Thursday, July 7, 2022

Licking diet problems

Dairy farmers should keep a close eye on feed quality for replacement heifers so they maintain growth rates and get the best start for a productive life.

“The quality of a heifer’s diet now can have a direct influence on conception rates and therefore first lactation date,” Altum animal nutrition manager Jackie Aveling said.

“The aim is for the heifer to calve well within the first four to five weeks of the calving cycle so she can be included in the first few weeks of artificial insemination, get back in calf quickly and produce progeny which can be reared as replacements.”

It is also important to keep up the focus on replacement stock growth rates, especially when dry weather constrains pasture growth.

“When pasture quality tapers off metabolisable energy (ME) declines along with digestibility so heifers as well as yearlings need to eat more to get the same energy to achieve their growth targets.

“They also need access to key trace elements including cobalt selenium, copper and iodine.

Lick blocks such as Crystalyx can help keep heifer diets up to par during periods of poor pasture quality by providing the energy and protein which could be deficient, as long as quantity is not limiting.

“We know you can get a response to Crystalyx in a protein or energy-deficient situation but our trials are also indicating that you can get a good response in a well-fed heifer grazing situation.”

For more information visit www.altum.co.nz.

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