Why is energy so important for good fertility?
In this article, we look more closely at the energy level of the cow. If a cow is low on energy, this is a trigger for bacteria to grow and multiply and new biofilm can be created or bacteria can come out of their biofilm and attack. This is because the cow’s immune system is not fuelled adequately/strong enough so bacteria have time to work together to build biofilm and/or break out.
“At AHV we want to work proactively. The earlier you act the more it saves you in terms of time, costs and animal health. The most important thing for us is to put the cow back in her power, so that she can handle it herself”, says Bronwyn Sinclair, Territory Manager Otago.
Decreased immunity is an opportunity for bacteria
If a cow is well supplied with energy, this will have a positive impact on her milk yield, fertility, immunity, calving and your stress level as a dairy farmer.
“We like to look together with the farmer at the points of attention on the farm and how we can proactively address them. We do this by looking at the data available on the farm. We help farmers to understand their cows even better and keep them healthier.
Energy plays an important role in good fertility
Each phase of a cow’s life requires a different health approach. Sometimes less attention is paid to fertility which in NZ is the number one reason for culling. It takes energy for a cow to start an oestrus cycle after calving, to ovulate and especially to show her heat (a time when rumination goes down and activity goes up). In addition, we have known for some time that insemination between day 30 and 50 of lactation produces the highest quality egg.
In practice, we regularly see fertility challenges. These often originate from an energy challenge around calving or before heat. AHV have proactive solutions that can support a cow through transition, give her a great start of lactation and support her for optimal fertility. The two main options are the AHV Fertility Protocol or the AHV Transition/Fertility Health Plan.
The AHV Fertility Protocol consists of an AHV Opti Bolus and an AHV Milk Start Paste as soon as possible after calving, for healthy cows that have a normal calving. For cows with a difficult calving, we recommend adding an AHV Aspi bolus. The AHV Opti Bolus support the cow to clean up her uterus from unfavourable bacteria, support the expelling of the placenta as well as the start of a new oestrus cycle. The Milk Start paste gets a cow eating fast after calving, so she closes her energy and mineral gaps herself, sustainably (building on a high quality transition feed). It also supports the Opti Bolus with Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphor to assist with uterine contractions to expel the placenta and with a good dose of energy. Together they enable energy to flow to milk production and cycling instead of recovery. Benefits are:
- Significantly fewer cows with metabolic challenges
- Significantly fewer cows with uterine health challenges
- Significantly fewer non-cycling cows prior to the start of mating
- Cows come into milk faster and better (benefitting the entire lactation)
- Cows lose less BCS at the start of lactation
- Because cows are cycling well, a portion get pregnant pregnant about a week earlier after start of mating (a shift from week 3 to week 2 after SoM)
- Some farmers report lower empty rates, across their entire herd or for late calvers.
- Some farmers report better milk quality values, as bacteria stay in their biofilm when energy is good.
“Today, we have a number of farmers who give all of their cows our AHV Fertility protocol with great feedback”, says Bronwyn. “The next step up is our AHV Transition/Fertility Health Plan, where we recommend adding an AHV Booster bolus to the AHV Fertility protocol to prevent cows having energy challenges during early lactation. This bolus is preferably given 2 weeks prior to calving, when energy demand starts ramping up because of the fast growing calf. The bolus can also be given 1 week prior to calving or immediately after calving.”
“Animals in poor condition are not getting enough energy from the ration. The AHV Booster Bolus stimulates the cow to use the energy from the ration more efficiently. Repeating the AHV Booster bolus 1-2 weeks prior to the start of mating increases the chance of a successful ovulation and showing heat significantly. The chance of conception increases and general fertility improves.”
The Transition Health Plan also includes a Milk Start bolus, preferably given a day prior to calving, to assist uterine contractions (that need Calcium and Phosphor) and meet part of the growing mineral need of the cow.
It certainly pays off!
It is well known that the period around calving takes a lot of energy from the cow. During calving, she typically reduces her feed intake, and energy need is rapidly increasing: the calf is growing at its fastest in the last weeks of the dry period; calving or even premature, assisted or twin calvings; start of lactation; walking to and from the milking shed again and for heifers the need to ‘fight’ their way into the milking herd. A common observation made by AHV Territory Managers during farm visits is based on feed intake and especially the increase in energy requirements in the last two to three weeks before calving. This often appears to be a point of attention in the current management of dairy farms. When focusing on this, it certainly pays off!
“The most important thing is to timely support the cows to ensure good energy (and mineral) levels to help the cow perform optimally. We make sure that the cow stays strong, so that she herself is well prepared to take on the battle during a difficult period.” according to Bronwyn Sinclair.
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 opening 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:
AHV Opti Bolus
AHV Booster Bolus
AHV Milk Start 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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