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 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 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