Management Hints Messages: X Review and act on cow condition immediately. X Winter feed; if a problem make a plan to ‘stretch’ the available roughage, X Because of reduced 2018 profits, reduce costs for November and December X Make a dry cow management plan and act. X Closing farm cover drives spring grass. X Body condition drives winter cow management and spring profit, X Dose for parasites X Winter management of replacements pays dividends.. By Matt Ryan COW CONDITION NOW DRIVES PROFIT IN 2019: X Body condition score (BCS) NOW is the most important issue in preparation for next year. Both milk yield and pregnancy rates will be adversely affected in 2019: • If she is too thin, conception rates will be reduced 10-15%, • For every half BCS she is below target weight, milk yield will be reduced by 230litres/cow. • If she is too fat now she will have many health issues, ketosis etc., at and after calving, resulting in reduced milk yield. X If she is too fat at calving, she will eat 2-3kgDM/day less and so will lose too much weight between calving and breeding. Therefore, follow the recommendations above. X Consult last month’s Hints for more detail on BCS’ing. X Many farmers are careless about managing cows based on their body condition X Every extra 50 kg body weight (one condition score) will deliver 450 to 600 litres of extra milk next year, as long as cows remain under BS 3.5.at calving. Silage DMD > 72 68 – 72 64 – 68 60 – 64 Body Condition Score at Drying-Off < 2.5 2.5 Sil + 1 Kg Sil ad-lib Sil + 2 Kg Sil + 1 Kg Sil + 3 Kg Sil + 2 Kg Sil + 4 Kg Sil + 3 Kg NOVEMBER 2018 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com their BCS. Some farmers frown on this advice but it will result in 3-4 more cows per 100 being incalf, less calving problems and more milk per cow next year. • It will also save feed in that no cow will get over fat due to over-feeding. X Before making adjustment feed decisions it is important to realise; • That no body weight is laid down in the last month of pregnancy » For February calvers we now only have 60 days to bring cow to BCS of 3.3+. • That for every half BCS (30-36kgs) that has to be ‘put on’ the cow will require 160 – 200kgs of extra meal over and above her daily requirement of 1011 kgs DM. » Therefore, over the next 60 days, if a cow is half a score short she will have to get an extra 2-3kgs meal/day. • More efficient BC is laid down while the cow is milking; therefore, put cow with BCS less than 2.75 on OAD milking while continuing to feed the appropriate feed levels. » It requires 72 mj of energy during the dry period compared with 50mj during milking to put on one kg of weight gain. • Palm kernel will be good enough to achieve weight gain. X It is most important that: » Each cow has a cubicle, that is, 50 cows need 55 cubicles. » Each cow has 2 ft. of head space if being fed meals. » Each cow has 0.75 to 1.0 ft. silage feeding space. » Cubicle and yard surfaces are in good repair, kept clean every day. » Access to feeding area that is adequate, and not restricted, with an access passage, 6ft wide, from cubicles to silage area every 5-6 cubicles. » Cows have adequate ventilation, which is enough inlet and outlet area, with no draughts. » You walk carefully through your cows, not looking over the rail, every day to ensure none are sick, lame, stressed, free of mastitis, and putting on body condition. X This list and the BCS advice is no good, unless you go out today and check things out – take action to give the cow a chance to perform at their best in 2019. MANAGE COSTS DOWN: X Because income will be down €300-500 per cow in 2018, it is vital that between now and Xmas farmers become extremely cost conscious without adversely affecting personal health, cow health and future profit performance. • Meal is far more expensive than grazed grass or silage. 2.75 Sil Restr. Sil ad-lib Sil + 1 Kg Sil + 2 Kg > 3.0 Restr. Restr. Ad-lib Sil + 1 Kg Table 1: recommendations for dry cow feeding based on body condition score and silage quality 52 X From Table 1 there are 3 analytical tasks that must be done: 1. BCS all cows through a crush, 2. Get silage analysed for DMD and minerals so you know the quality of your feed, 3. Check cows’ calving dates so that you know your target feed time. X This means feeding cows in batches appropriate to