Building Immunity To Increase Performance of Dairy Cow & Calf
11th August 2017

Dr Hazel Gilmore reporting on the Fane Valley Feeds Dry Cow Primer Rations featuring SafMannan

Fane Valley Feeds Dry Cow Primer rations now feature SafMannan – a premium yeast fraction that helps support a reduction in somatic cell counts, improve the production of good quality colostrum and boost the immune system of the cow during the critically low point around calving.

Research shows that 80% of early lactation problems result from the dry period, therefore, improving management during this period can have a large impact on lactation performance. With regards to colostrum quality, a study from AFBI reported that 44% of colostrum sampled in Northern Ireland was not of acceptable quality, reducing the calf’s first line of immune defence. Dr Hazel Gilmore, Ruminant Nutritionist at Fane Valley Feeds outlines some of the key areas of the dry cow period that can impact on lactation performance.

Body Condition Score: Cows that are either too thin or too fat at calving can have higher rates of metabolic disease, lower feed intakes, lower milk production, and poorer fertility. Cows should be dried off at a BCS 3.0 and be able to maintain this condition throughout the dry period. Cows that are not at this target BCS 8 weeks pre-drying off should be identified and fed accordingly.

Nutrition: The starting point of any dry cow diet is a full mineral profile of the forages to be used. Silages with high levels of potassium can cause problems with milk fever and subclinical milk fever, and if identified early, can be eliminated via nutrition, allowing a smoother transition to lactation. It is estimated that for every 1 clinical case of milk-fever there are 6 cases of subclinical milk fever which will have hidden reductions in lactation performance as well as reducing financial returns.

To avoid the suppression in feed intake approaching calving, fresh feed should be offered on a daily basis, there should be space for each cow to feed at the same time, feed troughs should be cleaned twice per week and where high straw diets are offered, straw must be chopped to 2-3 inches consistently to prevent sorting.

Cows at grass must be monitored regularly for body condition to prevent excess weight gain, resulting in increased problems at calving. Cubicles should be large and comfortable for bigger cows approaching calving. Cubicles should be cleaned on a regular basis.
Depending on forage quality, dry cows should receive 2kg of Fane Valley Feeds Dry Cow Primer Nuts per day for at least 4 weeks prior to calving.

Fane Valley Feeds Dry Cow Primer Rations: Fane Valley Feeds Dry Cow Primer rations (Nuts and Blends) have been reformulated to include SafMannan which helps support the immune system with benefits to reducing somatic cell counts, increasing the production of good quality colostrum and boosting the immune system. The inclusion of Actisaf live yeast helps to enhance the rumen environment in preparation for maximum efficiency after calving.

Fane Valley Feeds Dry Cow Primer rations are 24% crude protein and feature a high proportion of undegradable protein from Hi-Pro Soya, vital for udder regeneration and development prior to calving, boosting colostrum quality and milk production potential.

Fane Valley Feeds Dry Cow Mineral Pack has been specifically designed for dry cows. Formulated to contain high levels of Vitamins E, A, D3, B12, magnesium, iodine, cobalt and chelated selenium, copper and zinc. Our market leading mineral pack ensures that the mineral requirements of high yielding dairy cows are met during the dry period with benefits to fertility and health in later lactation.

If you would like to know more about Fane Valley Feeds Dry Cow Primer Nuts and options for managing the nutrient intake of dry cows, please contact your local Fane Valley Feeds Sales Representative or Ruminant Nutritionists, Matthew Armstrong on 07714 950 585 or Dr Hazel Gilmore on 07714 950 584.