UK Dairy Day 2018: New tools and products for farmers

UK Dairy Day welcomed thousands of visitors to the Telford International Centre on Wednesday 12 September for the annual industry event and cattle show.

In the show ring, the Holstein triumphed with Davlea Bradnick Alicia, from Bryn, Ian and Max Davies, Illminster, Somerset scopping the interbreed title.

And on the trade stands, hundreds of companies got to showcase their latest tools and products. Here are a few of the key releases.

Boehringer Ingelheim released new mineral supplement for drying-off

Boehringer Ingelheim has launched Bovikalc® Dry, an oral mineral supplement to help support the drying-off process in dairy cows.

Bovikalc Dry® joins original Bovikalc (a calcium bolus used to reduce the risk of milk fever) to extend the range from Boehringer Ingelheim.

The dry period is a crucial resting period in a dairy cow’s lactation cycle, giving the udder the opportunity to repair and regenerate between lactations, but the drying-off process can be a difficult, uncomfortable and stressful period.

Cows may still be producing considerable amounts of milk and the accumulation of milk in the mammary gland can lead to udder distention and engorgement. 

Discomfort from udder distension during drying-off may cause reduced lying time, with cows resting for shorter periods in an attempt to relieve pressure on the udder. It is also a high-risk period for mastitis, particularly in high-yielding cows.  

Bovikalc Dry helps support the natural decrease in milk production at the end of a lactation cycle, helping to reduce udder engorgement and the associated discomfort.

Trials in Spain on a herd of 150 cows, milked year round, found cows treated with the bolus let down for 85 minutes more than those untreated.

Another trial, carried out in an 80-cow herd, found milk yield reduced by 10% within 10 hours of the boluses being administered to cows.

How it works

The bolus contains the anionic salts ammonium chloride, calcium chloride and calcium sulphate, which are believed to reduce glucose transfer into the udder.

Recommendations for use

Cows should receive two boluses, orally, which dissolve within 30 minutes in the rumen, where the anionic salts are released and then absorbed. 

The boluses should be given at drying-off or 12 hours before drying off.


A box of four boluses costs £25 ­– equivalent oto £12.50 a cow a year – and are available through vets.

AHDB Dairy and the University of Nottingham release mastitis pattern tool

A tool has been developed that produces a farm-specific mastisis pattern as part of AHDB Dairy’s research partnership with the University of Nottingham.

Preventing and managing mastitis is critical on every dairy farm, as it can be a costly issue with negative welfare implications.

Four of the six Ruma antibiotics reduction targets set for the dairy industry are mastitis-related, highlighting the importance of its control.

In terms of control, one size does not fit all, according to Professor Martin Green from the University of Nottingham.

“The question we need to ask is ‘When are new infections occurring?” he told attendees.

Some farms have seasonal differences and different groups of cows.

Prof Green said for half of farms in the country, the dry period is when new infections are occurring, but mastitis needs tackling in different ways depending on whether it is a dry or lactating issue, environmental or contagious.

How it works

Farmers can upload milk recording data or records of somatic cell counts and clinical mastitis and the algorithm of the tool will analyse that data to produce a herd mastitis pattern for the farm.

The tool will show the current (past three months), recent (six months) and historic (up to a year) levels of different types of mastitis, including:

  • Contagious lactating period
  • Contagious dry period
  • Dry period environmental
  • Lactating period environmental
  • Specific heifer management
  • Clinical mastitis recurrence

A traffic light coding system indicates the severity of the problem to indicate where farmers need to focus.

It is recommended that farmers then work with their own vet or an AHDB Dairy-approved mastitis control plan deliverer in order to address problem areas.


The tool is free to download from the AHDB Dairy website.

If farmers wish to speak to a mastitis plan deliverer – who is qualified to deliver the AHDB Dairy mastitis control plan – there will be a charge. To receive a list of trained plan deliverers in a given area, producers can email detailing their location.

Screen grab of inGENEIOUS site

NMR launches ‘smart’ tool for analysing genetic and genomic information

NMR has launched its new herd analysis tool inGENEious to allow producers to analyse the herd’s genetic data online.

Available to all milk-recorded herds, inGENEious can interpret the herd’s up-to-date genetic and genomic data and provide a more accurate breeding strategy.

How it works

InGENEious is available through NMR’s Herd Companion, a web-based dairy management system, and is free of charge to NMR-recorded herds. 

Once logged in to Herd Companion, producers can access the latest inGENEious module and see their herd status, benchmark animals against AHDB national averages and view and compare genetic trends.

Producers can also:

  • Set their own goals and targets – perhaps ranking cows on PLI and key PTAs where they identify improvements could be made in offspring from specific animals.
  • Arrange cows for mating into three groups – green, amber and red. The green group may be cows to breed to sexed semen or a dairy bull, the amber group might be those to breed to a beef bull and the red group with cows not to breed from.
  • This information can be used for discussions with breeding advisers and considered when formulating the herd’s breeding strategy and therefore can help manage semen requirements.

Genetic data, PLIs and PTAs are updated three times a year and the results of new genomic tests are published monthly, directly to each herd’s inGENEious system.

For more information go to the Herd Companion site

Holstein UK tissue bank to improve ancestry records

Holstein UK (HUK) has launched an approved registered cattle scheme to create a “tamper-proof tissue bank” to provide evidence of the ancestry of animals registered into the herd book.

Under the scheme, members will be able to submit a tissue vial at the point of tagging, along with parentage information.

HUK can then pass the necessary information on to the British Cattle Movement Services (BCMS), so it can issue the cattle passport and avoid duplication, at no extra cost.

The tissue bank will provide access to each animal’s DNA for use in genomic evaluation and parentage verification, allowing records to be accurately matched to ancestry, health testing and milk recording.

The scheme is available for pedigree registered cattle entering the Holstein and British Friesian herd book. However, there is ambitions to roll the scheme out to all other dairy and beef breeds.

Holding DNA and parentage information of animals destined for slaughter adds an enormous amount of value to the supply chain and enables purchasers and processors assurance and full traceability, said Lizzie Bonsall, Holstein UK identification quality manager.

Members can purchase tags from Monday 1 October. For prices and orders call the membership services team on 01923 695 200.