Tips for an optimal energy balance during dry-off periods
In the coming weeks, we will discuss the most important points of attention around energy and metabolism in four separate articles together with our Technical Specialists. The fact that energy is important for your herd is probably clear to you, but how do you optimise energy levels during the dry-off period? In this third article we will elaborate on dry-off periods.
Energy is very important for a cow and is the fuel for the body. The available energy is distributed based on priority processes. Therefore, if there is too little energy intake or energy is allocated to health challenges, there will be consequences. Think of reduced performance in terms of production, growth, fertility and immunity. We would like to discuss with you what you can do around dry-off periods and give you some tips below.
Make two groups of dry cows
A tool for this is to make two groups of dry cows.
- Far-off groep, which ensures that the animals receive a ration rich in structure and low in energy.
- Closeup group, these animals have a higher energy need. This is because during the last three weeks of dry-off, the growth of the calf and the preparation for the transport of antibodies to the colostrum gets under way.
“By feeding the animals in this way, you give them optimum support in terms of energy management, which contributes positively to their liver function, among other things. In the event of an energy shortage, body fats are mobilised to make up for it. Ketones are formed or, if the body fats are not burnt properly, fats are even stored in the liver. This affects liver function. As a result, the liver can produce less glucose through gluconeogenesis. This means that these cows will be impacted by an energy shortage at an increasingly rapid rate and will be less able to use their rations efficiently. Due to the constant pressure on the energy level, these cows will face more health challenges. Bacteria then have a greater opportunity to multiply and form biofilms, which means that the supply of bacteria becomes ever greater. This happens in the udder, uterus, lungs and in the rest of the body. A good supply of energy during dry-off periods therefore offers the ideal preparation for a good, consistent lactation of a healthy cow” according to Siobhan Regan, AHV Vet UK & Ireland.
Fast- or slow-release need of energy?
Looking at the needs of the cow, there is a choice between the fast-acting or gradual-acting AHV Booster solutions. The AHV Booster Powder, which is applied by drenching, is quickly and directly absorbed into the blood and works within a few minutes. It increases the energy level as well as optimising the functioning of the rumen. The same effect can be ascribed to AHV Booster Paste. It also acts quickly due to its absorption through the cheek mucosa. The advantage of the Booster Paste is that it can always be used, even when drenching is not an option for the cow or the farmer. However, the Booster Powder contains more energy and other active substances and drinking has the added advantage that moisture is supplied and the rumen is filled. This will stimulate the cow to start eating again, in cooperation with the active substances.
In addition to the Powder and Paste, AHV also has a Booster Tablet. This tablet dissolves in the rumen and then enters the bloodstream via the rumen wall. This process takes a little longer, but on the other hand it has a longer effect. This is because it gradually releases its active substances into the blood via the rumen wall. The Booster Tablet also has a positive influence on the liver. After the tablet has been administered, the second motor of the body, the liver, can once again do its work better. This means that it can better filter undesirable substances from the body, leaving more room for the release of energy. This means that the energy from the ration can be better utilised.
Would you like to know more about this topic and how AHV can contribute to it? Please fill in the form below or contact our advisors directly.
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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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