milk metering devices there is always a degree of over or under feeding. One solution, which will help to ensure that cows are only fed to yield, is to fit milk yield indicators. These measure the milk yield of each cow at each milking point and instruct – via associated software – the in-parlour feeders to automatically dispense the appropriate quantity of concentrate. Greenoak milk yield indicators were recently launched to the market by Shropshire-based company Dairy Spares and it says, for an even better level of feeding accuracy, that parlours can also be retro-fitted with Greenoak in-parlour feeders, which measure feed rations out to within 100g of the requirement.

Cost savings “This tailored feeding approach will save on feed costs and prevent cows becoming over-conditioned when milk yields are not as high as perceived,” says the company’s Simon Marsh. “Conversely, cows which are giving more milk than expected can receive the nutritional support they require to ensure production potential is achieved and avoid the problems that can be the result of a low energy status, such as ketosis and poor fertility.” The milk yield indicator is operated via the Greenoak Parlour Server – a process management software system. Once installed on the farm’s computer, the parlour server processes the data it receives from the in-parlour meter manager sited by each milking unit. Milk yield indicators are installed between the cluster and milk line for each milking point and they provide an accurate volumetric measurement of milk yield for each cow. The accuracy is within 5% of the total in the bulk tank. This information is recorded by the ‘meter manager’. As each cow comes into a stall, her ID is entered into the meter manager in the parlour. Auto ID can be an optional extra. This information is relayed to the parlour server, which calculates the amount of concentrates to feed based on her yield at the last milking and her stage of lactation. The ration is displayed on the meter manager control box, and the feed is dispensed to the cow. Cheshire-based producer Richard Hill installed milk yield indicators in his parlour three years ago. This has proved


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beneficial. Cows in his 75-head herd currently averaging around 7,000 litres and are fed exactly what they require and this has saved on feed costs. “I did have a few milk meters prior to these being installed, but they didn’t work very well,” says Richard. “We had some cows that were estimated to be giving a much lower yield than they actually were. So installing the meters means that I can ensure that they receive enough feed – but not too much – to support milk production,” he adds. “It eliminates the guess work.”

Targeted feeding Retro fitting the meters was easy to do and so far so good – they’re proving robust and reliable. And at a cost of £600 per stall for the cost for the meter manager control box and milk yield indicator (non-ICAR approved), Richard says the system is paying for itself. “We’re saving on feed costs. I’ve shaved 25% of my concentrate bill and the cake that we are feeding is being fed in a targeted way.” Richard is also benefiting from the ability to programme in alerts, via the parlour server software, to flag up cows that need special attention or if milk is to be dumped due to antibiotic treatments. “The alert is raised via a flashing light on the meter manager and needs a manual override before the cluster will operate and milking can continue. The system is helping with wider herd management and not just precision feeding.”


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Are you concerned about the impact of changing weather patterns on forage supply? Want to find out more about alternative forages? Do you want to increase production from multi-forage systems?


3 Forage ConferenCe

12th September 2013 Easterbrook Hall, The Crichton, Bankend Rd, Dumfries, DG1 4TA

The UK’s third national forage conference draws together outstanding speakers from the UK and overseas to present the latest thinking on maximising production from forages in the face of changing weather patterns. Conference fee: Farmers £10 (incl VAT), all others £100 (incl VAT). To register call 029 2047 5570, or visit Prepaid attendance only, so book Supported by your place NOW as there are limited places available. Attendance qualifies for Dairy Pro CPD points. part of

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Maize Manager Your mobile maize harvest planner • The first app available to help growers determine their optimum harvest date • Handy and easy to use in the field • Provides harvest alerts • Free to download for Apple and Android users

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Super foundations for modern herds from a variety of pedigrees The August index run highlights the wide selection of bulls available from CRV for building healthy, easy-tomanage herds with high lifetime production. These bulls are ready to lay a strong genetic foundation for modern dairy herds. Delta Atlantic (Ramos x O Man, £187 PLI) is, internationally, the highest daughter-tested bull in the Netherlands and currently the country’s most popular bull. Atlantic is a top sire for health, fertility and longevity. He improved in those areas to 106 udder health, 105 fertility and 108 hoof health, with a sky high score of +720 days for longevity. The type score of Atlantic also increased to 114 points, with 111 frame, 116 dairy strength, 108 udder and 111 legs. Easy-calving Atlantic will add strength and capacity and provide trouble-free cows and is available from Avoncroft as both conventional and sexed semen.

Daughter-tested bull Camion van de Peul (Fender x Goldwyn, £156 PLI) breaks through in this index run as the highest daughter-tested redand-white bull ever in the Netherlands. Combined with an extreme score for longevity (+708 days), very easy calving 109 and –24 SCC, he is a bull not to be missed. Before this first daughter proof, Camion was the most ‘in demand’ genomic (InSire) red-and-white CRV bull. His daughters now clearly show that producers who used him made an excellent choice. Coming from the Atlantic daughter Ria 745

Red-and-white sire Fidelity shines

Camion van de Peul

famous Massia cow family, Camion delivers daughters with good type (110 final score) and good feet and legs (112). They also have healthy udders (106) and hooves (104). Camion is available from Avoncroft as both conventional and sexed semen.

Fidelity daughter Sandra 3

Second-crop quality Topspeed Kodak (Kevin x Stadel, £140) received his first figures from secondcrop daughters in this index run. They maintain this extremely popular bull’s performance, with a high score for longevity (+622 days). Kodak delivers easy-to-manage and healthy cows that produce milk and stay in the herd for a long time, thanks to their healthy hooves (104) and healthy udders (104). Kodak is available from Avoncroft as both conventional and sexed semen. Delta Paramount (Jocko x Fatal, £122 PLI) Mirjam 51 has produced 100,237kg of milk in 2,548 days, with 3.83% fat and 3.22% protein. She is the first Delta Paramount daughter to produce 100 tonnes of milk in her lifetime. With more than a million semen doses

sold worldwide, Paramount has a rock solid proof as an exceptional milk transmitter with superb udders and one of the best for feet and legs. He is available from Avoncroft as both conventional and sexed semen. For information on these and other CRV bulls call Avoncroft, for free, on 0800 7831880.

