Dairy men told feed cuts fuel infertility
Nutrition experts have warned of looming fertility problems in dairy herds this spring unless farmers ensure herds receive adequate feeding around calving.
With the main calving season just around the corner, dairy nutritionists have warned that large numbers of cows will calve down in less than ideal body condition, which could lead to fertility problems.
Brett Brothers' nutritionist Heather Peppard warned that she had seen cows on a number of farms in recent days slip into negative energy balance prior to calving because farmers stopped concentrate feeding in the month pre-calving.
"We are advising farmers not to do this year what you've done every other year," she explained.
"Normally farmers would cut out concentrate feeding from four weeks prior to calving because the calf inside the cow could become too big. However, this year, many cows are in poorer condition than normal and in those cases they need the extra feeding."
Teagasc dairy expert John Donworth echoed her comments, advising farmers who had dry cows with poor body condition scores to only reduce feeding in the last 10-14 days pre-calving.
He added that if cows were too thin at calving, additional concentrate feeding post-calving was not the only solution to preventing fertility problems further down the line.