N e w s l e t t e r
• Understanding & Managing Ketosis
• Colostrum Management
• Cow Comfort
• Water Quality
Wynnstay are Proud to Support the
Needs of the British Dairy Farmer
Wynnstay Group Plc
Dairy Newsletter September
2 Improved Feed Efficiency
3 A clear view of where
we are heading
4 Walford Farm Notes
Improved feed efficiency
Over the last two years Alan Jones, with support from Wynnstay
has improved his heard’s feed efficiency and has raised the milk
from forage to 4,250 litres.
5 Taking the Stress out
Making the most of
home grown resources
8 Cow Comfort
10 Going for Gold -
11 An opportunity to
improve your grass
12 Whole Crop Silage
13 Fertiliser Update
13 Wynnmin Liquid
14 Water Quality and
16 Don’t take your eye
off hygiene during the
16 Low bactoscans don’t
17 Which buildings are
18 Future Still Bright for
The Jones family have farmed in the Llannon
area of Ceredigion for over 100 years. The
present generation, Alan and his father John,
now farming at Porthmawr, milk approximately
180 head - 135 cows and 45 heifers producing
8,500 litres on 2.1 tonnes of dairy compound.
The herd calves mainly, but not exclusively
from December until the end of February.
Dry cows receive Dry Tec-L nuts prior to calving.
Once calved the cows are milked through a
24/24 herringbone parlour, receiving all their
concentrates in the parlour and fed initially
wholecrop silage and grass silage. Later in the
season they receive maize silage and grass
silage fed in bunkers
On a daily basis the farm is run by Alan and
John assisted by Sion Jones plus two part-time
members of staff. Liaising closely with Alan is
Bob Kudelski of Wynnstay who has been calling
on the farm for over 28 years; Alan’s grandfather
being the first Wynnstay customer in the area.
The unit is predominantly grass based but 36
acres of wholecrop wheat and 32 acres of maize
are grown for silage to supplement autumn
grazing and compliment the grass silage during
The main enterprise on the farm is the dairy but
around 70 animals, Limousin and Belgian Blue
crosses plus 20 dairy steers are reared to be
sold as forward stores each year, additionally,
60 dairy heifers are raised each year to calve at
22/ 24 months of age. The young stock receive
Start ‘n’ Wean nuts followed by Cattle Rearer +
Biosprint nuts. Initially straw is fed, followed by
silage to the older calves.
Over the last two years Alan, with support
from Wynnstay has improved his heard’s feed
efficiency and has raised the milk from forage
to 4,250 litres. “Initially grazing grass much
shorter than usual and keeping cows on it for
longer really required a leap of faith” says Alan
“but now we see the benefits in our costings,
the extra work of monitoring the grazing is well
litres from forage
The cows are usually turned out around mid-
March at a stocking rate of 6.4 cows per hectare,
the cows supplemented with a Wynnstay
grazing compound for those yielding above the
production expected from grass.
The grazing area receives 30 units N per grazing
cycle with any grass getting ahead of the
system being cut and made into big bales.
In the autumn the cows are buffer fed on
wholecrop wheat prior to afternoon milking to
supplement the grazing before the main silage
pit is opened.
The herd is housed overnight in October and
are housed full-time for the winter depending
on a combination of grass availability and
M: 07771 518886
A Clear view of where we are heading
“Only ten days after changing to the new feeding regime our
cows went from 23 litres per cow to 27 an increase of over 15%”
The sign on the door of the dairy says it all
‘Quality only happens when you care enough
to do your best’. And doing their best is a true
reflection of the effort Mark Chetwynd, his
family and his team from Lampeter, Cardigan,
put into their operation.
Since beginning milk production in 2001
the Chetwynd’s have grown their farming
enterprise to 670 milking cows and 300
followers with plans afoot to increase cow
numbers to 900 and move to three times a
Wynnstay large herds specialist Howell
Richards has been involved with the herd since
early December 2012 but Mark’s decision to
adopt a radical change to the nutrition of
his herd is already paying dividends. “Only
ten days after changing to the new feeding
regime our cows went from 23 litres per cow
to 27 an increase of over 15%” says Mark
who went on to say “better still, feed costs
per litre have actually decreased”
“But it’s not all down to feeding” according
to Huw McConochie, Senior Dairy Specialist
for Wynnstay. The move from out of parlour
feeders, which are now redundant means
that the cows spend more time lying down,
ruminating and producing milk in cubicles
which are well designed and immaculately
clean. Prior to introduction of the TMR cows
would spend time queuing to use the out of
parlour feeders which was both unproductive
and detrimental to hoof health. In addition,
attention to cow comfort also pays dividends,
with provision being made for special needs
cows through the use of sand cubicles, clean
well maintained mattresses for the milking
cows, a separate yard of cubicles for close up
dry cows and clean well bedded straw yards
for calving cows.
The diet now being fed consists of grass
silage, wholecrop, a custom blend, bread and
a custom mineral and 1kg of compound in
the parlour. The single TMR regime requires
that cows calve regularly and extended
calving intervals are avoided. Extended
calving intervals and lactations result in
excessive weight gain and increases body
condition gains that can affect performance.
Aiming for 380 days calving interval, the
Chetwynd’s employ Genus to manage fertility
and coupled with weekly vet visits it is only
a matter of time before this target is reached.
All cows are bred to Belgian Blue with the
calves being reared on cow’s milk before
being sold at 3 weeks of age.
milk increase in 10 days
Currently the voluntary waiting period for
breeding is 45 days but Mark feels that this
could be extended in line with the target
calving interval and the increased production
the cows are achieving in order to increase
conception rates to first service and reduce
days open and semen costs
But it’s not just the milking cows which
have had a change to their feeding regime.
Dry cows now receive a diet high in straw
and whole-crop silage with the aim of
maintaining dry matter intakes and rumen
health throughout the dry period. Combined
with a custom dry cow mineral this diet
ensures there is a reduced risk of milk fever,
and that dry matter and energy intake starts
higher and increase rapidly after calving. In
addition all cows receive Reviva fresh cow
supplement drink immediately after calving,
which Mark believes helps to kick start
intakes immediately post calving and combat
against other metabolic diseases.
A strict hygiene regime in the parlour has
helped the herd to maintain a low incidence
of mastitis. Currently the annual incidence of
mastitis is an acceptable 120 cases for the
670 cow herd.
Mark has always wanted to milk cows and now
he is fulfilling his ambition. The improving
performance of the herd is testament to
his commitment and enthusiasm for the
operation and like the water in the troughs,
Mark has a clear view of where he is heading.
Dr. Huw McConochie
Senior Dairy Specialist
M: 07771 740857
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 3
WalfoRd farm notes
Welcome to our new regular feature on Walford Farm.
The farm is commercially managed and situated within
the Walford Campus near Shrewsbury with:
• 180-strong dairy herd
Following a review of the Walford Farm business in 2011, a development
plan for the future of the farm was discussed. The plan was granted
planning permission and the Board of Governors fully supported the
investment, so it is now full steam ahead. Dramatic changes to the farm
have already begun as the site has now been cleared and many of the old,
very poor quality, farm buildings have been demolished.
Overall aims of the development plan are to increase the area being
farmed to over 250Ha, increase the dairy herd to over 300 cows and the
sheep flock to 600 ewes. The farm aims to attract the next generation of
farmers – ‘Farming for the Future at Walford Farm’. Whilst demonstrating
best practice, the farm will still be managed on a commercial basis.
The objectives of the dairy herd will be to:
• Increase farm output to > £1m
• Improve the genetic base of dairy herd, using sexed semen to produce
high genetic merit stock to enable surplus stock to be sold
• Increase size to 300-350 cows
• Increase performance to >9,500 – 10,000 litres
• Achieve a 20ppl MOPF
• Achieve CI
Taking the stress out of rearing
Life after in-feed antibiotics
The recent ban which the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) placed
on feed manufacturers, preventing the inclusion of antibiotics into calf
milk powders, followed the example set by Denmark and Sweden and
other European States. Whilst this is inconvenient to all concerned, there
is now some clarity following this decision.