Paramount daughter Mirjam 51


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The red star Delta Fidelity (Kian x Lightning) now has more than 13,000 daughters in his secondcrop proof. This increases his PLI by £28 to £171 and confirms his ability to transmit high milk fatand-protein production, as well as his status as a breed leader for feet and legs (116).


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It’s simple – producers can follow four steps towards successful BVD eradication

Cattle industry campaign to eliminate BVD All cattle producers should be working towards BVD eradication. Scotland and Ireland are some way along this route. The rest of Britain needs to follow. Although more than routine vaccination is required, the blueprint involves just four simple steps. text Karen Wright


BVD eradication plan for England has been made a priority by the Animal Health and Welfare Group. Supported by Defra and the EU’s Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), a stakeholder group, with representatives from across the industry, has developed its blueprint on Animal Health Ireland’s four key steps

Herds should work towards BVD eradication

BVD monitoring NML is one of the partners in the national BVD eradication stakeholder group. It offers comprehensive monitoring tests for beef and dairy herds:


• Tag and Test – calves are tagged soon after birth and a tissue sample is tested for BVD antigen • Blood tests – for dairy and beef cattle • Bulk milk tests – ad-hoc or routine test using PCR, which will detect the virus


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in the herd. Antibody monitoring on bulk milk samples is also available. • Individual milk sample tests – antibody tests on ad-hoc samples or samples collected for routine milk recording. For more details see

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BVD is a simple disease to eradicate Eliminating BVD from the 150-cow mainly Holstein dairy herd has improved overall cow and youngstock health, according to Ross-on-Wye-based producer Robert Davies. “Due to TB losses we bought in some stock 13 years ago and, despite taking great care, we also bought in disease problems,” says Robert. About four years ago pneumonia among the calves was a real problem despite routine vaccination. “Our vets, Chaseview, with the help of the Zoetis vet suggested we tested for BVD. We had been vaccinating for BVD, but we couldn’t be 100% sure we hadn’t got a PI animal in the herd.” During the next 12 months all youngstock, newborn calves and cows were blood tested and results showed up two PI cows and a PI calf. “We got rid of these and any offspring – it’s important

towards eradication. The first step is informing the industry, starting with a ‘BVD-free’ mailer recently sent to all producers and detailing the campaign actions and goals. Also under this ‘BVDfree’ banner and running alongside the group’s work is a campaign co-ordinated by XL Vets that is training vets and advisers on BVD eradication. Already 84 practices and more than 450 producers have committed to the recommended BVD control plan through this work. “While we are currently lagging behind Scotland and Ireland in our BVD eradication plans, we are gaining momentum in England,” says industry BVD group secretary and DairyCo vet Elizabeth Berry. “Our purpose is to get all producers to appreciate the threat of BVD entering their herds and the risk of having a BVD carrier. No amount of vaccination will alter the status of these animals. We’re not saying that there isn’t a place for vaccination, but there’s more to eradication than this in many cases.”

Four steps So what are the four steps to BVD eradication? “The first is planning,” explains Dr Berry. “Talk to your vet about BVD control. Too many producers think they have the disease under control with once a year vaccination. But if there’s a carrier – a persistently infected (PI) animal – in the herd then they will never achieve eradication.”

that you have good records to identify these animals. For us it meant culling six animals, which was hard when we were trying to build up cow numbers, but it had to be done. We continued to vaccinate and we now monitor the herd. We’re starting quarterly bulk milk testing so we can monitor BVD antibody trends and we can then act quickly if there are any deviations.” The herd has been BVD free for the past two years. Robert is seeing health benefits. “We now have very few, if any, cases of pneumonia. I am sure that the herd’s immunity is much better and the stock is able to cope better with any disease challenges. “Also, I believe that if it’s possible to control an endemic disease then we should be doing so as a matter of good practise. While diseases like TB are

Elizabeth Berry: “More to BVD eradication than vaccination”

Step two is ‘investigating’. “It sounds so obvious, but producers need to be 100% confident in the herd’s BVD status. If you’ve bought in cattle and didn’t know their status then you can’t be 100% sure you don’t have a BVD carrier animal that is busy passing on the virus to herd mates or new-born calves. And even if the herd is truly closed risks still exist, say from contact with infected animals at shows or with neighbouring cattle. Step three is controlling the disease. “If the herd is BVD-free then discuss how best to keep it this way. Herds that are not BVD free need to identify and cull PI animals – these animals cannot be cured and no amount of vaccination will alter their BVD status.” The sooner a BVD animal is identified the better, which is why the Tag and Test service, that tests a tissue sample when a young calf is tagged, is so successful.

Chaseview vet Nigel Misselbrook (left) and Robert Davies: “BVD is easy to eradicate”

very frustrating, BVD isn’t. It’s easy to eradicate and results are quick to appear.”

