DAIRY producers in danger of exceeding quota should avoid making sudden changes to rations.
"When changing diets do so gradually," warns Dr Andrews.
He reports on increased acidosis in dairy cows across the country where producers have been changing feed levels in response to quota.
Concentrates have been cut to reduce yield and straw fed to bulk up the diet. But the extra fibre in the ration has increased milk fat .
"Producers have responded by taking straw from the diet and replacing it with other low energy feeds such as brewers grains or sugar beet pulp. However, says Dr Andrews, these still offer more energy than the cow was used to, and the change is enough to trigger acidosis." Early lactation animals the most vulnerable and he advises watching for sweet-smelling diarrhoea and dehydration.
• More in next weeks Stock Health Update.