23 October 1998

Disorders rise in mild

MILD autumn weather, allowing dry cows to continue grazing, is responsible for increases in metabolic disorders such as milk fever in fresh calvers, according to Cheshire dairy vet Neil Howie.

He is seeing more cows with metabolic disorders – ketosis, poor appetite and displaced abomasums – and this may be causing increases in environmental mastitis, retained cleansings and cold cow syndrome. Herds suffering metabolic disorders now are also likely to experience more infertility this winter, says Mr Howie.

"Where you want to make more use of grass, consider bringing cows in a few weeks before calving to avoid metabolic upsets – even when they will go out to graze again after calving. Otherwise these cows will struggle."

Bringing them in allows a pre-calving ration and adequate minerals to be fed. Extra care is also needed post-calving, he adds.

Also, watch for cold cow syndrome. This occurs when cows are turned on to frosted wet grass, he warns. Affected cows go down, have a very low temperature and scour, and may also have milk fever symptoms.