Within a few days a PI calf can be identified. Following vet advice, vaccination may be part of the control programme. Step four is monitoring. “This is vital,” adds Dr Berry. “Herds should be screened at least annually as disease status can change even if the herd is theoretically closed. A bulk milk test is cost-effective here, but it is important to also screen young stock at about nine months old using a blood test before introducing them to rest of the herd.” The BVD stakeholder group has set targets. “We aim to interact – through activities like training and workshops – with 4,500 producers and interested industry parties during the next 12 months. We’d like to see at least 10% of England’s dairy and beef producers commit to a BVD eradication plan by the end of March 2014.” l

Plan – investigate – control – monitor Websites for information: – website developed by the BVD stakeholder group – information on training and workshops from Raft Solutions – technical information on BVD


CM06-NMR feature.indd 37


20-08-13 13:53













Caption competition captured your imaginations








Calf jacket winners! CowManagement readers demonstrated their creative – and humorous – flare at this year’s Livetsock Event. text Rachael Porter

Coveted prize: a Cosy Calf jacket


o many of you took the time to demonstrate your caption writing skills – and comedy talents – that it took the CowManagement team, with help from lead judge Roger Evans, several days to wade through the entries we collected on our stand at the Livestock Event. Thanks so much to everyone

who took the time to enter and visit us during the two-day show. After much deliberation, we whittled the hundreds of entries down to just 24 (see full list below) who should all now have received their prize – a Cosy Calf jacket. We also gave a calf jacket to producers

Top caption

John and Jane Hanks, from Cowbridge in South Glamorgan, to say thank you for supplying us with the photograph on which the competition was based. Roger selected his overall winning entry, which was from L Faulkner, from Banbury in Oxfordshire. Congratulations to all our winners!

More winning entries

tition and you could pe m co n io pt ca r ou r Ente jackets! win one of 25 calf

Andy Farrow Farmer: You’re famous! Scarecrow: That’s not me, that’s Roger Evans! Pippa White Farmer: Is it me, or is this conversation a little one sided. . . ? Scarecrow: ….

cause That’s be ’r u yo e a farmer

tter You’re be an th d e s dres I am...



...................... ............................................












............ .................................





















rgan talks to his John Hanks of South Glamo Jane Hanks) scarecrow (supplied by

04-04-13 09:25

Laura Nicholson Farmer: Have you seen the price of straw!? Scarecrow: You’re not weighing me in! Zara Beer Scarecrow: Do you think we could afford that? Farmer: Let’s ask the wife!


d Winningm.ind words: L Faulkner, from Banbury in Oxfordshire

lezersactie 100x150m

Competition winners Keith Hughes from Atherstone, Warwickshire. M Nicholson from Ripon, North Yorkshire P Norris from Hornby, Lancashire Jemma Long from Mitchel Troy, Monmouth Stephen Bruce from Magherafelt, County Londonderry T Williams from Newton St Margarets, Hereford Rosie Chandler from Coppenhall, Stafford Kathryn Joules from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire Jim Franklin from Newport, Shropshire John Lougher from Pyle, Bridgend Zara Beer from Dover, Kent Angela Rhodes from Southam, Warwickshire



CM06_CaptionCompetition.indd 38

Juan Hargraves from Port Erin, Isle of Man Andy Farrow from Shrewsbury, Shropshire Laura Nicholas from Tattenhall, Cheshire Pippa White from Taunton, Somerset E J Gilman from Congleton, Cheshire James Gould from Garvagh, County Londonderry Sheila Tomlinson from Preston, Lancashire M T Lingard from Worksop, Nottinghamshire L Faulkner from Banbury, Oxfordshire K Henstock from Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire Z Hinds from Ashbourne, Derbyshire Anna Zakharova from Welshpool, Powys

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INTO TOMORROW TOGETHER Progressive dairy farmer, Emma Martin, heard the science behind our pioneering Immunity+™ solution at the 2013 Semex Dairy Conference. Soon after she discussed with Semex’s genetic consultant Andrew Axford a strategy to use Immunity+ disease resistant sires.

Emma bought the logic, then bought the straws. R-E-W Seaver, Pellerat DVD and Misty Springs Supersonic are now influencing the health of her 1000-strong herd in Bodmin, Cornwall. Exclusive to Semex, Immunity+ sires reduce diseases like mastitis, metritis, ketosis (indirectly), retained placenta and Johne’s.

Winner of the 2011 South West Herdsperson of the Year award, Emma comments;

”Using Immunity+ can benefit the herd in many ways … reducing costs, cows are healthier, perform better, vet bills are lower and at the end of the day we have easier cows to manage.” Why not build a relationship for life using genetics for life? Call Semex on 0800 86 88 90 for further facts.

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CM06_p39.indd 39

21-08-13 13:56

Confirming Johne’s status in your herd should be this easy! NMR’s Herdwise Screening program has been set up to provide you and your vet with a risk-based tool to control the spread of Johne’s disease on the farm. For more information on NMR’s disease testing services call

NMR customer services 08447 255567 See us at Livestock 2013 stand BM161 3-4th July NEC

information partnerships

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27/6/11 12:16:22 14-06-13 15:17 09:27 21-08-13

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21-08-13 14:50


All eyes were on CRV’s eight progeny groups at Cow Expo

Cows wow Dutch crowd With packed stands and dense rows of spectators lining the show ring, there was a lively interest in the eight progeny groups


during the recent CRV Cow Expo. Here’s a taste of some of the ladies who took a turn in the limelight. text Alice Booij, Inge van Drie

ricket and Fidelity’s breeding bull groups naturally stirred the audience’s imagination. The young bulls, offering a wide range of lineage and specific qualities, ensure that every breeder can make the right choices to suit the breeding goals of their herd. Lowland Redman (Fiction x Topspeed Gogo) kicked off the Expo, showing a group of heifers with great quality udders. This Fiction son, from a Gogo dam, is free from Kian, Stadel and Lightning bloodlines and impresses with both prowduction and protein content by showing cows that are able to produce efficiently. Maiden-heifer sire Redman is also great for use on black and white herds.

