The Key To Milk Production… Is Keeping The Calf Conveyor Belt Moving.

2nd March 2023

Fertility is one of the key performance indicators (KPI) on dairy farms to ensure a constant milk supply. Dr David Johnston evaluates some of the cornerstones of a productive and fertile herd, and how the Fane Valley Feeds Dairy range is tailored to suit every system.

The Pre Breeding Period, normally within the first 50-100 days post-partum is often when cows are building milk yields towards peak, potentially recovering from negative energy balance, and also expected to hold to service. The importance of providing the cows with a high-energy dense diet to tip the balance towards positive energy is the foundation of Fane Valley Feeds dairy range.                    

Fane Valley Feeds’ Dairy range focuses primarily on glucogenic feeding and is based on a high proportion of cereal which provides increased starch levels that are the precursors of glucose production. Quite often in the case of both cystic cows anda instances of twins, poor energy balance is usually the cause. Feeding the cow in early-mid lactation with a high-energy ration containing protected fats will facilitate higher progesterone production and allows for greater egg and embryo development.

In order to maximise the impact of high-energy rations, a more focused feeding approach should be applied in early lactation until after conception. The importance of a good transition cow program is imperative for the first 30 days post-partum. Holding the feed curve to 100 days in milk helps to bridge the gap to positive energy balance throughout the breeding window.

With this feeding strategy, Fane Valley Feeds has demonstrated on farm pregnancy rates of 30% (UK avg. 14%), 12 month herd conception rates of 42% (UK Avg. 27%) and in excess of 70% for 12 month submission rates averages.

On many farms there is a desire to go to feed to yield at 50 – 60 days, but Dr Johnston would argue this is in the middle of the fertility window, and drastic changes in diet should be limited. Once the cows are confirmed in calf (PD+), feed to yield should be fully incorporated to maximise the use of forage.

In order for the rumen to fully utilise a high glycogenic ration, Fane Valley Feeds’ Dairy range is equipped with effective rumen buffers. The addition of Acid Buf and Actisaf yeast, have shown to increase feed efficiency, improve forage utilisation with a return on investment of 8-1 in cases.

For any more information or technical support to get your fertility strategy correct this spring, please contact Dr David Johnston on 079 2986 5118 or your local Fane Valley Feeds Sales Specialist.