Blogs | Agvance Nutrition New Zealand


Reproduction Mating Article by Agvance

Mineral deficiency directly related to empty rates

Successfully carrying the foetus through to full term is quite a balancing act. Maintaining a successful pregnancy requires the correct level of energy, and protein, as well as a quality source of carbohydrates. In the case of a ruminant, this means good-quality fibre. Also required is a correctly balanced ratio of minerals and vitamins. These are all critical factors in maintaining the very tightly balanced ratio of hormones required in early pregnancy.

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Early lactation | Agvance Nutrition


I recently wrote an article for the Dairy Farmer around Early Lactation and its impact on dairy cows in New Zealand:

Early lactation, spanning both calving and mating, is a stressful time for cows as energy demand is very high at a time when cows may struggle to eat enough to supply that demand. It is critical to ensure optimal rumen performance is achieved to meet the energy needs for production and reproduction, while at the same time maintaining body condition. Without a balanced nutrition plan during this critical time, deficiencies in key nutrients can also be an issue, affecting peak production, ongoing lactation, and later, reproductive performance.

It’s not rocket science, nor is it a secret – well-fed cows hold better condition through lactation. Providing the cow has been transitioned well (fed the correct balance of minerals and feeds) she will come into lactation with higher rumen performance and lowered risk of developing metabolic diseases, such as milk fever and ketosis. Superior rumen capacity will enable her to eat a full quota of grass each day, and efficiently convert the nutrients obtained to the energy required to drive higher milk production, while achieving better health outcomes.

Increased milk production causes nutrient demand to increase rapidly. It is important that this demand is met through good quality feed. It is essential that a cow eats as much feed as possible during this time in order to maintain condition, produce milk and drive the hormones required over the coming weeks to become pregnant again.

Ideally, this feed provides the correct levels of quality protein, sugar, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals. In reality, with most feed production these days focused on quantity instead of quality, a lot of feed provides poor protein, fibre, and mineral levels. The most common mineral deficiencies we see during early lactation are calcium and phosphorus. Both of these minerals are vital for feed intake, conversion, milk production, and maintaining body condition.

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Mastitis Prevention During Dry Off | Agvance Nutrition New Zealand


The end of lactation when cows are dried off is one of the few times during the seasonal calendar when both farmers and their cattle can take a breather from the daily grind of milking. The dry period is a critical phase in the seasonal cycle of every dairy cow, as it allows them time to rebuild the mammary tissue required for milk production in the next season. This is also a critical time for cows to build up their natural immunity before the next calf is born.

Milk producing cells within the udder are rapidly dying and being replaced while the cow is lactating. During the dry period the udder rapidly regenerates these cells in order to build maximum milk production capacity, in anticipation of the next lactation. Planning sufficient time to allow these processes to take place will ensure your herd is less likely to suffer from the effects of mastitis, which is an infection caused by bacteria or injury to the udder.

A farmer’s decisions at dry off can influence a herd’s mastitis prevalence for up to the following 6 to 12 months. As you know, it’s good practice to dry off lighter cows earlier; this is when body condition scores are imperative. This can also be a good time to either treat (dry cow therapy) or cull cows that have a history of mastitis.

Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland, which is caused by either infection or trauma, and leads to decreased milk production. Contagious mastitis can spread quickly during milking, as milk from an infected quarter can be spread to the teat skin via dirty gloves, teat cup lines and cross flow of milk between teat cups.

While there is no milk being produced during dry off, the average dry cow will require as little as 10kg of dry matter in order to maintain their condition. If the cow is light in body weight, she may need more feeding. However, overfeeding during this period in the hope of building condition may risk additional metabolic issues around calving.

In order to build resilience and strength for a stress-free season, the dry period can be an important time to get mineral levels right. Minerals such as selenium, zinc, and copper, can increase the bodies resistance to udder infections early in the next lactation, while also ensuring better reproductive outcomes later in the season.

Every farm is different. Herds are drying off at different times, and they will have different diets and differing deficiency challenges. By using a custom mineral blend in conjunction with Agvance, farmers can defend against the likelihood of infections, by supporting the specific nutritional needs of their herd at this key time.

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Agvance discusses liver function in dairy cows | Agvance Nutrition New Zealand


Prior to the 1600’s the liver was considered to be the most important organ in the body, much more so than the heart and the brain. Throughout the ages this organ has been steeped in myth, in the case of the Romans, the liver held a key place in their religious rituals. Roman priests closely studied sacrificed animal livers, these signs could indicate such things as, prosperity, famine, wars, or curses.

Today, the heart and the brain seem to have more emphasis placed on their importance. However, the ancients may have known more than we give them credit for, we should not be too quick to dismiss the liver. Regardless of the heart and brain, without a functional liver most living creatures would not survive very well, or for very long.

The liver is fascinating, and in many ways, I find it to be the most complex of all the bodies organs. It is a single organ with a massive number of functions, below are just a few of the key functions.

Key functions of the liver
• The production of bile – bile clears waste products.
• Produces many blood proteins, e.g. albumin, ferritin, cholesterol etc.
• Produces lipoproteins that carry different fats throughout the body.
• Controls energy – rapidly converts glucose to glycogen (storage) and then rapidly converts glycogen back to glucose as the body calls for more energy.
• Regulates amino acids, the building blocks of protein within the blood.
• Regulating (storing and releasing) hemoglobin levels of minerals such as iron, copper, etc
• Conversion of excess ammonia to urea (a major issue in ruminant digestion)
• Clears toxins from the blood (think feed toxins, aflatoxins, mycotoxins, ergot toxins)
• Important in the immune response in that the liver detects and clears bacteria and viruses arriving from the gut.
• Regulates blood clotting
• Clears bilirubin (broken down red blood cells) from the blood.

These are just a few of the key processes involving the liver. You can see from the list that these are all very essential processes. They are all reliant on a healthy liver, with enough capacity to consistently carry out every single function.

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