Strong frames Newhouse Banker’s (Goldwyn x Mascol) heifers are self-sufficient cows with characteristics that maiden-heifer sire Banker inherited from the strongly scoring Sneeker cow family and his sire Goldwyn. This well-known cow family

Delta Atlantic (Ramos x O Man)

Classic daughters dominated individual classes With around 6,000 visitors – a record breaking number – the CRV Cow Expo attracted a lot of attention. The presentation of the progeny groups was just one part of the programme. Visitors also took a great interest in the high quality individual show classes. The famous red-and-white bull Poos Stadel Classic was one of the main suppliers of cows for this section and no fewer than 13 Classic daughters made their entrance into the show ring, many of them placing in the top rankings. One of these was the impressive blackand-white Zuid-Ooster Harmke 310 of the Dolstra family from Oosterstreek. She easily won her class with a total lifetime production of more than 50,000kg milk, a newly introduced class at the CRV Cow Expo. In total 24 cows took part in this new part of the programme. In the red-and-white classes, Willy 377

attracted a lot of attention. The sixyear-old Classic daughter, owned by Bennie Kampkuiper from Almelo, almost scooped the senior championship.

In the end she won the reserve title, behind Beautiful daughter Roza 85, owned by Jan and Koen Bolscher from Bornerbroek.

Classic daughter Willy 377 took the reserve title in the senior championship


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CM06-Avoncroft cow-expo.indd 42

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also delivered bulls such as Newhouse Gofast, Newhouse Sneeky and Newhouse Ricky. The Banker daughters have strong frames, great dairy strength, excellent udders and good quality legs. The udders are firmly attached and shallow. The red-and-white bull HJR Windstar (Spencer x O Man) is a true health specialist. Windstar daughters are strongly built and rangy heifers with good frame width and fine rumps. HJR Windstar is a bull for robust cows with high health and good lifetime production. This Spencer son, from the exceptionally well bred Jaantjes, also improves milk protein content. Delta Astro (Goldwyn x O Man) was the first Etazon Renate son to appear in the ring. He sires progeny with top-class conformation with big, strong and wide daughters scoring amply on condition. But above all, the Astros are healthy and have good production with outstanding constituents. The group of Delta Atlantic (Ramos x O  Man), Renate’s second son, were eagerly anticipated by the crowd and they fully lived up to expectations. The highest daughter tested NVI bull produces no-nonsense, reliable cows that quite simply combine good qualities and show very strong and healthy production. True ‘cash cows’ in every sense for their owners. All-rounder Cherokee van de Peul (Fender x Goldwyn) stands out with a high protein inheritance. With a dam producing milk with more than 4% protein, the apple does not fall very far from the tree here either. But this Fender son, from the Massia family, also transmits health and longevity. Cherokee produces strong cows with great udders and legs, guaranteeing high lifetime production.

Newhouse Banker (Goldwyn x Mascol)

HJR Windstar (Spencer x O Man)

Delta Fidelity (Kian x Lightning)

Excellent legs The final two groups to appear in the ring were those of Ralma O-Man Cricket (O Man x Durham) and Delta Fidelity (Kian x Lightning) – both breeding bull daughters. With such a large selection to choose from, the groups were consequently impressively uniform. As many as nine Fidelity animals could be admired. His daughters are tough and strong and have really excellent legs. The trouble-free Cricket daughters give some more height and style and they also showed fine udders. Producers will definitely put Cricket and Fidelity on their insemination lists again after their convincing show-ring performance. l

Ralma O-Man Cricket (O Man x Durham) Delta Astro (Goldwyn x O Man)

c o w m a n a g ec m o ewnmt a anua gg ue smte/ ns te p steepmt be emrb e2 r0 1230 0 9

CM06-Avoncroft cow-expo.indd 43


22-08-13 09:14

Ketosis: a costly secret Kexxtone: a novel solution ®

You can’t see hidden ketosis. But it’s there. Recent studies show it can affect around 30% of cows,1 even in well-managed herds. Now there’s a new solution to help farmers manage this hidden threat. Kexxtone is an innovative prescription-only veterinary medicine proven to reduce the incidence of ketosis. Kexxtone: 2 • Reduces ketosis* by 74% • A single bolus — easy to administer Advice should be sought from a Veterinarian prior to use.

*Ketosis: > 1000 μmol/l blood beta-hydroxybutyrate

Kexxtone 32.4g continuous-release intraruminal device for cattle. Monensin. Kexxtone 32.4g continuous-release intraruminal device for cattle contains Monensin 32.4g (equivalent to 35.2g monensin sodium). Each intraruminal device contains:12 subunits each containing 2.7g monensin (equivalent to 2.9g monensin sodium). Polypropylene* orifice cap. Polypropylene* plunger. Polypropylene* barrel and wing. Steel spring.*The polypropylene components are coloured with sunset yellow E110. Amounts to be administered and administration route: Intraruminal use. A single intraruminal device is to be administered to a dairy cow/heifer 3-4 weeks prior to expected calving, using an appropriate administration tool. Kexxtone delivers an approximate average dose of 335mg of monensin per day for approximately 95 days. Target species: Cattle (dairy cows and heifers). Indications for use: For the reduction in the incidence of ketosis in the peri-parturient dairy cow/heifer which is expected to develop ketosis. Contraindications: Do not use in animals weighing less than 300 kg bodyweight. Special warnings for each target species: Identification of animals for treatment should be at veterinary discretion. Risk factors may include a history of energy-deficiency-related diseases, high body condition score and parity. In the event of early regurgitation, identify the animal by matching the animal ID number with the number on the intraruminal device and re-administer an undamaged intraruminal device. Special precautions for use in animals: Hold treated cattle in a confined area for 1 hour after administration to observe for failure to swallow or regurgitation. If this occurs re-administer the intraruminal device if undamaged. If damaged, administer a new intraruminal device. Recheck cattle for up to 4 days after dosing to observe for signs of an intraruminal device lodging in the oesophagus. Signs of lodging may include bloat which may be followed by coughing, drooling, inappertence and unthriftiness. Special precautions to be taken by the person administering the veterinary medicinal product to animals: Exposure to the active substance may elicit an allergic response in susceptible individuals. People with known hypersensitivity to monensin or any of the excipients should avoid contact with the veterinary medicinal product. Do not eat, drink or smoke when handling the veterinary medicinal product. Use gloves when handling an intraruminal device, including during retrieval of a regurgitated intraruminal device. Remove gloves and wash hands and exposed skin after handling intraruminal devices.

Other precautions: Do not allow dogs, horses, other equines or guinea fowl access to formulations containing monensin. Consumption of intraruminal device contents can be fatal in these species. Use during pregnancy, lactation or lay: Can be used during pregnancy and lactation. Withdrawal periods: Meat and offal: zero days, Milk: zero days Pharmacological Properties: Pharmacotherapeutic group: Drugs for treatment of acetonemia, ATC vet code: QA16QA06 Monensin is a member of the pharmacotherapeutic group of polyether ionophores, specifically the carboxylic subgroup. They are the product of natural fermentation products produced by Streptomyces cinnamonensis.

EU/2/12/145/001-003 Further information is available upon request or to be found in the SPC relating to this product. Eli Lilly and Company Limited Elanco Animal Health Priestley Road Basingstoke Hampshire RG24 9NL United Kingdom Telephone: 01256 353131

Use medicines responsibly.

Always seek advice on the correct use of this or alternative medicines from the medicine prescriber.

REFERENCES 1 Macrae, et al. 2012. Prevalence of clinical and subclinical ketosis in UK dairy herds 2006-2011. World Buiatrics, Lisbon, Portugal; Elanco Farm Audit 2011, No. GN4FR110006. Data on file. 2 CVMP assessment report of an application for the granting of a community marketing authorisation for Kexxtone (EMEA/V/C/002235). Elanco, Kexxtone® and the diagonal bar are trademarks owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates. © 2012 Elanco Animal Health. UKDRYKXT00011

CM05_p12.indd 12

Kexxtone (Farmer UK) / Dairy Update / 210mm(w) x 297mm(h)

13-06-13 13:48







Kendal-based cattle vet Andrew Crutchley, from XL Vet’s Westmorland Veterinary Group, shares some timely tips on disease prevention and tackling health problems in dairy herds. Here he takes a close look at a problem that has occurred on many units this summer and could continue into the autumn.

Depressed appetites and listless cows could be result of heat stress

Hot and bothered ÈÎ


t’s important to keep a close eye on cows as temperatures soar, particularly when temperatures inside buildings can be 10°C higher than outside. Heat stress can occur at relatively low temperatures as humidity plays such a huge role in its onset. Humidity in the UK is typically 70% all year round. The heat stress threshold is generally believed to be between 20°C and 21°C at 45% humidity. So as temperatures rise above this, cows can be experiencing mild to moderate heat stress and severe stress at between 28°C and 30°C with the UK’s typical humidity of 70%. Humidity in dairy sheds can easily approach between 80% and 90%. In these situations the cows’ heat exchange, through sweating and panting, is less effective. Lactating animals start showing signs of heat stress when temperatures hit around 20°C, but performance, in terms of milk yield and reproduction, can start to be affected at just 15°C. Cows are happiest between 5°C and 15°C. Typical symptoms to look out for included quickened breathing, depressed appetite and listlessness. Activity levels will also decrease and cows will also drink and salivate more and will look for shade. A drop in yield is also common and can be as much as 20%, with cows losing as much as three litres a day on some units this summer. Milk quality can also be reduced as butterfat levels can also drop. Heat stress will also impact fertility – with reduced bulling activity and decreased conception rates making it harder to get heat stressed cows in calf.

The encyclopaedia Heat stress Causes High temperatures in cow buildings and when out at grass with no shade. Symptoms appear and impact on performance at just 15 15°C, but more typically at around 20 20°C.

Symptoms Fast breathing or panting, depressed appetite, a reduction in milk yield and reproductive performance. Cows also appear listless and miserable.

Prevention and treatment Ensure that cow buildings are well ventilated with good air flow. Install fans where problems persist. Don’t over stock collecting areas. Provide access to plenty of water at all times, both indoors and out. Consumption can increase by up to 50% – that can be between an extra 80 and 90 litres per cow per day – and ensure that cows have access to shade. Using misters and foggers, in conjunction with fans, is another option for herds suffering from heat stress. Aim to cool the air, not the cow. The cow is cooled by movement of cooled air over the skin.


CM06-vet column.indd 45


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22-08-13 09:20










This is an RGB file, if this causes a problem, please contact me on 07712 077274 and I will provide images for you to reset it.

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21-08-13 14:29



Two UK bulls rival international leaders in the latest rankings

Vying for the top spot Former Gold Cup finalist and respected Holstein breeder Willy Ley shares his views on the latest daughter-proven and genomically-tested lists following the August bull proof run. text Rachael Porter


ith a former number-one bull, offering outstanding health and fitness traits, returning to his breedleading position in the latest Holstein bull proofs, published by DairyCo Breeding+, Willy Ley says the rankings make fascinating reading. “The top-five bulls comprise an offering of four different sires. It’s good to see that O Man’s domination is over and there’s lots of choice again.” List leader Guarini has earned three extra points for Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI) and this is what pushed this Goldwyn son up from number-two position to head the ranking. He continues to transmit exceptionally low

Easy-care cows Willy Ley

daughter somatic cell counts, alongside good production and type. His PLI is £262. “I’ve used him a lot and he seems to be pretty fertile. I’ve got quite a few cows

Comparison across breeds “DairyCo supplies specific conversion formulae for those who want to compare one breed with another for cross-breeding purposes,” says head of genetics Marco Winters. “It’s important to remember that genetic indexes should not be compared directly across breeds. The

figures for each breed are calculated to relate to that breed average, so comparing figures across breeds would be both meaningless and potentially misleading,” he says. For more information on conversion formulae please email info@dairyco.

