New approach for a successful transition programme

Sollus technical advisor Dr Joe McGrath urges farmers to consider cows’ nutrient needs in the lead up to calving and beyond.

In winter dairy cows approach the most stressful period of the year. Having been exposed to many changes during the drying, run-off and transition period, it is critical farmers to try to anticipate their needs in advance heading into a new lactation season.

Hormone secretion, metabolic changes and bone rebuilding are all changes being experienced, and these are exacerbated by added stress and low dry matter intake during the first days post-calving, says Sollus technical veterinary advisor Dr Joe McGrath.

“Being confronted in a short period with such huge challenges, cows have to manage this situation that will impact not only production, but also immune status and reproduction performance.”

“A dairy cow moves many nutrients to produce milk solids during lactation and as a result, she needs to rebuild her body and skeleton during the dry and transition period to start the next lactation without metabolic disorders developing.”

An animal nutrition expert and Sollus technical advisor, Joe says at each lactation a cow can lose around 500g of calcium from her natural storage, namely her bones.

“She’s mining her skeleton to put calcium and phosphorus into milk. This situation can explain why higher-producing older cows are more susceptible to milk fever.

“It’s important to understand we need to optimise the absorption of calcium and phosphorus if we want strong healthy cows, basically putting back what we take out,” says Joe.

In NZ conditions, knowing the dynamics of the minerals in different stages of a cow’s transition is key to designing the proper transition programme.

Joe says excess potassium affects magnesium absorption. “You also need to take into account mineral ratios, vitamin levels and understand the difference between farms to devise the most beneficial strategy on-farm.”

Based on this scientific knowledge and NZ conditions, Sollus’ approach is very different to conventional mineral company recommendations, says Joe.

Sollus designs and formulates products to be the best transition supplements for NZ dairy cows.

Along with the calcium, magnesium and salt cows need, Sollus’ product Tranzsol incorporates antioxidants, magnesium and, most importantly, Rovimix Hy-D.

“This combination allows cows to safely transition, even when consuming pasture,” says Joe.

Rovimix Hy-D is a molecule designed by animal nutrition company DSM to manage calcium absorption. Calcium is critical for function of the smooth muscles of the uterus, rumen and teats.

“If these muscle groups can’t function effectively, we greatly increase the risk of metabolic disorders, and prevalence of mastitis and reproductive issues,” says Joe.

With Tranzsol, Sollus is helping NZ farmers reduce metabolic issues through functional nutrition based on proven science. “We no longer need accept these diseases as a natural consequence of milking cows,” says Joe. To find out more, see:


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