Feeding in calf cows

November 15, 2020

Ensuring suckler cows are fed the correct micronutrients in the run-up to calving is vital to ensure cow and calf health isn’t compromised. Winter rations which are mostly forage are common in spring calving herds, this is where deficiencies are likely to occur.

Feed supplementation plays a vital role within the cows diet, deficiencies can create major health issues for both cow and calf.

Issues seen for the cow are slow & difficulty calving, retained foetal membranes, milk fevers, calf death and a delayed onset of future cycling. Deficiencies during pregnancy will compromise calves performance over their lifetime, a weakened immune system can present itself in the form of increased susceptibility to scour, pneumonia, navel and joint ill.

Colostrum & milk qualities/quantities play a massive role in strengthening the calves immune system. Adequate protein & energy of the cows diet is essential for high colostrum volume and quality. Good quality colostrum contains a strong antibody content, poor nutrition of the dam lowers the calf’s adsorption of antibodies from the colostrum. Colostrum quality starts being determined 6 weeks pre calving, this is when transfer of antibodies from the cows blood into the colostrum starts, maximal transfer is seen in the last 2 weeks pre calving.

Davidsons Animal Feeds “Energiser Excel Roll” is a pre & post calving roll. The Energiser Excel roll offers the perfect inclusion of top quality raw materials and mineral package, by feeding this to your suckler cows it will help combat any deficiencies within the diet.

A high inclusion of soya provides the highest levels of digestible UN-degradable protein (DUP). DUP increases both the quality and quantity of colostrum available to the calf, thus improving the calves immune system in-turn decreasing calf mortality and health problems.

A triple starch formulation of Maize, Barley & Wheat achieves optimum rumen balance. With Maize being a top ingredient it provides bypass starch, thus offering a high energy diet which gives the cow high levels of energy at crucial periods e.g. calving & late pregnancy.

The excellent mineral package contains our Live Yeast (Levucell SC Titan) & Selplex (Selenium enriched yeast)/Bioplex (Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Iron and Cobalt):

Levucell SC Titan – Titan is a unique protective coating designed to allow the addition of Levucell SC to compounded feeds, the objective of the Titan is to remain “alive & active” from the manufacturing plant to the ruminants digestive tract. Many benefits have been proven from using the Levucell SC Titan but the main one for suckler cows is 10% improvements in feed conversion rates, meaning the cow is utilising her diet more efficiently thus lowering the costs of the overall diet.

Selplex & Bioplex – Selplex is Selenium enriched yeast, by feeding both Bioplex & Selplex it is proven by study that conceptions rates are improved to 65.2% from 57.7% compared to cows on the control diet. Studies have also shown a reduction in days to 1st service, the cows being fed Bioplex & Selplex were 1 week quicker to service than the cows on the control diet. The Selplex yeast also provides a plentiful supply of selenium which is a vital requirement in colostrum quality and calve vigour & health.

Adam Smellie

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