This begs the question - why were so many calf rearers resorting to drugs?
One answer is that we are dealing with a very vulnerable animal, with a
developing immune system, which is being subjected to many stresses of
varying intensity from birth onwards.
It may now be the right time to review your management practises in
order to minimise reliance on antibiotics. The most stressful situations
are firstly bought in calf units where a large number of baby calves are
mixed up and swap infections, and secondly the flying dairy herds who
are vulnerable to buying in infection. These units should work closely
with their vets and advisors to find alternatives to drugs in the feed.
For closed dairy herds it should be possible to limit disease problems
by focusing on calf immunity and combining this with the appropriate
vaccinations (see article on colostrum management). The vet will advise
on respiratory vaccines and your Wynnstay SQP will give advice on scour
control vaccines available.
The calf immune system is weakened by stress, so becoming vulnerable
to infection. Stress is caused when an animal is unable to adapt rapidly
to its environment. The challenges which cause stress are the stressors. A
single stressor may not cause illness on its own, but add two or three at
the same time and the calf immune system is weakened and the animal
either fails to thrive, or in a worse-case scenario will become ill and die.
In the case of 0-12 week old calves the final stressor is generally an
infection with one or more pneumonia pathogens which invade the lungs
leading to death.
of fluid a calf needs per day
0-12 weeks is the most stressful time in the developing cow’s life. We
see stressors everywhere on calf units. Owing to the price and availability
of good quality straw, calves often don’t have enough clean straw. The
knock on effect is high ammonia levels in the air which cause the cilia
in the respiratory tract to malfunction allowing pathogens to reach the
lungs. Straw is not only an important component of a dry insulated bed
but calves need a little bit to eat every day to provide effective fibre to
help stimulate rumen development .Clean straw in racks to allow a ‘little
and often’ supply is the key -not a big bale once a week!
Obvious factors causing major stress are those which are life threatening
i.e. hunger, and thirst. Strangely there are still many calf rearers who
do not offer water until after weaning. A 70kg calf needs 7 litres of
fluid, however some calves only have 4 litres of milk a day and no water.
The milk goes in the abomasum, the water goes in the rumen. Ad lib
cake and no water in the rumen will cause problems and delay rumen
development. You would think, most calves receive adequate nutrition,
but the concentration of nutrients may be sub optimal at certain times.
In nature a calf would consume several small milk meals/day, milk at 4%
butter fat. This equates with milk powder at 20% fat. Calves can be reared
successfully on 15% fat but they demand a high level of management i.e.
low stress. Any powder with less than 20% fat and the calf could be on
the borderline as regards calorie intake. The calf thermo neutral zone is
15-26 degrees. Very cold or very hot weather will increase the demand
for calories, so failure to provide extra feeds, or increase the concentration
of milk powder will be another stressor. Once/day feeding will also cause
added stress in very young calves as it is very different from their natural
environment where the cow would provide several feeds/day.
There are many undignified, but beneficial tasks performed on calves:
• Drenching with colostrum
• Separation from the dam
Good handling facilities and well trained staff can do a lot to alleviate
the stress. Disbudding in particular, if left too late, can cause pain and
distress. It has been shown that the best time to disbud is before 3
weeks old. How often has a bout of disbudding triggered off pneumonia?
Anaesthetic is recommended at any age.
Parasites nibbling at the calves cause unnecessary distress. Adult lice
live 2 to 3 weeks and lay an egg a day, it is thought that ten or more per
square inch will have a significant effect on growth rates. Over-crowded
pens and dark sheds make the problem worse. It’s surprising how many
lice can live on a baby calf robbing the calf of energy and causing debility
and anaemia, this often slows recovery from disease. An itchy calf is more
likely to pick up ringworm, causing further irritation and failure to thrive.
A simple dose of pour on permethrin will show a huge benefit if done
routinely on most calf units.
Have a good look round. Do you see pools of slurry or dry straw beds?
Dirty water tanks, or clean running water? Would you drink that water? Do
the calves spend hours standing around or are they laid down contented?
Do they have hair missing, especially along the neck? Take away the
stressors and the expensive calf milk and feed will go a lot further. Which
is cheaper - 4 litres of good quality colostrum or a bottle of antibiotic.?
Until recently many vets would prescribe a blanket treatment with
antibiotic in the milk powder, in the hope that it would mask some of
these major management errors. With the banning of in-feed antibiotics
it is time to think again about stress free management to ease the calf
through those first 12 weeks by paying attention to detail - and knowing
which details to pay attention to!
National Calf Specialist
M: 07971 296702
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 5
Colostrum Making the most of a home grown resource
The importance of colostrum as a source of antibodies (immunoglobulins)
is acknowledged by most dairy farmers. In addition to immunoglobulins,
colostrum contains numerous nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates,
vitamins and minerals.
The fat and lactose, which provide energy in the colostrum, are necessary
for the calf to begin thermogenesis (heat production) and maintain body
temperature. Without the energy source that colostrum provides, the calf
would only have about 18 hours until its stores of body fat would be depleted¹.
In addition to energy, the protein, vitamins and minerals in colostrum
are at much higher levels than those found in whole milk¹. The increased
concentration of nutrients ensure that the calf receives adequate amounts to
initiate its metabolism to assist in the development of its digestive system.
Researchers have also discovered that colostrum contains numerous growth
hormones (insulin like growth factor I and II, epidermal growth factor,
transforming growth factor, and nerve growth factor) as well as insulin,
cortisol, and thyroxine². In fact it contains such concentrated feed value,
in addition to its prophylactic properties that Colostrum could almost be
described as a home grown ‘medicine’. For this reason, it should not only be
fed for the first day of life, but for several days after.
Grow your own!
However, the dry cow producing this miracle of nature, it is often under
pressure. We can’t change her genetic makeup but we can change the
husbandry in the last trimester of pregnancy to allow her to nurture the
growing foetus and produce a bag full of good quality colostrum. This was
much easier in the days when cows peaked at 25litres/day. Nowadays with
so many having the potential to peak at 50 litres, the colostrum is potentially
much more dilute and many cows are producing colostrum with inadequate
antibody levels. Unfortunately, the highest yielding cows with the best
breeding potential may often have the poorest colostrum. Having bred these
cows, it is important to recognise the problem we have created for ourselves
and give this conundrum our full attention.
Pregnant cows need space
Ask any pregnant woman how she would feel if she had to fight for her food
- she would be somewhat reluctant! Similarly, heavily pregnant cows do not
like to be bullied. Provide 24 hour access to fresh high quality forage of the
types cows are going to receive in early lactation. This means spoiled food
removed from the troughs, fresh food fed daily and ration always in front
of the cows. Give the cows as much room and space as possible. Current
recommendations are 1.25 m2 lying area per 1,000 litres of milk (i.e. 10 m2
for an 8,000 litre cow). Allow 3 foot (90 cm) trough space per ‘close up’ dry
cow. Limit social movement of cows as far as possible. No changes of group
or pen within 2 weeks of calving.
Provide a bulky diet balanced in energy and protein, rich in Vitamins,
particularly Vitamin E. The current trend to exclude high potassium grass
silages (containing natural vit E) and replace with straw, (containing no Vit
E) makes the inclusion of Selplex (selenium) and Vit E especially important.
Selenium & Vit E are anti-oxidants which help cells maintain their integrity.
They help enhance the immune system, prevent white muscle disease in
the calf, promote healthy foetal membranes and protect against mastitis.
Other major minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium and Sodium should also
be balanced to help prevent milk fever and prevent leakage of milk prior to
calving. Dry cows should be prevented from eating ad lib salt as it leads to
excess oedema in the udder. The addition of beta glucans in the form of yeast
will help to stimulate her immune response, helping antibody production. As
colostrum contains 76% water, adequate clean fresh drinking water should be
easily available to help promote healthy digestion and metabolism.
What affects Ig levels?
Extremes of temperature have been shown to suppress antibody levels, so be
aware of this in very hot and very cold spells as you may need to feed more of
this poor quality colostrum. There are also genetic differences between breeds.
