News & Advice

Is the herd on track?

Dec 4, 2018 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare, Farm systems

With this spring’s mating almost over now, it is a good time to start planning how you are going to maximise cow production and maintain or gain cow body condition score (BCS) through the rest of lactation. 
The use of supplements and summer crops to complement summer pasture is vital to ensure the herd remains in good shape in the post-Christmas period. 
In situations where cow BCS is below target, or feed is short, once a day (OAD) milking can be an excellent option. 
Dairy NZ trial work found that OAD post-Christmas is generally worth 0.25BCS gain over the rest of lactation with a 10% loss of production over this period. On farms with long walking distances, OAD may actually improve production. If considering putting the entire herd on OAD, then your BTSCC needs to be below 200,000 on twice a day beforehand to avoid potential grading issues. 
Early scanning is another option that can be used to identify culls. 
This is best done 12 to 14 weeks after the start of mating (i.e. December through to early January). This information can also be very useful in determining appropriate dry off dates later in the season. 
Maintaining body condition is a lot more efficient than losing it and having to play catch up. Anexa FVC has Body Condition Scoring certified Vets who can provide an accurate independent assessment of your herd and advise on feed budgeting if required. It is ultimately not only good for your cows but also for your bank balance to be proactive in monitoring and addressing issues with herd body condition over the coming months. 

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