Innovative Transition Management

June 13, 2022

Innovative Transition Management

An innovative approach to transition management proves just the trick to restoring freshly-calved cows to full health and production, says Canterbury farmer Kieran McDonald.

Kieran McDonald, who contract milks for Peter and Kirsty Schouten on one of their high producing herds in Eyrewell, Canterbury and has been using NutriMin®Springer Cow Balancer in his herd for several years, with good results.

“We installed a health monitoring system a couple of years ago and we immediately noticed that we had a problem with a small percentage of our colostrum cows. Some of our colostrum cows were noticeably ‘off’ with depressed appetite and activity and probably sub-clinical milk fever or ketosis”. Kieran says.

“So we contacted Nutritech for advice and they helped us implement a transition feeding program that best suited our system. They came out and took feed samples and ran the results through their DietCheck® nutrient balancing program to make sure we meet the target ranges for dietary anion cation difference (DCAD), energy, protein and minerals. NutriMin®Springer Cow Balancer is a great product. Within a couple of hours of calving, you can see that they are back on their feet and eating. You can genuinely see the difference”.

“Using NutriMin®Springer Cow Balancer is cheaper than having to call a vet and, more importantly, we don’t end up dealing with sick cows”, says Kieran.

NutriMin® Springer Cow Balancer helps Springer cows adapt to the demands of lactation. Even before they calve, they start to lose a large reservoir of essential nutrients and enter a period of negative energy balance. This increases the risk of a range of metabolic and periparturient diseases, including milk fever, ketosis, and mastitis. In effect, it helps to reduce the amount of time that cows are energy-deficient and gets them back on feed and on their way towards peak production, setting them up for a productive lactation.

NutriMin®Springer Cow Balancer isn’t just a DCAD product to help release calcium from their bones. It contains a rich source of magnesium, calcium (springer safe), organic chromium, organic copper, organic selenium, vitamins A, D, and E, together with inorganic forms of cobalt and iodine. Plus, the world’s first form of commercially available primary antioxidant, MeloFeed®, is proven to help support immune function at a time when immunity is compromised.

NutriMin®Springer Cow Balancer is best offered two-three weeks before calving. The NutriMin®Springer Cow Balancer Hi Mag option makes it a one-bag solution that can be dusted over silage, added to a mixer wagon, or mixed into pellets. It can also be customised to include Levucell® SC or Rumensin™, which have well-documented benefits for feed efficiency and animal health.

There are over 60 scientific papers published worldwide on the beneficial effects of Levucell® SC (Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077) on rumen health, pH and fibre digestibility, making it a valuable addition for animals moving off winter crop and onto pasture.

While a good transition program isn’t just about reducing milk fever, it can have a massive financial impact for anyone who is treating cows for milk fever. For example, for a 500 cow herd with a 5% incidence of milk fever (25 cows), the cost of lost production alone on a $9.60 payout is $84,000*. If it costs just $6,500 to help prevent using NutriMin® Springer Cow Balancer, then the return on investment in terms of production is over 11:1. This isn’t even factoring in the time and stress involved in treating downer cows and the ongoing detriment effects on health and fertility.

*Based on DairyNZ (2012) figures of: 2.2L of lost production per cow per day for every clinical case and 1L for every subclinical. A ratio of 1:10 for clinical: subclinical. A 300-day lactation and a 14-day treatment period.

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