AHV (Animal Health Vision) Energy & Metabolism Program
By Hindrik Huitema, Product Manager Benelux
An engine needs fuel (energy) and once the fuel tank is empty it will have to be filled to get from A to B. It is no different for cows, a healthy dairy cow consumes about 8-12 meals a day in which she absorbs 18-25 kg of dry matter. Within 18-48 hours, the absorbed dry matter has passed through all four stomachs and intestines and is fully digested. The main organs for this energy management are the rumen and the liver.
Energy is needed for; maintenance, production, growth, reproduction, immunity, and thermoregulation. An energy deficit can lead to lowered immunity. This can create metabolic challenges that trigger bacteria. A cow with lowered resistance will have more health challenges compared to an animal with good resistance. An important parameter for dairy farmers is rumination activity. This gives an indication of the cow’s energy supply; the rumination activity indicates how healthy the cow is.
A dairy cow experiences several challenges during lactation in terms of energy and metabolism. The graph below (Figure 1) schematically shows energy intake, energy consumption, lactation curve and BCS (Body Condition Scoring) during lactation.
Figure 1: Energy balance of a lactating dairy cow
What is striking in figure 1 is that the energy deficit already occurs before day zero, i.e. during the cow’s dry period. One explanation for this is that the calf grows rapidly in the last two weeks of pregnancy, which puts pressure on the rumen. The cow will be less appetitive during this period when, on the contrary, energy consumption is high. This creates a negative energy balance; this negative energy balance is a major risk for metabolic challenges. We see this pattern in every dairy cow, making energy and metabolic challenges predictable during lactation.
AHV program and products
AHV has developed a suitable program for cows to reduce risks around energy and metabolism. The unique composition of AHV Booster products supports the rumen and liver, or the cow’s main engines. The vitamins B3, B12 and vitamin B complex in the Booster products support liver function, metabolism, and the immune system. The dextrose and lactose are fast absorbing sugars to provide immediate energy to the animal. The sodium bicarbonate and yeasts buffer and stabilise the rumen’s ph. This composition makes the Booster products complete.
The AHV Energy & Metabolism Program consists of two categories, NRG-L (Latent) and NRG-A (Reactive) (see figure 2). From milk recording, animal-specific data are analysed over a period of more than 18 months. From this analysis, cows can be classified into one of two categories. Cows that fall into category L are latent for any energy and metabolic challenges in the next lactation. This prediction is made from the animal’s history, if the animal has had energy or metabolic challenges before and the inter-calving period is running out then this can be considered a risk. The A category in the program stands for animals that are severely challenged in terms of energy or metabolism. These animals need immediate support with fast available energy to get out of the negative energy balance. Figure 2 shows the program and when which product should be administered.
Figure 2: AHV Energy & Metabolism Program
Recognising recurring patterns during lactation in cows can prevent worse. To overcome the energy deficit at the beginning of lactation, a Booster Tablet can be given two weeks before calving. This ensures that the cow continues to eat enough during a crucial period. Once the cow has calved, and to meet that high energy requirement, we advise to repeat the Booster Tablet 7 days post-calving to keep the cow in healthy condition. By providing proactive energy and metabolic support, cows will have fewer health challenges.
Proactive energy & metabolism support
Below we show the protocol we recommend for optimal energy & metabolism. By clicking on the picture you will see more information about the product. However, we always recommend using the products in a program for optimal results.
7-14 days before calving. 7 days after calving
2 tubes if drench is not possible
As top dress or drench powder
Get in touch!
Would you like to be visited by an advisor to discuss the health challenges on your farm together? Our AHV Farm Advisor 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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