We have to accept that Jerseys have the highest Ig levels and Holsteins the
lowest. Heifers generally have poor colostrum and the older cows have better
colostrum .Also any cows exposed to a recent disease challenge and those
receiving vaccination have a wider variety of antibodies in their colostrum. A
tendency towards shorter dry periods (less than 45 days) can affect Ig levels.
Why harvest colostrum?
Cows calve 24 hours a day, farmers sleep 8 hours a night. Inevitably some
calves will be born at night, and even during the day it can be inconvenient
to milk a cow and feed colostrum in the 6 hours after birth. Some cows
suckle their dam, but who has time to stand and supervise for 20 minutes?
Consequently many calves do not receive colostrum within the 6 hour
time frame and subsequently suffer ill health during calf hood and loss of
production for the rest of their lives.
Owing to large herd sizes and lack of staff to supervise fresh calved cows
there is a need to adopt a rigorous colostrum routine in order to make sure
all calves have the same chance of fresh or frozen colostrum soon after birth.
10% of birthweight
In the first 6 hours
50 – 140 mg Ig G per ml
Either, let the calf suckle the cow until the belly is full (approx. 20 minutes)
under supervision. Making sure the cow is in a clean dry place, with minimal
faecal contamination on the teats. Or, if this is impossible, then snatch the
calf and proceed as follows:
The 40kg calf should be snatched as soon as it is licked dry, or sometimes
dried with a towel. It is then put in a clean, warm, pen and offered 4 litres of
good colostrum, preferably by teat, or if the calf is reluctant it can be drenched
using an oesophageal feeder. Colostrum should be fed every 12 hours for at
least 3–5 days before introducing milk powder.
What is Good Colostrum?
Ideally use colostrum from the mother, failing that use fresh or defrosted
colostrum from a cow with a known good health status. Never use colostrum
from a cow carrying Johnes or T.B. Reject samples containing blood or
mastitis. Good colostrum is clean colostrum, take care with hygiene as the
calf struggles to absorb antibodies from dirty colostrum.
Collect colostrum from the first milking as soon as possible following birth.
Do not allow the calf to suckle prior to collecting. Sanitize the udder to stop
pathogens entering colostrum.
Cool quickly to 15°C within 30 minutes of milking. Drop a frozen bottle
of ice into the bucket of colostrum, and store in a fridge 1-2°C for up to 7
days. Never let colostrum sit at room temperature, it is an excellent breeding
ground for E Coli and other pathogens. The E Coli population doubles every
20 minutes at body temperature! The addition of calcium formate will help
inhibit bacterial growth.
There is little point in freezing & saving poor quality colostrum. Testing is
important as ‘only the best will do’ as a first feed. Test colostrum for its
antibody status. This can be done either with a Colostrometer, or a Brix
refractometer. The colostrometer is the cheapest cow side method, but
the refractometer is more expensive and robust. Good colostrum will
register ‘green’ on the colostrometer (> than 50mg Ig/ml) or + 22 on the
Colostrum which registers ‘green’ on the colostrometer can be saved in the
freezer. ‘Perfect Udder’ storage bags (3.8 litre) or flat plastic bags are the
easiest to defrost. The ‘green’ can be fed on Day 1 The ‘red’ colostrum can be
saved in the fridge for feeding on Days 2 to 5.
Fridge or freezer?
Store in the fridge at 0-4°C for a week or in the freezer at -20°C for up to a
year. Label the sample with Ig level and date.
Thawing - be careful - antibodies are destroyed by over-heating (cooking).
Thaw slowly in a warm water bath at maximum of 60°C. Use a floating dairy
thermometer to regulate temperature of the water bath
The effect of poor colostrum management has such a huge impact on farm
profitability that it warrants a separate corner in the dairy kitted out with
all the tools for the job i.e. sink, fridge, freezer, funnel, bags, thermometer,
Colostrometer and water bath.
There is now a commercial system developed in Denmark, marketed by
Holm & Laue through Wynnstay. The Coloquick system will help with testing,
harvesting and thawing within 15 minutes of birth. The Coloquick water
bath is also available as a colostrum pasteuriser. Following the suggested
colostrum harvesting and storage plan makes life easier for the calf rearer
and gives every calf the chance of a flying start. The system is widely used in
Denmark and increasingly in the UK.
For those who are trying to manage Colostrum on a tight budget, the
Wynngold Colostrum management Kit is a good place to start.
The COLOQUICK System
WHEN A COW CALVES
1. Milk the cow and check for antibodies with a
Colostrometer. ‘Green ‘ is the best quality
2. Place the bag in the cartridge
3. Good quality colostrum can be poured into the Coloquick
bag, poor quality can go in the fridge or freezer for feeding
on days 2,3,and 4
4. Place cartridge in the freezer
WHEN A CALF IS BORN
5. Take cartridge out of the freezer
6. Put in the Coloquick machine to thaw
7. Colostrum is defrosted and warmed in 15-20mins
8. Cartridge can be attached to an
9. Or the calf can be fed by teat
10. No problem with the calf drinking 4 litres if its good
quality AND the right temperature
A pasteuriser model is also available.
National Calf Specialist
M: 07971 296702
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 7
Cow Comfort For improved herd health and production
On a recent visit to the UK, Professor Nigel
Cook of Wisconsin University highlighted the
improvements in dairy cow performance that
can be achieved from improving cow comfort.
Professor Cook explained how improving
cow comfort and health has dramatically
improved milk production on Wisconsin dairy
units ensuring cows are more productive and
profitable. In Wisconsin the majority of cows are
housed all year round so ensuring that cubicle
design is correct is essential for optimising cow
Professor Cook’s research showed that by moving
from inadequate mattresses to sand bedded
cubicles increased lying times and decreased
lying bouts resulting in longer, more productive
lying bouts on sand cubicles. Cows produce the
majority of their milk when lying down, this
is because during this time blood flow to the
udder increases by up to 30%. Increased lying
times results in a reduction in the number of
lame cows as a direct consequence of improved
cow comfort. Data from more than 200 herds
in Wisconsin showed that on average an extra
1,154 kg of milk could be gained from cows
bedded on sand cubicles or on the appropriate
mattress as result of improved comfort and
reduced lameness. However, sand isn’t for
everyone due to management and slurry storage
issues. Huge benefits can be made by looking at
your cubicle design, looking at loops and stall
widths, brisket board positioning and length of
lunging area. In order to maintain effectiveness
of mattresses the foam needs to be changed
every 3-4 years.
With this in mind our dairy team at Wynnstay
have sourced a range of products to help
its dairy customers reap these rewards. Two
types of cubicles are available; the ‘Super
Comfort’ and the new ‘Green Cow Safe Cubicle’
pictured below. To accompany these, Wynnstay
recommend mattresses or sand beds created
using a pre-formed reinforced concrete cubicle
base system. Sand use can be reduced by up
to 70% by adopting the new rubber sand saver
system. Wynnstay also offer a range of cubicle
sanitizers and bedding materials including
Stalosan F, Biolime, Envirobed and Chalk lime
Correct cubicle size and positioning of the head
rail and brisket board (figure 1) are essential
if the cows are to lie down for the required
minimum of 11 hours per day. Bear in mind that
for every hour extra a cow lies down over this
they produce in the region of an extra 0.9 to 1.6
litres extra per day.
Provision of sufficient access to feed can be
optimised with the installation of a single rail
feed fence set 30° in from the feed barrier wall
Courtesy of Professor Nigel Cook
provided eating space per cow is sufficient (60
to 80 cm per cow). Alternatively Wynnstay offer
the revolutionary ‘Green Cow Safe Feed Barrier’
see below, which optimises eating position. In
addition, where possible, installing rubber mats
along the feed barrier can help to reduce feet
problems and increase intakes. Adequate access
to clean water can be achieved with Wynnstay’s
range of troughs which feature easy to empty
Bearing in mind the financial rewards possible
means that investing in and improving cow
housing facilities can be justified and will soon
produce a return on investment.
For further advice on cow comfort issues and a
demonstration of the ‘First Step’ cow comfort
and lameness evaluation tool please contact
Iwan Vaughan, Dairy Specialist.
