Boosting Milk Yield: AHV Field Trials Show Promising Returns with Our Booster Tablet Protocol
The transition period (3 weeks before and 3 weeks after calving) is a stressful time for dairy cows and has a crucial effect on the cow’s productive life and fertility. During this period, promoting a well-functioning rumen is essential for increased nutrient utilisation and energy conversion. This determines overall cow health in the period around calving (Zebeli et al., 2015). With the AHV Booster range, we prepare the rumen and liver towards optimal metabolism as well as supply energy and essential nutrients during this crucial phase of the cow calendar.
Field Trialling the AHV Booster Tablet
The aim of this field trial was to demonstrate the effects of the AHV Booster Tablet on milk yield and rumination in the first 100 days of production.
AHV Booster Tablet was administered according to the expected and actual calving date. The trial setup for the groups were as follows:
Energy is crucial for various aspects in the cows life, including milk synthesis, maintenance of body functions, and heat expression. It was hypothesised that the Booster Tablet would support rumen and liver function prior to calving and lead to increased milk yields and rumination post calving.
Results – The Effects of AHV Booster Tablet on Milk Yield
Milk yield was recorded daily from day 3 to day 100 in lactation (milk was withheld for calves day 1 and 2). All revenue calculations assuming milk price £0.35/kg. Average lactation curves for each group are shown in Figure 1.
Cows in Group 1 (Booster Tablet day -14 and +7) averaged 1,073 kg more milk during the first 100 days compared to Group 4 (Competitor bolus), which led to an average revenue benefit of £375.55 per cow*.
Similarly, Group 2 (Booster Tablet day -14 and +30) averaged 1,054 kg more milk than Group 4, with average revenue benefit of £368.90 per cow. Group 3 (Booster Tablet day +7 only) averaged 506 kg more milk (revenue benefit £177.10 per cow) than Group 4. These findings for Group 3 highlight the impact of a single Booster Tablet post-calving. At the same time, they show this impact may be doubled by also giving a Booster Tablet 14 days prior to calving.
The greatest milk yield (and consequently revenue benefit) was clearly observed when cows received Booster Tablet both before and after calving. This further demonstrates the importance of supporting rumen and liver function pre-calving and the benefits to cow energy balance, production performance and profitability in the following lactation.
Figure 1: Average lactation curves for each group during the first 100 days in milk.
Results –The Effects of AHV Booster Tablet on Rumination
Figure 2 shows average rumination before and after calving for each group. Pre-calving, Groups 1 and 2 had higher average daily rumination than Groups 3 and 4.
Before calving, Group 1 cows averaged 13 additional hours of rumination compared to Group 4. Similarly, Group 2 cows spent 12.4 additional hours ruminating compared to Group 4. However, Group 3 showed negligible difference in rumination time (within the margins of error) compared to Group 4. Adding approximately one hour per day of rumination by ‘boosting’ the cows in the period 14 days before calving demonstrates that the rumen is likely to be much better prepared for lactation.
This may also be important for calf growth, the majority of which occurs in the last 2 weeks of gestation. By ensuring adequate energy supply and good rumen function, the cow will be more likely to meet her own energy requirements and the increasing requirements of the rapidly growing calf (Alharthi et al., 2021).
After calving, Group 1 (which, as well as a Booster Tablet at Day -14, had received another Booster Tablet very early in lactation), had the highest average daily rumination. There was little difference between the other groups.
Figure 2: Average rumination time for each of the four groups
Prioritising the health of the rumen and liver before calving is a strategic move that not only enhances the well-being of individual cows but also has a substantial positive effect on the dairy operation’s bottom line.
- AHV Booster Tablet promotes proper rumen and liver function, leading to more efficient feed digestion and nutrient utilisation.
- Improved nutrient utilisation supports the cows energy balance during the high stress transition phase, reducing the risk of metabolic challenges and helping to set the cow up for better lactation.
- Subsequent increased milk yield contributes to a significant return on investment, benefiting long-term production and herd longevity.
The AHV Booster range is part of the AHV Energy & Metabolism, Udder Health and Transition Program. If you would like more information on how you can support the energy balance of your herd, please fill in the contact form below or contact you AHV Consultant directly.
Alharthi, A. S., Coleman, D. J., Alhidary, I. A., Abdelrahman, M. M., Trevisi, E., & Loor, J. J. (2021). Maternal body condition during late-pregnancy is associated with in utero development and neonatal growth of Holstein calves. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40104-021-00566-2
Zebeli, Q., Ghareeb, K., Humer, E., Metzler-Zebeli, B. U., & Besenfelder, U. (2015). Nutrition, rumen health and inflammation in the transition period and their role on overall health and fertility in dairy cows. Research in Veterinary Science, 103, 126–136. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2015.09.020
AHV Energy & Metabolism
A good energy level is the basis of good milk production, resistance and fertility. The AHV Energy & Metabolism Programme supports your animals’ natural resistance and energy balance for optimal productivity and reproduction.
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