You had more lame cows than you wanted last year
But that was because of the tracks and rain, right?
You can’t control the rain so you were going to fix the tracks in the dry period weren’t you. Pay-out is up, definitely keen to spend that $ …. However then you decided to milk into May and the weather didn’t play ball so those races… well they haven’t been fixed and we are looking down the barrel of a repeat of last year – sound familiar???
Well maybe under these circumstances you need to control what you can.
So what is that for me?
- Minimise the amount of time the cows are stood off – easy for us to say but come up with a plan B – it might be quite extreme (move them onto a new break, buy in feed so you can do that, milk OAD after calving to let your APC recover…), consider all the options and make a plan B NOW.
- Get the herd hoof trimmed – tidy up any problems now before you start
- If they are on concrete a lot consider getting rubber matting – yes expensive but so are sore feet
- Look after the heifers at calving – don’t make them stand off on concrete, don’t push them on concrete, and make sure they are trained to eat any supplements in any location required NOW (they won’t learn after calving).
- Be proactive finding the sore feet at calving (train the staff to locomotion score) – don’t let the numbers creep up on you; accept that it will happen (as you didn’t fix the races and sort it out!)
- Under no circumstances push the cows on the bad areas of race – what high risk areas can you see now and what can you do to cover up the problem (carpet/astro turf, rubber mats, sand, sawdust anything to get you through until Oct/Nov). If you’re not sure what to look for, get a Healthy Hoof trained provider from Anexa to provide you with a risk assessment for your farm.
- Most importantly make sure all staff including relief milkers understand the implications of the races not being fixed.
Prepare for the worst and be pleasantly surprised!