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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

EARLY LACTATION

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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