JULY 2018 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com Animal Health Focus high-quality grazed grass has the ability to maintain milk production of 2 kilograms of milk solids per cow per day. Key strategies:  Complete a grass walk of the farm.  Know the number of days of grass ahead of the herd.  Adjust rotation length to daily grass growth and farm cover.  Be proactive with grass management decisions and the intake required by the cows.  Don’t wait too late before introducing some supplementary feed. Remember, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. Other important factors to consider Figure . The e ect of Sel-Plex®, Bioplex® Zinc and Bioplex® Copper on somatic cell count infections when compared to inorganic mineral supplementation. swards can fall to 60 percent leaf during the strong growth period; this will help with butterfat production, but milk yield and protein percentage will suffer. After a cow’s peak, milk production will of course fall, but it should only fall by approximately 2.5 percent per week. On the other hand, in some parts of the country, caution needs to be practised because of the period of prolonged dry weather over the last few weeks, which is resulting in a slowdown of growth rates due to a soil moisture deficit. Measuring grass once a week should be a priority on every farm. It is important to keep 10 days of grass ahead of cows at this time of year. If you’re not ahead of grass growth and there is a shortage, high levels of meal and silage are required to make up the shortfall to ensure milk production is maintained. If cows are forced to graze very low covers, which has little or no structural fibre, butterfat will more than likely drop. It is important to feed 1 to 2 kilograms of structural fibre (straw/hay/silage) to ensure good rumination. Adding a live yeast like Yea-Sacc® to your feed can help maintain optimum rumen pH by boosting the bacteria responsible for fibre digestion and therefore improving butterfat percentage. Research from Teagasc Research Centre, Moorepark shows the importance of maintaining high-quality grazed grass in the diet to maintain good milk production. If quality deteriorates, for each one-unit decrease in organic matter digestibility, grass dry matter intake can be decreased by 0.20 kilograms, which can result in a decrease of 0.24 kilograms of milk per cow per day. Maintaining When buffer feeding, do not feed mouldy feed or forages. Mould may be a sign of the presence of mycotoxins, which can reduce rumen bacteria activity and therefore reduce milk production. High dry matter silages like maize may pose a threat if not managed correctly at the pit face. Get a fresh grass sample tested for minerals to know if mineral levels are sufficient. In most cases, they are not, and cows will still need a good-quality supplemented mineral to ensure optimum immunity to protect the growing embryo and to help reduce mastitis and lameness issues. Usually at this time of year, when breeding season is over, supplemented feed is reduced, but it should not be reduced if grass is tight. If there is a mineral deficiency in the grass, be mindful when purchasing parlour feed to ask for one that contains a more concentrated mineral to ensure when feeding 1 to 2 kilograms of feed so that your herd is receiving sufficient levels of minerals. It is also important to look for one that contains organic trace minerals. Supplying minerals in their more natural organic form leads to better bioavailability and uptake by the dairy cow. Bioplex® and Sel-Plex® from Alltech are organic minerals that lead to improved absorption and utilisation by the cow. This leads to the maintenance of optimal health and greater resistance to disease. national ihfa holstein friesian open day Oldrose Herd Ardcath, Co. Meath, A42 HD27 Wednesday 4th July from 11.00am free admission - all Welcome Stock Judging - Trade Exhibition - Stock Sale - Awards - Family Fun and much more... For more info: IHFA, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. Tel.: 023 8833443 web: www.ihfa.ie email: enquiries@ihfa.ie The Collins Family hosted by 23