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Management Hints
Replacement heifer calves under targets weights should get
1-2kgs meal (pulp or barley) so as to meet target weights on
1st April. For every 20kg animals are below target they will
need to be fed an extra 100kgs meal (16 per cent P).
In-calf heifers under targets need 1-2 kgs meal (12-14% P).
Otherwise they will calve down too light, resulting in 450
litres lower milk yields for every 50 kgs below target weight
at calving. Fewer of them will go in-calf during the first 3
weeks of breeding in 2019.
It is obvious you must weigh replacements NOW. Essential
for animals on contract.
Have you injected cows and heifers for Salmonella to
prevent abortions?
Have you injected the weanling replacements for
If any animals show symptoms of hoose (coughing),
stomach worms (sticky dung on tail head) or fluke (scouring
+ other signs) have them treated as they will not maximise
weight gain.
Early October BCS essential
This is the most important body condition scoring (BCS)
action of the six recommended in the year. Why? If cows calve
down thin they will struggle to go back in calf and neither will
they milk well next year. For every 50kgs (1 condition score)
below target, a cow will milk 450 litres of milk less than her
If you have thin cows identified in October you have two
management options:
Dry off now to allow her have a long dry period to put
on weight.
Feed meals now, so as to have her in good body
condition at drying off.
If you wait until November to deal with thin cows you have
only one option that is feed a lot of meals during the dry
period which is inefficient.
It takes 72 MJ of energy to put on 1kg liveweight on
a dry cow whereas it takes 50 MJ to do it while she is
milking. Hence the value of identifying the problem
in early October and feeding meals then to rectify the
problem or going on OAD milking.
The weight she puts on now is more efficiently used
when she loses it in spring as every kg weight lost
then give up 37 MJ energy (74 per cent efficient) while
the weight put on by the dry cow only gives up 30MJ
of energy (42 per cent efficient).
Put all cows through the cattle crush to handle cows so as
to be more accurate in assessing cow condition at this time
of year.
To body condition score (BCS) a cow, examining the fat
cover on the tail head; ribs; short ribs; and back bone. If you
don't know how to do it or need an update, get your Adviser
or Discussion Group to show you. Each BCS is about 50kgs.
The target BCS at drying off is 3.0 3.3. Generally they will
calve down in same condition as dried off, if the silage is
Cows with a BCS of 2.75 or less now, must be `earmarked'
for special attention.
As she has a deficit of 0.5 BCS, she is at least 25 kg
below target condition, therefore she will have to be
fed an extra 130 kg meal (5-6 times the weight)
This means feeding 2kgs ration/hd/day for 65days, or,
She probably needs 12-14 weeks dry.
So it is very important to identify the BCS of January
and February calving cows now and act on the
Remember, the only way to improve the body condition of
milky cows, who are thin the whole year, is to give them a
long dry period.
Feed meals only if...
Not more than 2-3kgs meal (16%P) should be fed to cows
unless you are building grass as it is uneconomical.
Autumn calvers should be fed 3-4kgs if grass is plenty but
7-8kgs when grass gets scarce.
Replacement heifer feeding only feed the under target
weight ones.
I am not a great believer of fattening cull cows as you can
never be sure of selling price and they push you out of
derogation territory. But do the sums.
Good to buy/price
With money being scarce, do this carefully. Write out your
"to buy list" now. This will enable you time to buy from the
cheapest source by pricing around. The following are on my
`must buy' list:
Dry cow tubes (it might be worth having a sensitivity test
Fluke dose, and it is almost certain that all farmers must
dose all animals
Worm dose (must kill Ostertagia type II)
Lice treatment
Copper Sulphate or Formalin for bootbath.
Hydrated lime for dusting cubicles
Lime - must spread 2 ton/acre to all low pH field from now
until mid-November
Must forward buy10:10:20 for the springtime to reduce my
tax bill.