Milk yields fall with weather

4 July 1997

Milk yields fall with weather

MILK yields are dropping in some herds following the cold, wet, weather, and vets caution that low milk proteins and cold cow syndrome could be next to hit, especially in higher yielders.

"Cows standing about by the gate for several hours before milking wont be getting the energy they need," warns vet consultant Tony Andrews. "At this stage poor energy intakes wont affect yield, but condition loss and low proteins will be an indication of things are going wrong."

Dr Andrews suggests giving high yielders the option to come inside to eat a forage buffer or concentrates while the wet continues.

"High yielders are most at risk, especially those in early lactation, and will need watching closely."

Dr Andrews suspects that cold cow syndrome – more typical when cows are grazing lush spring grass – could also start to affect some cows. David Whitaker, of Edinburgh Vet School, has reports of some cases already.

"We believe its an acute carbohydrate poisoning – caused by eating huge amounts of soluble carbohydrates in lush grass."

He advises producers take affected cows off the field, and give any really sick animals – off their legs or unstable – a large dose of intravenous vitamin B1. "The soluble sugar poisoning destroys this vitamin, causing the cows to lose control of temperature and co-ordination."n

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