M: 07990 578548
A recent study by DHHPS showed that 1 in 3 cows in the UK are suffering from
Sub Clinical Ketosis (SCK) in the first 50 days of lactation. This metabolic disease
is brought about by excessive body fat mobilisation in late pregnancy and early
lactation in response to a deficit in energy supply.
Sub Clinical Ketosis is characterised by an elevated blood concentration of Beta
Hydroxybutyrate or BHB which is a consequence of the inability of the liver
to effectively metabolise Non Esterified Fatty Acids (NEFA) produced by the
mobilisation of body fat in response to a shortage of dietary and metabolic energy.
Factors predisposing to SCK are not only associated with the freshly calved cow.
Failure to provide sufficient energy and maintain DMI in the close up or transition
period can result in pre-calving mobilisation of body fat and increased blood
concentrations of NEFA. In this situation the potential for a cow to enter a ketotic
state increases unless DMI and energy intake is increased.
The most important aspect of the disease is that cows suffering from SCK have an
increased pre-disposition to other diseases including clinical ketosis and are 10
times more likely to develop LDA’s. In addition cows with SCK suffer more hung
cleansings and metritis.
1 in 3
cows in the UK are suffering from sub clinical
ketosis or SCK in the first 50 days of lactation
Getting cows back in calf is wholly dependent on closing the energy gap, the
earlier the energy gap is closed the earlier the cow will conceive. Cows suffering
from SKC will have reduced DMI and an extended period of negative energy
balance and as research has shown will take longer to get back in calf.
As already mentioned cows suffering from SCK have a greater pre disposition
to other diseases all of which contribute to the financial loss associated with
the disease. The losses are primarily associated with reduced conception rates,
increased semen costs, increased calving interval, loss of production, and
treatment costs (Table 1).
The key to reducing the incidence of SCK begins in late lactation by ensuring that
cows reach a target condition score at drying off of around 2.5 to 3.0 and that their
condition is not allowed to increase or decrease significantly during the dry period.
Failure to manage cow condition and dietary requirements effectively will result
in the cow entering into a disease cycle (Figure 1) that will affect her performance
and profitability in the current and potentially subsequent lactations.
The most important points for ketosis prevention are as follows;
1. Monitor BCS in late lactation
2. Avoid significant gains or losses in condition during the dry period
3. Feed a low protein diet (14% CP) during the dry period with a DCAB of between
+50 to +100 and up to 50% of the forage as straw
Figure 1. Factors causing, and effects of Ketosis in the transition cow
at drying off
Increased incidence of;
Excessive dry period weight loss
4. From three weeks prior to calving to 4 weeks post calving include a supplement
containing glucose precursors and vitamins that promote liver function
5. Monitor blood ketone levels from 5 to 25 days post calving. Cows with high
ketone concentrations should be dosed with a ketosis treatment supplement
or with a straight glucose precursor such as propylene glycol or glycerol.
The extent of the problem in individual herds can be determined through regular
monitoring of freshly calved cows. Monitoring involves the client’s vet taking a
small blood sample from the tail vein of cows between 5 and 25 days in milk.
The level of BHB in the blood can be determined immediately and if necessary
treatment commenced immediately or changes made to the transition program.
This service is currently being offered to farmers by dairy specialist for Wynnstay,
Dr. Huw McConochie who advocates that all producers adopt routine ketosis
monitoring as a means of assessing transition cow management.
Wynnstay offer a range of transition cow supplements all backed up with research
based evidence designed to reduce the energy deficit, reduce incidence rates
and manage the effects of the disease. The key ingredients of these supplements
include propylene glycol, glycerol, propionate and sorbitol all of which are
precursors of glucose. This improves the cows energy status, reducing excessive
mobilisation of body fat for energy and thus reducing the build-up of fat in the liver
and production of ketone bodies. In addition they include vitamins which have a
positive effect on liver function.
Table 1. Financial implications of Ketosis - Herd Size: 200 Cows
Cost above baseline of
Sub clinical Ketosis 33% 10% £984.00 £2,263.20
6% 2% £1,512.00 £3,024.00
Clinical Ketosis 15% 5% £933.20 £1,866.40
Metritis 35% 10% £2,400.00 £6,000.00
Retained Placentas 20% 10% £1,200.00 £1,200.00
Total loss of income £14,353.60
Farmers interested in participating in Ketosis monitoring of their herds should contact
Dr Huw McConochie at Wynnstay
The financial implications to a herd with a 33% SCK
incidence rate. The costs are a consequence of a longer
calving to insemination period and a reduction in
conception rate to first service. Financial implications
also lost milk production and vet costs associated with
disease. Data taken from “Consequences of disease on
reproductive performance are from a review by Fourichon
et al . 1999, Journal of Theriogenology” and Geishauser, T.,
Leslie, K., Kelton, D., and Duffield, T. (2001) Monitoring for
Sub-Clinical Ketosis in Dairy Herds. University of Guelph
Dr. Huw McConochie
Senior Dairy Specialist
M: 07771 740857
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 9
GOING FOR GOLD - ‘GREEN GOLD’
The vision of paddocks carpeted with lush grass, birds singing and the sound
of cows munching through a perfect stand of ryegrass seems a lifetime away,
as we look out at yet another dismal grey morning. But there is hope in sight
and on the majority of farms there is the opportunity to maintain or increase
margins without incurring extra costs, and all it requires is faith and a bit of
As we approach the spring and summer of 2013, with feed costs remaining
high, it is imperative that you look at your grass, and grazing management.
Grass has to be treated like any other crop. After investing money in fertiliser
it has to be managed in order to realise its full potential. Many are still underutilising
this important crop.
Few realise that around 60% of all grass which will grow in a year has already
grown by the end of June, so grazing pressure in the early season is vital in
making sure you get off to a good start. Increasing stocking rates per Ha early
in the spring and taking all excess grass as excellent quality silage will lead
to a more profitable season.
As much as an extra 4.5 litres/cow/day, representing £1.35/day, or
£4,050/100 cow herd/month can be achieved from mid-season grazing with
careful management in the early part of the year.
With good grassland management the energy levels of the grass can remain
between 11 and 12 MJ/ kg DM and protein over 20%. Better control of
grassland will lead to more appropriate targeting of both bought in feed and
buffer fed silage to maximise yield and milk quality.
Anyone who has visited New Zealand comes home inspired to make more of
their grassland -simply because seeing is believing. They have witnessed profit
coming from grass, so believe they can do it too. It is commonly a lack of faith
in the potential of grass that holds many people back. Sometimes it helps to
ask for some guidance in the early days and your Wynnstay representative, or
a member of the ruminant technical team can provide a hands-on measuring
and monitoring service.
Grass is the main crop on many farms and should be treated as such, most
cereal farmers know the production level they expect from their crop, why
shouldn’t the grassland farmer? Production from forage ranges from less
than 2000L per cow to over 4000L per cow on grazing farms. It should be
this year’s challenge for those at the lower to middle range to increase milk
from forage by 500 to 1000L. This will ultimately increase output, without
increasing production costs and also decrease the need for so much bought
As part of Wynnstay’s ongoing training programme, members of the ruminant
feed sales teams monitored grass growth across their trading area, some of
the results are as set out below of the daily grass growth rates in the West
Midlands and South Wales.
As can be seen in the graph below, grass growth rates can differ from one
region to another. There is also a huge variation between different pastures
on farm, and recently reseeded field always perform better with higher quality
and increased yields of grass.
The graph below can be used as a guide to planning your grazing rotation
and regime over the coming season. You can estimate rotation length of the
paddocks by using the growth rates below. The rotation length, grassland area
required for grazing, and stocking rates per Ha throughout different stages
of the season can be calculated. This will allow planning of grassland area
available for cropping for silage for the winter or use as a buffer feed. By
carefully planning your grazing management, you will achieve productive and
profitable grass land as well as making top quality forage for the winter.
Contact your Wynnstay Sales Representative and make this year the year you
mined some of that ‘Green Gold’.
