Thursday, 10 August 2023 12:55

Minerals crucial in wet weather

Written by  Staff Reporters
GrainCorp Feeds technical feed partner Ken Winter warns of increased lameness and higher levels of mastitis. GrainCorp Feeds technical feed partner Ken Winter warns of increased lameness and higher levels of mastitis.

Correct mineral supplementation will be crucial as wet weather and sodden soils increase the risk of cow lameness and mastitis this spring.

While NIWA’s seasonal outlook for July-September 2023 predicts near normal or below normal rainfall for the North Island, dairy farmers are advised to be proactive about managing the mineral status of their herds to maintain cow health.

This winter has seen unprecedented wet weather, and in many areas, soils are saturated, says GrainCorp Feeds technical feed partner Ken Winter.

“If this type of weather continues into the spring, it could lead to increased lameness and higher levels of mastitis.”

North Island farmers are starting spring calving, and the stage for success or mediocracy is being set by the simple choices and actions they make right now, says Winter.

“There is no instant fix for lameness, but making sure the mineral status of your herd is optimum, arming and improving the immune system, all comes from being proactive. A review done by scientists in Germany has shown that in particular, copper, zinc, selenium, and biotin are crucial in the keratinisation process, which ensures healthy hoof growth.”

It is also important to supplement cows with the correct amount of magnesium to help with the absorption and distribution of calcium. Research has shown that lame cows had significantly lower levels of magnesium in the hoof wall when compared to control cows with no lameness issues.

“A herd’s mineral status can not only help strengthen cow hooves and improve udder health, but also improve production. If you start early enough and keep their mineral status at an optimum level, you can also help avoid unnecessary losses in production and reduce health costs and animal losses.”

Winter says getting cows up to peak milk as high and as quickly as possible, while losing the least amount of body condition, is all about lifting the ceiling on potential production.

This starts with reducing cows’ negative energy balance at calving and being proactive. Getting cows to perform more efficiently can help water down costs and improve profitability.

“It’s all about the attention to detail every day and it starts now.”

Winter believes that with higher costs and the possibility of a lower payout, one of the biggest risks for dairy farmers is making poor decisions based on trying to reduce costs.

“Reducing spending in the wrong areas can ultimately cost you more in the long run,” he says.

“Having a plan with an expected outcome allows you to calculate backwards to see where and what you need to spend and in what areas you should invest to give you the best returns.”

More like this

Farmers fined for cattle abuse

A Waikato cattle farming family have been fined $23,000 for failing to provide sufficient food and care for their animals, resulting in more than half a dozen animal deaths.

App trial yields promising results

An initial trial of an app, funded by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, has demonstrated significant results in reducing drench inputs during a small-scale study.

Setting calvers up for a top season

Ensuring autumn calvers are receiving a balanced ration of macro and micro minerals will go a long way to setting them up for a successful season.

Busybrook obsession pays off

The numbers suggest the cow families on offer at the upcoming Busybrook Holsteins sale in North Otago are as good as you’ll find anywhere.

Featured

Frontline biosecurity 'untouchable'

Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard has reiterated that 'frontline' biosecurity services within Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will not be cut under the Government's plan to reduce the public service.

Migrant farmer 'lets the side down'

An appalling case of migrant worker exploitation on a Southland farm isn't acceptable, says Federated Farmers dairy chair Richard McIntyre.

Milk price certainty

Westland Milk has reaffirmed its commitment to pay farmer suppliers 10c above Fonterra farm gate milk price for the following two seasons.

National

Share farmers with big plans

With only about eight weeks to go before their cows are dried off, the 2024 Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards Share…

Team effort brings results

For the team at Westmorland Estate Limited in Waikato, it has been another year of everyone working together to achieve…

Machinery & Products

New name, new ideas

KGM New Zealand, is part of the London headquartered Inchcape Group, who increased its NZ presence in August 2023 with…

All-terrain fert spreading mode

Effluent specialists the Samson Group have developed a new double unloading system to help optimise uphill and downhill organic fertiliser…

Can-Am showcases range

Based on industry data collected by the Motor Industry Association, Can-Am is the number one side-by-side manufacturer in New Zealand.

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Exploited by one of their own

OPINION: Milking It believes a recent Employment Relations Authority ruling on the exploitation of three migrant workers from Indonesia highlights…

'Not our fault!'

OPINION: Milking It wasn’t too surprised to hear Kiwis’ trust in media has sunk to a new low.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter