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TRANSITION CYCLE

 
DRY COW MANAGMENT

Udder infections during the dry period can be minimised by events at drying-off. The aim is to shut down milk secretion and seal the teat canal as rapidly as possible - this sealing usually takes about two weeks. Research has shown that virtually all new infections occur in quarters where the teat canal has not sealed (AHI).

Calving dates are crucial for planning dry period, dry cow tube withdrawal and vaccinations for scour prevention.

 

In addition HerdInsights gives you valuable information such as resting time, feeding behaviour and activity levels and will generate a health alert directly to you phone if we see a negative variation in these behaviours

Dry cow management is a key factor in the management of your dairy herd as management of animals during this period will determine how they perform throughout their subsequent lactation. The following table shows an estimated cost of illness during the lactation period in an average herd of 100 cows:

Benefits of early intervention

Easier Calving

Improved Milk Yield

Better Fertility

HerdInsights enables the farmer to maintain accurate drying off and calving dates and monitors your cows 24/7 – why is this important?

As cows near the end of lactation their milk quality changes i.e. levels of lactose decrease and SCC increases. Milk from low-producing cows may cause processing problems for some dairy products. Cows producing less than 9 L/day may have an elevated somatic cell count even if uninfected. They may contribute to a higher bulk tank SCC (especially in seasonal herds), even though their milk volume is low.

Metabolic disorders can invariably be prevented by ensuring the best possible dietary balance and particularly careful management of cows at drying off, during the dry period and in early lactation. Approximately 60% of all early lactation mastitis cases originate in the dry period. It is important to make the correct decisions about Dry Cow Therapy to avoid the costs associated with increased mastitis next year. Dry Cow Therapy is used for several reasons including:

  1. Curing sub-clinical infections

  2. Preventing mastitis during the Dry period

  3. Reducing mastitis at calving

 
POST-PARTUM HEALTH

Stress from metabolic problems may decrease the cow’s resistance and compromise immune system function. If these diseases are not prevented, very costly consequences in the animals reproductive, milk production areas will occur.  Many of these disorders do not stand alone the occurrence of one tends to lead to the risk of another componding the overall cost

All these disorders have a knock-on effect on fertility and it can take many months for the reproductive system to recover. Lets take a look at one of the more common disorders Ketosis which most commonly occurs in the first 2 weeks post calving and can be associated with significant economic losses:

HerdInsights, monitor each individual cows resting, grazing/feeding behaviours and their general activity levels as a result this ensures:

  • All postpartum cows are examined daily during the time when they are most susceptible to disease

  • Early intervention with the correct treatment to the correct diagnostics.

HerdInsights has 100% focus on each individual cows feeding, resting and activity behaviours and by combining these metrics to generate an individual cows specific health index sends an alert directly to the farmers phone.

 

Each trait can be viewed and evaluated easily and simply on your phone or tablet.  By isolating the cow you are able to give 100% focus on the individual animal and take a rectal temperature.

What is Ketosis?

Often characterised by a pear drop like smell on the breath, ketosis commonly occurs as the result of a severe early lactation energy gap. The mobilisation of large amounts of body fat in the liver, in an attempt to bridge the shortfall, can lead to toxic levels of ketones accumulating in the blood, milk and urine. This results in a loss of appetite and a marked fall in milk yield. 

 

Ketosis can occur when cows in late pregnancy do not obtain sufficient energy to meet their increased nutritional requirement.

What are the signs?

  • Reduced Feed Intake

  • Reduced Milk Production

  • Noticeable weight loss in a short period

  • Measureable elevations of Ketone body concentrations in all body fluids

What are the effects?

  • ​Reduced Milk Production

  • Increased LDA's

  • Impaired immune function - metritis, Mastitis

  • Impaired Preproduction performance

  • Increased risk of early lactation culling

Cost Implications

A single case of ketosis alone can reduce a cows yield by as much as 400 litres and when you take into account additional costs ketosis alone can cost you €180 and add up to 22 days to your calving interval, additional costs include:

Financial Costs

  • Vet + Treatments

  • Farmers time

  • Reduced Milk Yield

  • Milk withdrawal

Physical Losses

  • Yield Loss

  • More dead cows

  • More cows culled

  • Time