Moving from Reactive to Proactive Animal Health
Waikato dairy farmer Bruce Bayes, reflects on his first full season using AHV products and advice to support the productivity of his herd. The 2022-2023 dairy season was tough for animal health across the North Island with wet weather leading to udder, feet and fertility challenges. AHV was there to support.
Lyn and Bruce Bayes milk 500 Holstein Friesian cows on their 200 hectare farm in Horahora. They have a large focus on animal health and welfare and this comes through in their production. They start calving early July for their spring calving herd. They have 3 full time staff and know their calves are their future cows, so they treat them very well.
“This was the first season in 10 or 12 years where we had heifers coming in with udder challenges,” Bruce explains. “It was just that wet and muddy.”
“Picking udder challenges early is really important, but I find with cows given the AHV boluses don’t experience that lag,” Bruce mentions. “They pick themselves up in a day or two and keep milking away.”
Data from a herd on the South Island shows that milk production levels after an udder challenge returned to normal twice as quickly with AHV solutions when compared to traditional methods. This quicker recovery of milk production contributes to AHV being the go-to solution. The entire season Bruce relied on traditional methods for managing udder health challenges only three times.
After Christmas, Bruce normally would have moved cows to once-a-day milking (OAD), but with the abundance of grass this past summer the herd carried on twice-a-day (TAD).
Bruce mentions, “Normally I would have dried off a cow in the second half of the season if she had an udder challenge, but with the AHV boluses I could keep milking her.”
AHV udder health solutions are new, unique and innovative oral feed supplements including plant based, proprietary ingredients that support udder challenges with no milk or meat withholding allowing the farmer to keep milk in the vat and lower risks of contaminating the vat with milk from cows using traditional methods.
The wet season was a major cause of feet challenges for herds, Bruce’s included.
“Early this year (2023) we saw more feet challenges than normal,” Bruce states.
Bruce used three AHV’s boluses to support the recovery of his cows, AHV Quick, AHV Aspi and AHV Booster. This combination helps the cow maintain normal activity while providing energy to recover.
“While cows were recovering, they could still be milked in the vat, it’s a benefit” Bruce explains.
Moving to Proactive Animal Health
After promising results with the AHV Udder Health protocol, AHV NZ’s Managing Director, Janneke van Wagtendonk identified other areas of benefit to the Bayes farm. Getting cows in calf was the top priority. The last 60 cows to calve were given AHV Opti Bolus and AHV Milk Start Paste directly after calving (AHV’s proactive Fertility Protocol)
The results speak for themselves.
“Those last 60 cows, we only had 6 turn up empty when we pregnancy checked, a 10% empty rate,” Bruce said. “Normally I would have expected 15 to 20 empties from the late cows as they only have one shot at getting back in calf.”
Janneke explains, “cows given Opti Bolus and Milk Start Paste are naturally supported to start their lactation with less uterine health and energy challenges. Milk Start Paste gets a cow eating fast, which supports the Opti bolus and helps close her energy and mineral gaps sustainably. Our data shows these cows begin cycling 36 days earlier than their herd mates, giving them more opportunities to get in calf, proactively supporting their fertility.”
AHV’s proactive fertility protocol helped to get more cows in calf; and in calf one week earlier on average in a New Zealand demonstration. Overseas data show more milk in the first 21 days as well as fewer uterine health challenges.
For the season ahead, Bruce will be giving the entire herd the Opti Bolus and Milk Start Paste at calving to give the herd a better start to fertility and lactation.
“Moving to a proactive fertility approach across the herd is the biggest opportunity for our season ahead,” Bruce states. “I see this as a tool to get more cows in calf, condensing my calving and leading to more days of milk in the following lactation.”
Bruce is already considering future implications on his farm system with getting more cows in calf earlier and the impact on feed availability in early spring. A more condensed calving pattern would allow him to push back his planned start of mating/calving for future years.
“Partnering with farmers and providing new tools to proactively support animal health opens doors to doing things better; improving herd longevity which will positively impact your bottom line as a farm,” Janneke highlights. “AHV is here to support your goals.”
AHV (Animal Health Vision) is the global leader in quorum sensing-powered animal health solutions and advisory services; giving #PowerToTheFarmer to optimise their animal health. Since starting in New Zealand February 2022, AHV has tailored a range of protocols to New Zealand farming challenges to power herd longevity, productivity and profitability. Reach out to your local Territory Manager or call AHV New Zealand at 0800 424 869 to learn more about how AHV can support your farm.
These products are mentioned by Bruce:
AHV Quick Bolus
AHV Extra Bolus
AHV Booster Bolus
AHV Opti Bolus
AHV Milk Start Paste
AHV Aspi Bolus
Get in touch!
Would you like to be visited by an Territory Manager to discuss the health challenges on your farm together? Our AHV Territory Manager will be happy to visit you to jointly assess the health of your cows and come up with appropriate farm-specific advice.
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