Crockett-Acres Eight



CM06-bull proofs.indd 48

waiting to calve at the moment,” says Willy. He’s also used semen from the two UKbred and proven bulls that are in second and third place – Cogent Twist and Ballycairn Oman Pello, respectively. Twist edges up to second position with a PLI of £256, while Pello has a PLI of £252. Both bulls exceed 40kg fat in their Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA), Twist with higher components and Pello with a larger volume of milk. Twist has the distinction of being the highest ranking Shottle son while Pello is the biggest protein improver with a massive 34kg – both against all international sires.

“The Twist daughters in my herd are pretty productive. He’s not a flash bull, but he’s great for herds producing milk on a cheese making contract. Fat and protein are good and they’re robust cows too,” says Willy. “They work hard and they’re easy to look after. I’m still using him now and some more calves were born last week.” Willy has also used some Pello semen on his herd, again due to the good fat and protein and his exceptional milk yield. “But I suspect that his type, although good, will be a bit lacking like his sire Oman. It will be interesting to see how his daughters develop within the herd.” Another stand-out sire for Willy is high climber Bakombre (PLI £235), in eighth place. Bakombre is a Baxter son from the same family as ALH Dakota, who ranks ninth, with a PLI of £233. “I’ve used some

Pirolo Goldwyn Wyman

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22-08-13 15:43

262 256 252 248 248 243 243 235 233 233 231 228 225 225 225 225 224 222 221 219

–29 –9 –12 –24 –17 –11 –9 –10 –14 –11 –8 –20 –23 –4 –8 –19 –8 –15 –11 –5










75 +607 +24.2 +26.7 +0.00 +0.08 49 95 +621 +41.0 +25.5 +0.20 +0.06 60 93 +1071 +41.6 +34.0 –0.01 –0.01 63 85 +404 +32.2 +16.6 +0.20 +0.04 43 83 +609 +30.1 +23.7 +0.07 +0.05 48 75 +378 +30.3 +22.3 +0.19 +0.12 52 98 +450 +21.4 +21.5 +0.04 +0.08 42 81 +758 +39.0 +26.2 +0.11 +0.02 56 74 +365 +29.3 +23.4 +0.18 +0.14 54 85 +901 +30.8 +30.4 –0.05 +0.01 52 73 +394 +32.5 +20.2 +0.21 +0.09 50 82 +345 +26.6 +19.8 +0.16 +0.11 46 94 +447 +18.0 +19.9 +0.00 +0.07 36 87 +306 +34.1 +20.0 +0.27 +0.12 53 98 +420 +35.5 +20.8 +0.23 +0.09 53 80 +376 +29.3 +20.0 +0.18 +0.09 47 78 +757 +32.2 +24.0 +0.03 –0.01 46 81 +836 +19.3 +25.4 –0.16 –0.02 36 91 +598 +26.0 +23.7 +0.03 +0.05 45 97 +1012 +28.3 +27.4 –0.13 –0.06 42 Cogent Genus Genus Semex Cogent Dairy Daughters Sterling Sires WWS UK Genus Genus Genus Viking/Nordic Gen. Viking/Nordic Gen. WWS UK Genus Dairy Daughters


O Man Major Goldwyn Zade O Man Manat Mtoto Goldwyn O Man Durham Lancelot O Man Laudan Zelati Lynch Lukas Morty Ramos Laudan Amel


Goldwyn Shottle O Man O Man Buckeye O Man O Man Baxter Roumare O Man Goldwyn Goldwyn O Man Maestro O Man O Man O Man Planet O Man Taboo



Guarini Cogent Twist Ballycairn Oman Pello Whitm. Awesome Andy Morningview Levi Lynbrook Jancen Crockett-Acres Eight Bakombre Roskilde ALH Dakota Gomez Pirolo Goldwyn Wyman Laurelhill Classic Sherdon Irresistable Ufm-Dubs Ellrod D Omar D Oblat De-Su 521 Bookem ABS Simon Ensenada Taboo Planet

prot. kg

mat. grandsire supplier

fat kg





functional traits



0.5 2.1 1.0 1.84 2.16 2.33 0.4 –1.7 –0.2 1.69 0.79 1.23 0.1 1.7 2.1 1.56 0.73 1.12 0.6 6.8 1.8 1.02 0.23 0.52 0.4 6.3 2.7 1.87 0.78 1.35 0.4 5.2 1.0 –0.22 0.01 0,00 0.4 12 1.8 1.45 1.25 1.48 0.2 1.3 1.8 1.85 1.14 1.54 0.2 1.2 –0.9 1.22 1.54 1.64 0.3 2.3 2.3 2.21 0.27 0.89 0.2 6.2 1.0 1.85 0.73 1.21 0.3 2.4 2.2 2.79 1.70 2.38 0.5 8.1 1.5 –0.01 1.27 1.07 0.2 3.0 0.2 0.68 0.89 1,00 0.1 5.5 1.2 0.48 0.93 0.93 0.3 4.0 0.5 0.54 0.57 0.75 0.3 6.8 1.4 1.25 0.13 0.79 0.6 2.4 1.1 2.39 2.63 2.87 0.3 7.3 2.2 0.78 0.14 0.37 0.6 –1.4 1.9 1.86 1.83 2,00

Table 1: Top 20 daughter proven sires available in the UK ranked on PLI (source: DairyCo breeding+ and Holstein UK)

Bakombre and I have calves on the ground. I used him as a genomic bull and now he has a daughter proof, which has exceeded his genomic proof. So I’m really pleased to see him there and with such good figures.

