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FIELD NOTE:

Early Lactation and Mating Preparation

Executive Summary

As dairy farmers navigate the challenges of calving season, maintaining their cows' health during early lactation is a top priority. The repercussions of inaccurate mineral supplementation can lead to costly complications, particularly considering the hefty $1,500 cost per downer cow.

Given the volatile market (see Fonterra's recent milk price revision), maximising returns on all inputs is utmost. To this end, the spotlight is on mineral supplementation for its immediate benefits and as a long-term strategy to safeguard against clinical and subclinical diseases.

With this backdrop, Vitalise emerges as a game-changer. Its concentrated and accurate formulation ensures dairy herds receive optimal mineral supplementation, ushering in an era where uncertainty in mineral provision becomes a thing of the past, promising both health benefits for the herd and cost savings for the farmer.

Boosting dairy health during early lactation and mating

When you’re in the thick of calving, it’s all about solving problems daily while striving to get your cows through calving in total health. Early lactation is stressful for dairy cows as they recover from calving. They rapidly increase milk production while losing body condition and preparing for their next pregnancy.

 

The cost per downer cow has recently been calculated at $1,500 to include unseen subclinical cases, making accurate calcium and magnesium supplementation crucial in avoiding complications and unnecessary costs. The lowest blood calcium concentration usually occurs in dairy cows within 12 to 24 hours of calving and, where good supplementation is present, generally returns to normal in healthy cows within 2 to 3 days post-calving.

The Vital Role of Minerals in Dairy Health

Magnesium is an essential tool in preventing metabolic issues and, when supplemented correctly, can increase milk production. Both are essential in avoiding clinical and subclinical diseases. While a good transition programme through winter ensures that dairy cows are going through calving prepared, it is important to remember that accurate nutrition and mineral supplementation are just as essential through the next stage of lactation.

Balancing Costs with Nutrition Amidst Market Changes

With reduced milk prices (Fonterra reduced its forecast milk price for the 2023/24 season to a mid-point of $7 per kgMS) and the demand for wholesale milk powder remaining uncertain - it is more important than ever that every input sees a return. Arguably, the importance of good mineral supplementation has never been greater; with accurate nutritional information, farmers can lower the risk of clinical and subclinical diseases reducing submission rates and milk production in the lead-up to the peak. As well as calcium and magnesium, trace minerals such as copper, iodine, selenium, cobalt and zinc are essential for successful mating.

 

While pasture and bought-in feeds will provide some of the requirements of lactating cows, farmers must utilise other tools available to ensure all dietary needs are met. Pre-mating blood tests are a cost-effective way to determine where your herd stands and allow you to focus on spending money only where it is required rather than relying on guesswork.

Introducing Vitalise: The Next-Gen Mineral Solution

With so much change at the forefront of dairy, time and money-saving products are coming into their own. Vitalise is a concentrated, palatable and accurate form of mineral supplementation, eliminating the uncertainty of dusting or water-soluble mineral products with 100% utilisable ingredients.

 

Fed through in-shed feed with a range of standard blends available, Vitalise ensures that your herd receives precisely what it needs.

 

Our ability to create custom blends and the range of products we offer, from standard and custom dairy trace elements blends to products that help the rumen function better and prevent subclinical diseases, means that we can tailor-make blends to suit your herd’s requirements.

 

The time has come to eliminate uncertainty, move away from methods of mineral supplementation that do not provide 100% accuracy, and save money in the long term. Your herd’s health is the most important thing to us, and we strive to ensure that every farmer’s requirements are met with quality products that won’t break the bank.

More Vitalise Field Notes

Tuning soil and boosting performance – a Canterbury Tale
Plan ahead for healthy herds in Spring
Happy, healthy cows produce more milk

14-16 February,Waimumu, Gore

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