Why is energy important around calving?
The transition period (3 weeks before and 3 weeks after calving) is a stressful time for dairy cows and is crucial for the cow’s productive life and fertility. Promoting a well-functioning rumen in the transition period is essential for increased nutrient utilisation and energy conversion for the cow. This is important for overall health in the period around calving (Zebeli et al., 2015 ). With AHV Booster products, we support you and your animals during this process. We are happy to show you our results with the AHV Booster Bolus.
Demonstration of AHV Booster Bolus
The aim of this trial was to demonstrate the effects on animal health and performance when administering the AHV Booster Bolus. This was done in Ireland where cows are milked in pastoral and seasonal system, like New Zealand.
Results on milk yield
Milk production in cows is a complex biological process that requires substantial energy inputs. Energy is crucial for various aspects in the cows life including growth and development (especially for heifers), milk production, maintenance of body functions, fertility including showing of heat, physical activity and immune system activity to keep a cow healthy. Adequate energy availability is essential for optimizing milk yield and maintaining the cow’s overall health and productivity.
According to a study conducted by Nichols et al. (2019), energy is a limiting factor in milk production. The synthesis of milk components, such as lactose, fat, and protein, from nutrients obtained through the bloodstream requires significant energy expenditure. Insufficient energy intake can lead to reduced milk yield and compromised milk composition.
AHV Booster Bolus was administered based on the expected and actual calving date. The trial setup for the group was as follows:
- Group 1 – 14 cows: were given an AHV Booster Bolus 14 days before calving and 7 days after calving (AHV proactive energy support protocol).
- Group 2 – 9 cows: were given an AHV Booster Bolus 14 days before calving and 30 days after calving.
- Group 3 – 12 cows: received only an AHV Booster Bolus 7 days after calving.
- Group 4 – 16 cows: received a similar product from a competitor
The results of all groups were then compared with overall herd averages: Groups 1 and 2 showed a higher average milk yield (which received the AHV Booster Bolis both before and after calving). Cows in these groups had 9.14 kg more milk during the first 7 days (Figure 1). On this trial farm specifically, the cows in Group 1 had 1,085 kg more milk during the first 100 days in milk compared to Group 4. This led to €434.28 more milk yield earnings for the farmer (based on milk price of €0.40/kg). There was no clear benefit to milk yield when using the AHV Booster Bolus at 7 days after calving (Group 3). This emphasises the importance of using the proactive AHV protocol: 1x Booster Bolus within 2 weeks before calving and 1x Booster Bolus 1 week post-calving.
Fig 1. Four different lactation curves, from four different groups, showing the lactation yield after calving.
The AHV Booster Bolus is part of the Energy & Metabolism, Udder Health and Transition Programs and promotes good rumen function. When the rumen functions properly, feed is digested more efficiently, this gives better absorption and utilisation of nutrients. This is confirmed by the increased milk yields in groups 1 and 2. In addition, an increased milk yield during the start of lactation shows that the energy balance in these cows is good, which reduces the likelihood of challenges in the transition period.
Results on rumination activity
The results (Figure 2) show that average rumination activity before calving was higher in Groups 1 and 2. Cows that received Booster Bolus both before and after calving spent 0.83 hours longer ruminating per day post-calving compared to cows only receiving one Booster Bolus post-calving. It is important to promote good rumen function before calving, as the majority of calf growth occurs in the last three weeks of gestation. This means that the cow must have adequate access to nutrients and energy. This is to meet both her own needs and the increasing nutrient requirements of the fast-growing calf (Alharthi et al., 2021).
Fig 2. Average rumination activity for each of the four groups
What can we conclude from this?
The results of this trial show positive effects on milk yield, rumination and overall animal health and performance when AHV Booster Bolus is administered both before and after calving (Group 1+2).
Optimising milk yield benefits farm profitability, while improving the transition to lactation minimises the risk of metabolic challenges and promotes overall cow health. AHV aims to improve the overall health of cows at the beginning of lactation and tackle health risks. This is essential for maximising production and herd longevity.
The AHV Booster products are part of the AHV Energy & Metabolism, Udder Health and Transition Programs. Would you like to know what the products can do for the energy supply of your livestock? Then contact your Territory Manager.
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
Nichols, K. B., Van Laar, H., Bannink, A., & Dijkstra, J. (2019). Mammary gland utilization of amino acids and energy metabolites differs when dairy cow rations are isoenergetically supplemented with protein and fat. Journal of Dairy Science, 102(2), 1160–1175. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2018-15125
Rabiee, A., Lean, I. J., Stevenson, M., & Socha, M. (2010). Effects of feeding organic trace minerals on milk production and reproductive performance in lactating dairy cows: A meta-analysis. Journal of Dairy Science, 93(9), 4239–4251. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2010-3058
Wathes, D. C., Fenwick, M. J., Cheng, Z., Bourne, N., Llewellyn, S., Morris, D. L., Kenny, D. A., Murphy, J. B., & Fitzpatrick, R. (2007). Influence of negative energy balance on cyclicity and fertility in the high producing dairy cow. Theriogenology, 68, S232–S241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2007.04.006
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
This product is mentioned:
AHV Booster Bolus
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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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