Interesting sire The genomic young sires’ ranking saw a general shuffling of the pack within the top 20, plus a handful of new names making their debut. The number-one bull is De-Su RB Moonray (Robust x Planet x Shottle), an outstanding fat transmitter (PTA fat 44.5kg) with solid fitness and type, who was ranked in fourth position in the previous index run, and now weighs in with a hefty Profitable Lifetime Index of £279. Not surprisingly, Willy plans to buy

VJ Lure approaches 50kg fat plus protein Among the other breeds, it is the Jersey ranking that captures the most attention, with the high fat and protein transmitter, VJ Lure, gaining 17 Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI) points to take the number-one position.

some straws: “I’ll have a go with him. It’s interesting that there seem to be a lot of Robust sons coming through, particularly as he himself has only just got his first daughter proof.” As a son of Roylane Socra Robust, Moonray is one of five sons of this bull in

Advertising code to aid clarity The combination of stability in the rankings and a good showing of UK-proven bulls is particularly encouraging, according to the head of DairyCo Breeding+, Marco Winters. “But with such a wide choice of sires, particularly those strong on health and fitness traits, breeders should look closely at their figures,” he stresses. “It’s not just about the headline PTAs – it’s important that UK producers know the source of the information they’re using,” he adds.

“It’s for this reason that we have introduced an advertising code this month, which has been signed by all the major AI companies. We hope that this will ensure that breeders receive the most appropriate and meaningful information. “With more sires than ever in the system – some with genomic and others with daughter-proven figures – this new code should ensure breeders are aware of exactly the type of dairy sire they are considering.”

With a PLI of £218 and transmitting almost 50kg fat plus protein, this bull is also predicted to lower cell counts and improve fertility. A son of DJ Lirsk, Lure pushes the former leaders into joint second place, as both DJ Broiler and DJ Hulk have a PLI of £215.

the top 20. Robust himself is in part responsible for his genomic sons’ rise, as he now has his first milking daughters contributing to his index, which is 19 PLI points above his earlier prediction. Welcome Armitage Pesky has also captured Willy’s imagination. He has risen from number 12 into second position. With a PLI of £274, Pesky also has the highest daughter Fertility Index in the top 10 at +7.1. Third ranking Parile Locarno (Pierre x Man-O-Man) has risen from seventh position with solid all-round figures and a PLI of £268, while in fourth position, Rosylane-LLC Altabarney edges downwards from his former number one position and now has a PLI of £266. “Again, he’s an interesting bull and I’ve nothing against using him. But you can’t use them all. That said, there’s such a wide choice of excellent sires out there now, it’s very tempting to try.” l


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Jack’s heifer (shown in photo) sold for £3200. She is one of 71 heifers he sold over the first 4 months of 2012 at Wrights Manley’s mid month sale at Beeston Market to average £2300.

“We have been using Yellow Udder Comfort spray for 9 months on 25 to 30 fresh heifers a month. We consider Udder Comfort an essential product for the management and preparation for sale of new calved heifers. It removes swelling when used both pre and post calving, leaving heifers relaxed and comfortable to milk out and we regard it as an everyday product for use in our routine. I would recommend it to anybody for transition management in pre and post calving.”

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Fatty acid results now online Producers involved in either the TSB or OptiMIR milk fatty acid projects can now view their results online via NMR’s Herd Companion website. Using the ‘Herd & Testing Reports’ tab in iReports, both bulk milk and individual cow fatty acid results can be viewed. Trends in bulk milk fatty acid levels can easily be monitored by viewing the line graph and using the corresponding results listed in a table. Individual cow results are also displayed in a scatter graph to determine any high or low cows and monitor fatty acid profiles. “Producers, vets and advisers will be able to monitor the effect of management and diet changes on fatty acid profiles,” says NMR product manager Vicky Hicks. Now 10 months underway, interesting

results are already emerging. “Individual cow profiles are showing up a distinct change in saturated fat levels around May in some herds. This is most likely due to cows going out to graze. High levels of Omega 3 fatty acids in lush spring grass lead to a reduction in saturated fat content.” More consistent fatty acid profiles are seen in housed herds although the effects of dietary changes on fatty acid levels can still be seen. “At this stage in the project we’re encouraging producers to monitor levels of fatty acids to establish their herd’s natural levels before making any management decisions based on the results.” NMR will develop management tools using the fatty acid profile to help monitor cow health and nutritional performance.

Lifetime yields on iReports Producers recording with NMR can now sort and rank cows on their iReports by lifetime daily yield (LDY). These reports are part of NMR’s Herd Companion website. “This is a free service for all NMR users,” says NMR’s national field manager Jonathan Davies. “LDY is one of the most valuable performance tools available and being able to rank cows within the herd will give producers and their advisers some very useful management information.”

Top on LDY NMR recorded cows that have reached 100 tonnes of milk in May and June are now on the website. Ranked on LDY, these are the top three cows for the two months. 1.  Miresdale Pansy – 101,406kg of milk in seven lactations with a LDY of 30.05kg. From Geoff Spence’s herd, North Yorkshire 2. Martha 195 – 111,679kg of milk in eight lactations with a LDY of 27.87kg. From the University of Newcastle’s Nafferton Farm, Northumberland 3.  Troedrhiw Convincer Kathleen VG87 – 100,346kg of milk in six lactations with a LDY of 27.75kg. From Messrs Williams’ herd, Credigion.

