TIPS FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER 2014
1. With superlevy pertaining over 60% of dairy farms, it is essential to reduce the economic risk of same by identifying empty cows. Pregnancy scanning is an excellent tool to aid in the accurate ageing of pregnancies and identification of cows carrying twins. Scanning can also be used to see if the empty cows can be recycled for breeding again in an autumn calving programme next year.
2. Due to decreased feed value of grazed grass at this time of year, it is essential you are aware that in-calf heifers and weanling heifers are achieving their target weights and stature. Weigh all young stock on the farm at this point of time and ensure that animals not achieving target are sub-grouped and fed supplementary concentrates.
3. Pregnancy scanning of cows at this stage will enable cows in poor condition, cows carrying twins and young cows first and second lactation to be dried off early to ensure they achieve target body condition. There is little point in needlessly paying a superlevy for milk when milk price is dropping and the full burden of superlevy creates a major loss on the balance sheet.
4. It is now opportune to health screen your herd for worms, stomach and liver fluke, IBR, Johnes’ and neospora. These diseases will compromise the immune system and some will offer poor resistance to secondary diseases.
5.Ensure that you have all forages analysed for feeding values and that required mineral balancer and dietary supplements are addressed for the various production classes in your herd.
6. Autumn calving cows are currently being neglected on many farms where farmers want to utilise grazed grass as a major part of the total diet. I have noted that many freshly calved cows are either in poor body condition or have lost excessive body condition. Indeed, many autumn calving cows have calved at grass without the necessary dietary supplementation for the transition period. For these high production type cows, this has created many metabolic problems with a consequential effect on herd health and potential reproductive performance for autumn calving next year.