One small change, major gains for Curracitty dairy herd
Without exception, dairy farmers know all too well that every cow with retained afterbirth will probably have knock on problems. But preventing them is more elusive.
While a magic formula is yet to be discovered, Curracitty’s Owen O’Sullivan has achieved a marked reduction in retained afterbirths, and much improved fertility. Although the shiny coats he now sees don’t in themselves pay any bills, they are a reassuring outward sign of inner well-being.
The 100-cow spring calving herd’s numbers also tell a good story: 590kg/cow milk solids (1,700 gal or 7,700 litres at 7.7% combined fat and protein) from grazing, grass silage and just 1,400Kg of concentrates.
A turning point six years ago towards these results, Owen explains, was introducing 180-day trickle charge supplementation of essential trace elements.
In November as they approach drying off, cows are given Allsure Cattle leaching boluses, one with combined selenium, cobalt and iodine (Se/Co/I), another for copper, then the same again in April pre-breeding. Also at these times, an Se/Co/I bolus is given to bulling heifers. Weaned heifer calves also get just one in November.
“Heats are certainly easier to spot than before we changed,” Owen O’Sullivan says. “Conceptions to first service have also improved.”
Leaching bolus technology was developed and patented by Animax for slow release of trace elements at a regulated rate.