“New approach to animal health fits in with my breeding philosophy”
DANKO Hodowla Roślin Sp. z o.o. is a state-owned company currently part of the National Food Group under the Ministry of State Assets. The main direction of production is creative breeding of new plant varieties and breeding of dairy cattle. Dairy cattle breeding is carried out at 6 locations in Poland, for a total of 1,900 dairy cows.
Daniel Aleksander, who is a Zootechnician at the Lagiewniki Seed and Agricultural Institute, works with AHV and looks after a herd of 180 Holstein-Friesian Black and White dairy cows, which are housed in a modern free-stall barn built in 2015. The entire herd consists of female animals, while all bulls are sold at three weeks of age or less. The farm is geared towards selling milk and selling breeding stock in the form of in-calf heifers. Current actual milk production is 11500 litres, with parameters of 3.6% fat, 3.3% protein and 4.76% lactose. The animals are milked on a 2×7 fishbone type milking parlour from GEA.
AHV presented new solutions for running a healthy cattle farm
The cooperation with AHV started in December 2021. The cooperation was established after an AHV Farm Advisor visited and presented the animal health concept. At the moment we are using products on two levels. The first is dairy cows, here we actively use the AHV Udder Health Program to avoid challenges. The second is calves and here we use the AHV Digestive Program as a proactive approach.
I started using AHV Solutions because of udder health problems caused by environmental microorganisms. Frequent use of traditional methods often resulted in recurrent challenges and mechanical damage to the teats. In addition, reactive treatment with traditional methods was often done without supervision. I searched for a long time for a way to be less invasive. Previous experience with products from other companies did not make me optimistic about their effectiveness, hence my initial scepticism about AHV Solutions. However, after the first pack of 10 Extra Tablet, Quick Tablet and Aspi Liquid in 2021/2022, followed by another 10 two weeks later, there was a spark of hope that this time might be different. The first observations evoked mixed feelings, as some cows had a recurrence of challenges after 2 weeks, but the remaining animals, which responded very well to AHV Solutions, gave hope. After reviewing the history of animals with recurrent challenges, it became clear that these were older cows, and there was a gradual improvement after repeated administration of Extra and Quick Tablet.
Changes observed over months
The use of AHV Solutions over these past few months has virtually eliminated the use of the traditional methods to zero. The appropriate timing of the administration of the products suggested by the AHV Farm Advisor resulted in the inhibition of the development of challenges at an early stage. At this point it should also be mentioned that what we see in the udder is not always the result of challenges with the udder. Often, changes in the udder are the result of challenges in other parts of the cow’s body. It is not without reason that the literature talks about the uterus- udder-leg triangle or the effect of challenges of the digestive system on the rest of the body, among other things. Therefore, giving a cow a few solutions that promotes well-being and stimulates the immune system causes the beneficial effects to spread throughout the body, right down to the udder, so that we tackle the challenge at the cause.
I have to admit that the product is not cheap and considering the cost of purchase in my barn comes out to zero. However, given that there is no withdrawal period for milk and meat, the real gain is that my cows stay in production and I can continue to sell milk, which is crucial with a high-yielding herd that yields more than 40 litres per cow per day. This is a big advantage of AHV over traditional methods.
Streamlining work with AHV products
AHV has made it easier to organise work in such a way that the hired milking workers in my herd have minimal mechanical interference with the udder. This limited damage to the teats, including the teat canal and sphincter, has reduced the number of quarters inactivated in this way, as well as reducing working time in the barn for both the workers and the time spent at the cows’ milking stations. In addition, application is often one-off, which also reduces the number of moments of environmental stress associated with feeding in cows.
I would definitely recommend AHV Solutions to other farmers, especially in this day and age when the demands to reduce the use of traditional methods in animal husbandry are very high. Even if we could halve their use, it would be a success.
Personally, from the beginning of my career, I was looking for interesting and new solutions in husbandry that would make my job and that of my employees easier, to the benefit of the animals, hence the AHV approach was not something that required me to completely change my husbandry philosophy. Nevertheless, it took a while for the staff to gain confidence in the effectiveness of the products.
In the near future, the biggest challenge for my breeding will be to work on adequate herd immunity, as low somatic cell levels in the herd on the one hand are pleasing, but on the other hand pose new risks related to the ‘naivety’ of the herd, especially in terms of susceptibility to severe and returning udder health challenges caused by unfavourable bacteria.
Get in touch!
Would you like to be visited by an advisor to discuss the health challenges on your farm together? Our AHV Specialist will be happy to visit you to jointly assess the health of your cows and come up with appropriate cow-specific advice.
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