M: 07990 578548
Average Daily Growth Rates Season 2012 (KG DM/Ha)
AN OPPORTUNITY TO
IMPROVE YOUR GRASS LEYS
Following a relatively dry start 2012 turned out to be the wettest year on record and no one needs reminding of the
problems that caused. Poached and damaged grass leys were widespread, but this problem will give an excellent
opportunity to introduce some modern day perennials into tired leys, or to carry out a full re seed.
It is common knowledge that reseeding a field will improve yield,
on average by 33%, but there are also many other benefits.
Over several years “weed grasses” will ingress into any sward after poaching
or a hard winter. These “weed grasses” have very poor quality characteristics
compared to modern day perennials, such as poor digestibility (i.e. they do
not convert to meat or milk as efficiently as a perennial) and poor response to
fertiliser. As the Grassland Research Institute at Hurley showed, after 8 years,
more than half the original sown species die out. The benefits that a new
reseed will bring are:
• Improved yields,
• Better diseases resistance especially to crown rust,
• Earlier turnout of stock which will lead to higher stocking rates
• More palatable and digestible (increasing milk and meat production,
improving the animals conditions)
• Improved silage quality
• Improved response to N fertilisers
• Increase margins per head by having lower concentrated feed costs
There is obviously a cost associated with reseeding which is why it is vital
you choose the best grass ley possible, which includes the most modern up
to date varieties.
Once the decision to reseed has been made; following these steps
will help to fulfil the potential of the reseed.
• Destroy the old sward using a product containing glyphosate. Ensure
there is sufficient new growth for the chemical to be taken up and that an
appropriate rate is applied under correct conditions. Whilst this treatment
will control actively growing plants it will not kill dormant seed in the soil.
• Take a soil sample at a depth of 10cm (4 inches) to analyse pH, P and K
• Apply FYM
• Plough and Press
• Apply seedbed fertiliser as required. Apply lime to achieve 6.5 pH at
maximum of 5t/ ha (2t/acre), split-dress if more is required
• Work down to prepare a fine, firm seedbed
• Ring roll
• Choose correct grass mixture
• Drill or broadcast the seed onto the rolled seedbed. Ring roll or light harrow
to ensure maximum contact between seed and soil. Grass and clovers
will not germinate until average daily soil temperatures are above 5ºC.
Temperatures need to rise to achieve satisfactory growth
• Spray with Dursban WG (Chlorpyrifos) if Leather-Jackets or Frit Fly are
expected. Dursban WG may be tank mixed with the glyphosate used to
burn off the old sward to achieve very cost effective control. Remember to
follow the guidelines laid down in the No-Drift Stewardship Campaign
• Once established, graze periodically from 8-12cm (3 – 4 ½ inches) down to
3-6cm (1 – 2 ½ inches)
This will help achieve a densely tillered leafy sward. The removal of grass
allows light to reach and stimulate grass tiller buds and clover growing points.
Sheep or young cattle are less likely to poach the developing sward.
• Weed control in the new ley is usually necessary to ensure good
establishment and to avoid a gappy sward
• If significant weed problems are expected you should consider establishing
the ley without clover and introducing it once a herbicide has been applied
to the sward
If you wanted to inject some life into your older leys, Stitching in is a very
simple but effective way to rejuvenate old or damaged grass leys without
the cost of a complete reseed. Increases in yield and quality can be achieved
without ploughing and the time spent out of production can be reduced.
Stitching in could be the way forward for you. Recent trials work has seen
results from stitching into an existing ley by:
• Increase of yield by over three tonnes of dry matter per hectare
• Increases in D value by 2 points
• Higher Crude Protein; Metabolisable Energy, and sugar contents
For more advice on re seeding, Stitching in and what grass seed mixtures
would suit your management regime please phone Adam Simper in the
seed office on 01939 210777.
Grass and Root Seed Product Manager
M: 07808 901179
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 11
WHOLE CROP SILAGE
Whole-crop silage (WCS) is a useful alternative forage for inclusion in dry, transition and milking cow diets.
The inclusion of a second forage in a mix with grass silage has been shown to increase dry animal performance
compared to feeding grass silage alone
In the dry and transition cow, WCS unlike grass
silage will provide a low mineral forage, and with
high levels of effective fibre will help to maintain
intakes. The low mineral concentration in WCS
results in a forage with a low dietary cation,
anion balance (DCAB), which helps to prevent
hypocalcaemia around parturition. However, this
generalisation may be challenged if the crop
contains a lot of green material, for example
from an under-sown ley. In these circumstances
it is worth having the forage analysed for mineral
content. One of the important aspects of transition
cow nutrition is the provision of the correct diet,
which should have sufficient effective fibre,
moderate protein concentration and must not
contain excessive energy levels which can result
in over conditioned cow. As already mentioned
WCS helps to maintain intakes which ensure
that once calved the pregnant cow can rapidly
increase intake to meet her demands for energy.
In addition WCS contains a low level of protein
which makes keeping the dry cow diet at a total
CP concentration of 14% much easier. The starch
in the forage is also important as it maintains the
rumen microbial population of starch digesting
bacteria which will be required in abundance once
the cow switches to her lactating diet.
In the lactating cow the benefits of WCS in the
diet are much the same. When fed with highly
feed where mycotoxins maybe
digestible diet, WCS provides a useful source
of effective fibre, to maintain rumen health,
encourage rumination and cudding, and maintain
milk butter fats. Starch in WCS will encourage
efficient rumen microbial protein synthesis and as
a result improve milk and milk protein production.
Dairy farmers should be aware of the possible anti
nutritional factors present in the WCS when it
comes to including the forage in the diet. A wet
season can result in fungal diseases being present
on the plant at harvest time which can still be
present at feedout. This year was especially bad
for fusarium, which produces mycotoxins that can
affect cow health and performance. Dairy farmers
who suspect that mycotoxins may be present in
their WCS forage should include a mycotoxin
binder such as Biobind SaFe® in their diets.
It is also essential that the crop has been treated
correctly at harvest. The appearance of whole
grains in the faeces of WCS fed cows suggests that
grain treatment was inadequate at harvest. This
can detract from the nutritive value of the forage
and the amount of nutrients the rumen can extract
Urea treated WCS, will contain higher levels of
CP in the form of soluble non-protein nitrogen.
Including an effective source of fermentable
carbohydrate with the forage helps the rumen
bacteria to capture the available protein and realise
the benefit of the increased protein content.
Dr. Huw McConochie
Senior Dairy Specialist
M: 07771 740857
Due to the prolonged wet weather during 2012, low applications of nitrogen
have been the norm for most farmers. The excessive rainfall experienced will
also result in any nitrates left in the soil leaching beyond rooting depth.
Early applications of fertiliser to maximise yield and protein levels will be
even more important than usual.
Consider using Sulphur products to get the best response from these
applications. The functions of sulphur are to improve the uptake of Nitrogen
and improve protein content and digestibility of the grass.
Whilst present in slurry the availability of sulphur from slurry is variable and
probably low, due to it being mainly reduced from sulphate to sulphide under
anaerobic storage conditions. The RB209 fertiliser manual states that ‘Sulphur
... inputs from manure should largely be regarded as contributing (only) to the
maintenance of soil reserves’. So, if the soil reserves are low then the grass
yield could benefit from applied sulphur.
Wynnstay offer a full range of fertiliser sulphur products. Please speak to your
Wynnstay Sales Representative about all your fertiliser requirements.
Maize starter fertiliser
Consider using 25.10.0 as a maize starter fertiliser. Manures often supply
much of the P+K required (see table 2). A large dressing from MAP/DAP is
often not necessary but a modest amount of “Starter” P may be needed to
encourage the plant root system before it can source the available nutrients.
25.10.0 is an ideal product.
Timing Product Rate kg/ha N P2O5 K20 SO3
Feb/March Cattle FYM 40t/ha, 28 144 288 0
Pre-drilling Nitram 175 60 0 0 0
Total Kg/ha 84 144 288 0
Maintaining the optimum pH for growth and fertiliser efficiency is vital. The
importance of this is supported by the figures in table 1:
Table 1: Percentage Efficiency of fertiliser use at different pH levels
pH 4.5 5 5.5 6 7
N 30 43 77 89 100
P205 23 31 48 52 100
K20 33 52 77 100 100
This shows that the utilisation of Nitrogen at a pH of 6 is twice that of a pH of 5.
