Deficiences in profile testing
TAKING metabolic profiles from dairy cows now could highlight slight deficiencies in winter rations that may be affecting performance.
Independent vet consultant Tony Andrews suggests that checking metabolic profiles 10-14 days after making ration changes will identify major nutritional problems. But advocates a further check after two or three months to allow rations to be fine-tuned.
Profiles taken now would show the build-up of effects that may be responsible for cows not milking as they should, or for changes in condition score or infertility.
"Check a range of cows," says Dr Andrews. "Choose some fresh calvers that are under pressure just prior to peak lactation, some in mid-lactation and some near drying off. Avoiding any animals that are ill." These metabolic profiles must then be assessed alongside condition scores and ration details.
Allan White of Herd Care Consultancy claims that profiles from mid-lactation cows are showing signs of underfeeding. Samples show a fall in copper and selenium, and that mid-lactation cows are mobilising body fat to make-up energy deficits.
He advises rectifying nutritional imbalances to avoid compromising production, health and fertility.n