28 February 1997

Trouble now after dairy feed cuts

MILK producers who have reduced feed quality or quantity in an attempt to meet quota are now seeing the effects, according to independent vet consultant Tony Andrews.

He reports that vet visits for infertility and metabolic disorders such as milk fever and acetonaemia have increased on units not feeding cows adequately.

Other cows are being dried off early to reduce output in this quota year. These cows should be dried off in the correct condition for calving, ideally 2.5-3. But some cows have become overfat this winter because the silage is higher in energy and concentrates have not been reduced.

Cows that are overfat can be slimmed in the early part of the dry period, but seek advice from your vet or nutritionist, he adds.

"The longer the dry period, provided it is properly managed, the higher the yield in the next lactation," says Dr Andrews.

"And the longer antibiotic dry cow therapy is in the cow the more likely staph aureus will be killed off."