A quick and effective way to raise and maintain your pH is to spread Calcifert
granular lime. It is easily spread ensuring an even pattern eliminating the
need for contractors. With low impact spreaders it can be spread at any time
of the year. No clouds of intrusive or wasteful dust are associated with its use
and it may be spread after the crop has started to grow.
M: 07990 578543
WYNNMIN LIQUID MAXITRACE
Having been used in extensive grazing systems
in the past, liquid mineral supplementation
declined in popularity due to the introduction of
feeder wagons, which allow a simple method of
supplementing powdered mineral to intensive
livestock. With the resurgence of “milk from
grass” and extensive grazing systems, liquid
minerals may be an option for some herds,
particularly those relying solely on forage
in the summer months. For cattle needing
supplementation through the transition period
and into early pregnancy, they offer one means
of an economical and constant supply.
Our specifications can be tailored to meet an
individual need. For existing liquid mineral
users we can match existing formulations and
dose rates. Delivery through existing dosing
systems or through the installation of a simple
in line doser, are the preferred methods of
delivery. For farms without a suitable water
system for an inline doser, we have a 24 hour
controlled flow dispenser which fits into the lid
of a 20 litre water drum and is simply placed
in the water through and left to slowly release.
The product can also be poured directly into the
Products are available for delivery throughout
our area in 200 litre drums or 1,000 litre
IBC’s. Though primarily aimed at grazing dairy
cows, these products are also ideal for grazing
youngstock and dry cows, to give consistent
intakes and avoid badger contamination.
For a competitive quotation or further
information, contact Alan Dickson or Iwan
Business Development Manager
M: 07968 177726
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 13
WATER QUALITY AND ANIMAL PERFORMANCE
With the exception of oxygen, water is the single most important nutrient
for livestock. Animals need a plentiful supply of good, clean water for
normal digestion and metabolism (including fermentation), proper flow of
feed through the digestive tract and proper nutrient utilization. However,
water quantity and quality can often be over-looked or taken for granted
on many livestock operations, says Michael Bain, Zinpro Country Manager.
Good quality water can be defined by a number of factors including taste,
smell, presence or absence of bacteria and other harmful substances. So
a routine water analysis, at least twice a year may help identify potential
contaminants and the need for water treatment or change of water source.
On first sampling, a broad spectrum analysis is recommended with
follow up sampling conducted if the water contains any elements which
approach or exceed the upper desired levels for livestock. Understanding
the coliform level, total dissolved solids, pH, hardness, sulphates and
nitrates are equally as important as knowing the calcium, phosphorus,
magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and
molydenum. So do tick all the boxes to make sure no stone is left
Conducting a water analysis is simple if done correctly. Sterilised sample
bottles should be used and the water source should be sampled during
times when the animals are drinking. The water should also be sampled
from the inlet and not from the water trough. The samples should arrive
at the laboratory within 24 hours.
For many producers it is an important service Wynnstay Dairy Specialists
could offer guidance to an appropriate laboratory.
Some potential water problems are detrimental to both humans and
livestock. Contamination with coliform bacteria needs attention and
elimination of the site of contamination is recommended. Iron and
manganese contamination may have the greatest impact on animal
performance by reducing water palatability, as these minerals have
a bitter taste. They also create deposits on pipes and can therefore
hinder water flow. Iron is one of the major antagonists for trace mineral
absorption in the digestive tract; therefore attention to the levels of this
element in water is important.
cows daily water intake is drank after each mailing
Nitrates/nitrites may cause reproductive failure, reduced growth and
poor oxygen carrying capacity of blood. Sulphates generally have a
laxative effect on livestock, therefore reduce feed efficiency. One needs
to identify the type of sulphate present in water to then determine the
type of treatment system used. Sulphur/sulphates also affect copper and
selenium absorption, thus creating a need for adjustment of these trace
minerals in the feed.
Adding water intake and quality to the total dietary intake of nutrients
from the rest of the ration, such as forage, concentrates, succulents and
liquids gives a far more accurate picture on total mineral intakes and
ratios than the traditional route of only using what gets fed down the feed
barrier and in the parlour. To help this evaluation, Zinpro have developed a
computer programme called H2O® which is available through Wynnstay
and calculates expected water intake based on yield, temperature, dry
matter intake and a few other variables before all the mineral values
from the water analysis and the diet are fed in to give a valuable picture
of what may be too high or out of balance with another mineral. More
information can be obtained from your Wynnstay Dairy Specialist
Through peer reviewed research and published papers by leading experts
such as Hutcheson 1996, Puls 1994, McDowell 1992, Willis 1997,
Aluminium 5.0 10.0 mg/kg
Boron 5.0 30.0 mg/kg
Calcium 100.0 200.0 mg/kg
Chloride 100.0 300.0 mg/kg
Copper 0.2 0.5 mg/kg
Flouride 2.0 2.0 mg/kg
Iron 0.2 0.4 mg/kg
Magnesium 50.0 100.0 mg/kg
Manganese 0.05 0.5 mg/kg
pH 8.5 8.5
Nitrate-Nitrogen 20.0 100.0 mg/kg
Phosphorus 0.7 0.7 mg/kg
Potassium 20.0 20.0 mg/kg
Sodium 50.0 300.0 mg/kg
Sulphur 50.0 300.0 mg/kg
Zinc 5.0 25.0 mg/kg
Thompson 1997 and Bergsrud 1990, Zinpro have been
able to compile an understanding on the point at certain
minerals in the water impact intake, due to a bitter taste in
the case of manganese and iron. This is shown in the table
as the ‘upper level’ whereas the ‘maximum level’ is the
point at which performance begins to be effected if cows are
expected to just get on and drink it, explains Michael Bain.
Ensley, in a report published in 2000, confirmed what a
lot of producers observe every day - that cows seek water
immediately after being milked. Ensley was able to add that
cows were found to drink around 40% of their daily water
intake needs after each milking (2 x systems). To help ensure
all cows leaving the parlour at the same time have adequate
trough space it is becoming common practice in American
herds to have a wall mounted trough as the picture below
shows. Every cow leaving the parlour at the same time can
access the trough by allowing at least 24’’ (60cm) per cow.
Tips to optimise water intake:
• Troughs should be big enough to allow a number of animals to drink at once. To make sure the area accessible for drinking is large enough
for the number of cows in a pen, make sure the combined trough perimeter allows for 9cm per cow
• Troughs need to be cleaned once a week to optimise intake. This task includes tipping or bucketing out the trough as well as brushing the
inside surface of the trough with a brush
• Troughs should be located within 15m of the feed trough
• Troughs in cross alleys or walkways should allow cows to easily pass each other while one is drinking. This minimises the possible effect of
the water trough area becoming somewhere a heifer or a shy cow can feel she can’t get away from a more dominant cow in the pen. Chad
Huyser from Lely would recommend a walkway 4 metres wide
• Water troughs should be between 24’’ (60cm) and 32’’ (80cm) for Holstein Friesans and 22’’ (55cm) to 30’’ (75cm) for Jerseys
The ‘take-home messages’
1. Plenty of fresh clean water in the right place at the right time
2. Test every six months
3. Have standard operating procedures for management and
cleaning of water troughs
Ruminant Feeds Product Manager
M: 07774 855026
Photos courtesy of Zinpro Corporation
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 15
DON’T TAKE YOUR EYE OFF HYGIENE
DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS
Just because the cows are out, it doesn’t mean that shortcuts can be taken with dairy hygiene routines. According to
Adrian Morgan from Wynnstay, there are plenty of sensible reasons to keep hygiene high on the agenda.
While cows might look contented when out at grass
and appear considerably cleaner than when housed,
they are still exposed to similar risks of bacterial
infection. It is all too easy to lapse into a false sense of
security, assuming cows are cleaner when in reality full
hygiene procedures should be maintained. Every year
we see a significant number of problems associated
with high bactoscans and rising cell counts during the
summer, most of which could have been prevented if
full hygiene programmes had been continued.