NML adds to vet team

Karen Bond MRCVS has joined NML to strengthen the company’s veterinary team for specialised disease testing and monitoring.

A graduate of Glasgow Veterinary School, Karen worked in a mixed practice then completed a three year farm animal residency at Cambridge Vet School during which time she obtained a MSc in livestock health and production. After a further year of research on Bovine TB at the Institute for Animal Health she returned to practice, working with dairy clients in Cheshire and Cumbria. For the past four years Karen has worked as a technical extension officer

for DairyCo. She is also completing her PhD at the Royal Veterinary College on Johne’s disease and the impact of management at calving on the transmission of the disease from cow to calf. NML is broadening the technical veterinary support for its disease surveillance schemes, such as the CHeCS accredited Johne’s surveillance scheme Herdwise. Karen will work alongside NML vet Neil Howie who is already providing technical support for vet clients, particularly in the BVD control and surveillance schemes.

For more information on NMR products and services contact customer services, 0844 7255567, NMR web address:, NMR email address: cow man ag e me nt

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SHOWS AND EVENTS September 10-13: September 12: October 1-5: October 2: October 15: November 1-10: November 20: December 12:

Space, Rennes (France) National Forage Conference, Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Cheshire World Dairy Expo, Madison (United States) The Dairy Show, Shepton Mallet, Somerset Welsh Dairy Show, Nantyci Showground, Carmarthen Royal Winter Fair, Toronto (Canada) AgriScot, Edinburgh, Scotland Royal Ulster Winter Fair, King’s Hall Pavilions, Balmoral, Belfast (N Ireland)

2014 September 17:

UK Dairy Day, Telford International Centre, Shropshire

Working girls: Holsteins grazing and earning their keep 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 Alice Booij, Inge van Drie, Roger Evans, Allison Matthews, David Matthews 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

Alta............................................................25 Ambic.........................................................52 ATL............................................................24 Avoncroft/Thompsons..................................2 Bath & West Dairy Show............................50 Biotal....................................................13, 32 BirdGard.....................................................46 Boer Housing Systems Ltd., De.............12, 50 Carrs-Billington...........................................47 Cogent.......................................................34 Comfort Solutions.......................................50 Cowsfeet....................................................24 CRV............................................................26 Dairy Management.......................................5 Dairy Spares...............................................41 DP Agri.....................................................6, 7 Elanco.........................................................44 FarmPlus.....................................................52

FiveF...........................................................52 Fullwood....................................................11 Healthy Hooves..........................................47 Intershape..................................................46 Joskin.........................................................46 Lallemand...................................................53 Limagrain...................................................33 Micron Bio-Systems/AB..............................14 Moore Concrete.........................................46 MSD Animal Health....................................56 NMR....................................................40, 55 Quil Productions.........................................41 Schippers UK..............................................12 Semex........................................................39 Spinder.......................................................52 Storth.........................................................12 Teemore.....................................................52 Vervaeke....................................................47 Vetoquinol..................................................19

Advertisements Jonathan Davies, NMR Phone 07970 017243 E-mail: 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 and Phil Monckton (15).

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


C a l f rear in g sp ecial October (October 15) – Our eagerly anticipated calf-rearing special will feature in this issue, alongside articles on reducing antibiotic use and dairy unit health and safety.

Printer Classic Printing Phone 01452 731539 ISSN 1570-5641


c owmanagement

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One milk sample


Save time and hassle in your milking parlour and boost herd fertility. Using your existing NMR milk sample, you can now detect pregnancy at the same time – improving your herd’s pregnancy rates and boosting productivity. The tests are an impressive 96.7% specific (over 40 days from service) and 97.6% sensitive (rising to 100% once past 90 days from service). Our service includes an automatic, free, follow-up test for animals giving an inconclusive result, making it a convenient complement to your routine palpation and ultrasound examinations. And at just £3.50 per test, this is a shrewd investment in your herd’s health and long-term profitability.


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When next faced With a costly case of mastitis, think mastiplan lc for fast, visible relief Mastiplan LC is a lactating cow treatment which uniquely has double the anti-inflammatory of any other lactaing cow tube on the market for promoting fast resolution of inflammatory response & quick alleviation of swelling, pain & milk drop associated with mastitis. • Cefapirin 300mg (1st generation cephalosporin, bactericidal) • Prednisolone 20mg (Double the amount of any other lactating cow tube) anti-inflammatory & pain reduction • Broad spectrum of activity without using polypharmacy, endorsing prudent use of antibiotics • Long acting properties, above MIC90 for up to 5 milkings* after last application • Cefapirin and Prednisolone act synergistically to improve treatment success1 • Significantly better bacteriological and clinical cure rates than a leading lactating cow tube2,3

* Mastiplan Datasheet 1. Bourry, Chiquet and Cox (2006) Proceedings of the WBC, Nice. 2. Bourry, Hoeijmakers and Cox (2006) Proceedings of the WBC, Nice. 3. Sipka, A et al. (2012) Evaluation of prednisolone on immune response and udder histology after E.coli intramammary challenge in mid lactation. USA.

Use medicines responsibly. For more information visit Mastiplan LC is only available via your animal prescriber or veterinary surgeon from whom advice should be sought. Mastiplan LC contains 300mg cefaprin and 20mg prednisalone. Withdrawal periods: Meat - 96 hours. Milk - 132 hours. Legal category POM-V Mastiplan is a trademark of Intervet International B.V. or affiliated companies of licensors and is protected by copyrights, trademark and other intellectual property laws. Copyright 2013 Intervet International B.V., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. All rights reserved. Further information is available from: MSD Animal Health, Walton Manor, Walton, Milton Keynes MK7 7AJ Tel: 01908 685 685 • •

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CowManagement August/September 2013  
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