Lead feeding for herd health

August 01, 2017

Reid Stockfeeds says the Springer 16 feed mix is improving herd health and productivity.

Building on an already strong foundation, a new formulation of Springer 16 lead feed grain mix is delivering further improved health and productivity improvements in herds across Victoria.

Reid Stockfeeds has incorporated the latest knowledge on feeding to support cows through a successful transition from a dry cow to a high performing milker.

The new formulation, first released as a selected trial last year, has resulted in improvements in herd performance, leading to the full-scale release of the product in March.

‘‘Our aim with the Springer 16 reformulation was to further improve the transition outcomes on farm, knowing the end gain would be improved production and profitability,’’ Reid Stockfeeds senior nutritionist Kelly Slattery said.

The modifications to Springer 16 have re-affirmed Reid Stockfeeds’ ongoing commitment to delivering the latest knowledge and research to its feed, with changes providing a multitude of benefits at the farm level.

The new formulation delivers increased levels of magnesium and vitamin D, in the form of Hy D, a more bio-active form of vitamin D.

Both magnesium and vitamin D support the cow’s natural system of upregulating calcium absorption from their feed and the release of calcium from bones into the blood stream.

This sets the cow up to better cope with additional calcium demand at the onset of milk production and reduces the risk of milk fever.

‘‘Milk fever weakens the immune system, increasing the chance of mastitis and metritis,’’ Ms Slattery said.

‘‘A cow with milk fever is also at greater risk of other metabolic disease such as ketosis and she is likely to take longer to get back in calf.’’

Other changes to Springer 16 include increased levels of vitamin A and E as well as higher rates of trace minerals including copper, cobalt, zinc, selenium and manganese.

Adjustments have been made to the chloride and sulphur ions that contribute to the -1000 meq/kg DM dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD).

Leaving nothing to chance, Reid Stockfeeds even conducted palatability testing at multiple farms, ensuring the nutritional benefits will not be left in the trough.

‘‘The feed only works if the cows eat it,’’ Ms Slattery said.

‘‘We added flavours and sweeteners to the feed and the cows love it.’’

Back on the farm, the benefits are being realised, with farmers using Springer 16 enjoying a relatively stress-free calving season.

Fewer birthing complications have lightened the farmer’s work load and vet bills to boot.

‘‘This year, we fed Springer 16 to half our calving herd and it’s been remarkable to see the differences in performance,’’ south-west Victoria dairy farmer Rodney Bakker said.

‘‘The birthing process of the cows we fed Springer 16 has been much smoother. We’ve not had to intervene in any of the births.’’

To recognise the full benefits of the reformulated Springer 16, Reid Stockfeeds recommends introducing the feed into a cow’s diet at 3kg/cow/day for 21 days prior to expected calving.

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