A herd cell count problem will not simply go away
just because the cows are out at grass. The infection is
within the udder. To keep on top of existing infections
it is essential to follow the proven five-point mastitis
programme and maintain effective hygiene practises
in the parlour.
Never assume teats are clean. Cows lying down on
a field of fresh grass may look a natural and clean
sight but they will still be exposing the udder to dirt
and bacteria. This is particularly true after a wet spell.
Scrupulous udder hygiene must be maintained and
nothing should be taken for granted. Use a premilking
biocidal preparation to ensure the removal of
bacteria from the teats before the unit is applied and
increase the attention given to teat preparation in wet
weather. Teat skin and teat ends must be clean and
dry before unit attachment.
Post milking teat disinfection is another area where
attention to detail will pay dividends. While it may
be tempting to swap to a summer product the instant
the cows are out at grass, it is sensible to carry on
with the winter product for a time until cows are fully
out. Maintaining healthy teat skin, rather than relying
on a fire fighting approach with creams and salves is
Pay attention to cubicles and loose yards. Many
farmers will keep cows in at night initially. It is
important however that just because the cows are
only housed part of the day, it does not mean cutting
back on housing hygiene. Keep bedding fresh,
passageways clean and beds disinfected to minimise
the threat of bacteria.
Once the cows are out day and night take the
opportunity to clean and disinfect the buildings. The
sooner housing is mucked out and cleaned the better,
as by doing so it removes areas where flies and vermin
can live and breed and exposes parts of the building
that requires repair and attention before restocking.
And once the buildings have been cleaned, prevent
cows from having access to them.
Finally, take the time to review any hygiene problems
you had during the winter, such as high bactoscans or
peaks in the number of clinical mastitis cases. If you
can identify the reasons for the problems you can take
steps over the summer to prevent them reoccurring
Low bactoscans don’t necessarily
mean clean milk
The production of quality raw milk is under scrutiny yet again as more focus is
being placed on producing milk with low Thermoduric levels.
Thermoduric bacteria are increasingly becoming an issue in raw milk supplies and
if they are not removed at the end of milking by an effective cleaning routine they
will stay in the plant to multiply in large numbers and be swept away into the bulk
tank at the next milking.
Thermoduric are organisms which have developed mechanisms to resist heat
treatment and can survive in small numbers during milk processing to become
spoilage organisms in finished products such as cheese, yogurt and fresh milk.
Although Thermoduric bacteria may not be of particular concern to the dairy
farmer, their presence can have an influence on the Bactoscan results if present
in large enough numbers and therefore should not be dismissed simply as a
In raw milk, Thermoduric organisms originate from sources in the cows environment
such as soil, fodder, silage, dust and the cows coat. These organisms can grow
readily on poorly cleaned and sanitised milking equipment.
• High levels above 500cfu/ml are a good indicator of poor milking plant or bulk
tank cleaning. Common faults with cleaning are:
• Inadequate volumes of water at each stage of the wash
• Poor water temperatures and profiles during the hot wash
• Poor choice or under dosing of chemical
• Poor flow and turbulence of water (mechanical action)
• Failure to include a terminal disinfection in the final rinse
• Inadequate milk stone removal treatment particularly in hard water areas
Parlour hygiene should not be thought of as a standalone task, but as part of
a total hygiene management system encompassing pre-milking hygiene, udder
hygiene and bulk tank cleaning as well as cleaning the parlour itself. It is only by
operating a managed system that optimum hygiene can be achieved across the
With this in mind it should be remembered that it is also possible and should not
be overlooked, that some Thermoduric organisms can be derived from the cows
teats and gain access to the raw milk supply through inadequate teat preparation.
The use of a pre-milking teat disinfectant to reduce bacteria on the teat skin
followed by thorough removal with individual paper towels or cloths will produce
the best and most consistent results.
Where high Bactoscan issues are being experienced it is worth considering a bulk
tank bacteriology sample which will highlight organisms of concern and potential
solutions, depending on the numbers and combinations of bacterial groups found.
An effective routine depends on four factors – chemical choice and concentration,
temperature, time and the physical action of the water. These factors work in
combination with one another and if any of them are compromised then the
routine will not be fully effective.
Modern dairy chemicals are designed to work at a specific concentration. Reducing
this concentration by over-diluting the chemical means that there is less active
ingredient in circulation and this will reduce the effectiveness of bacterial kill and
Reducing the time the chemical circulates will have the same effect, as the total
exposure of the plant to the chemical is reduced. But leaving chemicals circulating
too long is also a problem.
Temperature is an essential element in the effective melting of fat deposits and
the removal of Thermoduric bacteria that could otherwise survive heat treatment.
The aim should be to circulate the chemicals at a temperature of at least 65°C for
While it is tempting to leave the circulation cleaning running while other jobs are
carried out there is a real risk that it will be left running too long and that water
temperature will drop too low to maintain the suspension of deposits in solution,
thus re-depositing them back into the parlour.
The final key element in an effective cleaning routine is water turbulence. The
swirling action of the water plays a critical role in the removal of deposits,
especially in the claw and milk meters.
With the current focus on maximising milk bonuses and controlling costs, the time
spent reviewing the effectiveness of the parlour cleaning routine can be time well
spent as it could increase milk price and save money.
Dairy Business Development Manager
M: 07780 683043
WHICH BUILDINGS ARE BEST?
We think we know which types of buildings are best for young
cattle… but what do the cattle themselves feel? Newcastle University
researcher and vet Dr Jim Clapp is trying to find out by monitoring
the levels of chronic stress in cattle in different buildings, including
the revolutionary Roundhouse, with a view to determining the least
His current work includes monitoring dairy calves at Bays Leap Farm,
Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland. Here the farm rears 200
Holstein heifer calves from just a few days old to 12 months of age
in a Roundhouse adapted to house young calves. This is part of a
study which has now been running 20 months in which Dr Clapp
uses non-invasive techniques to determine chronic stress levels in
cattle. Calves are fitted with a girth mounted Polar heart monitor
that records the animal’s heart rate remotely, which can then be
downloaded onto a laptop for analysis. “It’s important to take
readings in a non-invasive manner to prevent stressing the calves
and under similar resting conditions to enable a valid comparison
between different management systems and building designs,” he
Cattle reared in the Roundhouse appear less chronically stressed
than in other types of housing and this is reflected in the heart rate
data he is recording, he points out.
“In the Roundhouse the calves appear more content, are able to
interact with each other, have a panoramic view of their surrounding
environment and benefit from increased air-flow and so reduced
ammonia levels,” he says. A pilot study on another farm with a
Roundhouse showed that fattening bulls one month after being
transferred from a “pretty pokey” conventional building into the
Roundhouse had significantly reduced chronic stress levels shown
by improved heart rate variability (HRV). He aims to monitor HRV
until the cattle at Bays Leap leave the building at around a year old.
“By monitoring the cattle continuously we may be able to identify if
we need to make changes in management to eliminate any chronic
Geoff Simpson, the co-designer of the Roundhouse from Barnard
Castle-based Simpson & Allison said he would use the research
to determine how the building, and other conventional ones
manufactured by his company, could improve animal welfare and
thus livestock performance. “Livestock buildings used to be seen
as being ‘just buildings’. I want our Roundhouse and conventional
buildings to actually improve animal performance so farmers get a
better return from using them,” he says.
Business Development Manager
M: 07968 177726
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 17
Future still bright for solar PV
Falling Solar PV Kit prices, 20 year FIT rates and rising energy prices
Make Solar PV a Fantastic Investment
Why invest in Solar?
Get a return on investment of approximately 10% or higher
Savings and earnings can represent a return on investment of approximately 10%, creating an additional, guaranteed revenue stream
The feed in tariff is index linked and guaranteed for the next 20 years
This means the investment is inflation proof! The feed in tariff you get will go up at the same rate as inflation
Save money by producing your own electricity
Every KW produced by your system is yours to use for free
Reduce your carbon footprint and enjoy free, clean electricity that produces no greenhouse gases!
Get paid for every KW of electricity you produce
You get paid a guaranteed feed in tariff for every KW of electricity you produce whether you use it or not
Invest with confidence in a panel that will last
Solar projects are a 20 year plus investment which will generate you payments every year.
Invest your money wisely in a quality panel with one of the longest performance warranty on the market
Protect yourself against rising electricity prices
Ofgem predicts that electricity prices will increase over the coming years
Get paid for all the surplus energy that you export back to the grid
Not only do you get paid for every KW of electricity you produce, on top of this you also get paid for surplus energy that is exported back
to the grid.
How Solar PV Works
Solar PV Array
The panels produce direct current (DC)
which is converted to alternating current
(AC) by an Invertor so that it can be used
by appliances within your home
We can supply standard silver or
black panels to suit your preference
At night when the PV system is not
producing or at times of increased
electricity demand your power will
be drawn off the grid in the
You export electricity back to the grid
when you don’t use it and get paid an
(AC) at source
Commercial Unit- 38kW System
Martin Evans, Llangedwyn, Powys - Dairy Unit
Martin Evans, a Dairy Farmer from Llangedwyn, Powys
invested in a solar PV system from Wynnstay for energy
savings on his farm in February 2012.
He opted for a 38kW £65,000 system purchased through
Wynnstay and fitted by D Jones Electrical.
The system earns 34.5p per kW/h under the FIT’s scheme,
this has amounted to an income of £12,000 between
March and October, a monthly income of around £1,500.
Martin has also been able to use the electricity generate
for his own needs as well as receiving the feed in tariff
payments. The panels, along with the introduction of a
new milking parlour have allowed Martin to reduce his
electricity bill by just under £500 a month, reducing it from
£1,100 to £600.
‘I was very keen to invest in Solar PV panels to make
savings on the amount of electricity the farm uses, as well
as benefiting from the feed in tariff income. The service
received from the installer was very good and I would
definitely recommend to others.’ Mr Evans commented.
Solar PV- Taxation Considerations
There is a degree of miss information in the public domain regarding solar
panels and taxation. The gravest of these is that the receipts are tax free by
their very nature. This is not necessarily the case and, as with any project,
there are a multitude of considerations. The following highlights some of the
key taxation issues.
Broadly speaking, for solar panels to qualify for a domestic Feed in Tariff (FIT)
which is exempt from income tax the following criteria need to be met:
1. system capacity less than 50Kw; and
2. is installed by an individual at or near their home; and
3. they do not intend the system to produce electricity that will significantly
exceed the electricity used at the dwelling (HMRC consider 20% to be
significant in this case); and
4. the FIT is received in a private capacity i.e. not bought in the business
name, not used for business purposes nor advertised as part of the business.
The downside to treating the FIT as a qualifying domestic system is that there
is no tax relief available on the capital cost of the installation. In addition none
of the input VAT (reduced rate of 5%) on the capital cost of the installation is
able to be reclaimed as no business is being carried out.
Where a business installs a solar panel system, any income from the system
will be treated as a business receipt and will be taxed as such. However tax
relief is available on the capital cost of the installation.
For businesses, tax relief on the capital cost of the installation is given in the
form of capital allowances. The rate at which relief is given varies from 0%
for buildings right up to 100% for qualifying plant and machinery. Providing
the business qualifies to claim Annual Investment Allowance (AIA), 100%
tax relief will be available on the qualifying plant and machinery costs of
installing the solar panels up to the AIA limit.
For two years from 1 January 2013, the annual ceiling on AIAs has been
increased from £25,000 to £250,000. Special transitional rules apply where
the business’s accounting date is other than 31 December. For example, if
the accounting date is 31 March, the maximum qualifying expenditure for the
whole of the year to 31 March 2013 will be £81,250 of which only £25,000
may be spent before 1 January 2013. To the extent that the expenditure
exceeds the business’s available AIA, the qualifying plant and machinery will
qualify for a tax writing down allowance of 8% per annum (post April 2012
Input VAT (standard rate of 20%) on the capital cost of the solar panel
installation will also be reclaimable subject to the usual rules. In particular
any private use of the electricity generated by the system will need to be
considered on a case by case basis. There is no output VAT on FITs received
by the business as these are outside the scope of VAT. However, where export
tariff receipts are received by a business, these are subject to output VAT at
Whittingham Riddell LLP Chartered Accountants have extensive experience of
advising clients within the agricultural sector. Please contact Graham Murphy
on 01686 626230 if you have a query you would like to discuss.
Graham Murphy BA FCA
Partner at Whittingham Riddell LLP Chartered Accountants
Wynnstay are working in collaboration with D Jones Electrical Contractors to offer a range of renewable solutions to both agricultural
and domestic customers. For more information on solar PV and other renewable products please call 01691 662690.
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 19
WYNNSTAY PRODUCTS FOR DAIRY
COWS/YOUNGSTOCK AT GRASS 2013
Formulated with milk inducing ingredients only, no fillers. Designed to
maximise milk output, whilst optimising health and fertility. All our dairy
feeds contain the unique ‘HEALTHCARE’ supplement with Availa Zinc,
Copper MAAC and Selplex for optimum health and fertility and good feet.
We offer a bespoke service to provide a personal blend for your herd.
Formulated to balance your home grown forages and other feeds, we provide
a wide range of milk inducing and quality enhancing ingredients – rolled
wheat; maize meal; sugar beet pulp; toasted soya hulls; distillers; hipro soya;
rape; Biopro rape; protected fat
• WYNNMIN PREMIER HI-MAG - free access – quality high magnesium
• MINPOT Mag - high magnesium, molassed mineral bucket – highly
palatable way of getting extra magnesium into ruminants
• MAGNESIUM BULLETS
• WYNNMIN MAXITRACE - liquid minerals incl RUMAG
• CALCINED MAGNESITE - 60% magnesium, can be unpalatable
• MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE flakes - 12% magnesium. Mix with water. Not
most effective way of getting Mag into cows due to variable water
intakes. Also helps control milk fevers
• HEIFER 600 tub - very high inclusion of major and trace elements
including copper MAAC and zinc methionate. Also contains protected fat.
Includes garlic to keep away flies. Feed to dairy heifers for good growth
rates or as a supplement to improve health & fertility in dairy cows.
• BIOSPRINT live yeast - ideal for buffering rumen pH caused by excess
levels of sugar. Feed 50g/hd/day with buffer feed
• HIMALAYAN RED ROCK SALT - highly available salt source. Offer to all
stock except dry cows
• C-16 fat - to maintain butterfats in high yielding cows
• QLF MOLASSES - high quality sugar & beet cane molasses blended with
lactose with and without magnesium
ANIMAL HEALTH 2013 GRAZING SEASON
• CYDECTIN LA 10% Injection for catttle (single injection for season long
protection from PGE)
• Autoworm First Grazer Boli (Single Boli For Season Long Protection
• Autoworm Finisher Boli Single Boli For 2nd Season Grazed Cattle
• Panacur Boli Oxfendazole Boli for Cattle
• Cydectin Pour On 2 Easy Application @ Grass For Season Long
Protection From Pge
• Dectomax Pour On 2 Easy Application @ Grass For Season Long
Protection From Pge
• Paramectin Pour On 3 X Application @ Grass For Worm Control
• Fly Control At Grass For Grazing Cattle
• SPOT ON
• BUTOX SWISH
• DYSECT CATTLE
Various Rutland Electric Fences And Accessories Available
• Mains Powered Energisers - running costs are low. no batteries, and
less likely to be damaged by animals
• 12 volt wet battery energisers - for fence moved infrequently or is
semi-permanent and no mains power available
• dry battery powered energisers - for fence moved daily. lightweight
and easy to relocate. batteries can last between 1 - 6 months.
• solar powered energisers - ideal for remote areas, or areas without
access to mains power
• Plastic economy electric fence posts for strip grazing
• 9 volt dry batteries available
• Various fence line insulators available
CALVES & HEIFERS
• WYNNGOLD Calf Milk Powders - a range to suit all systems
• START ‘N’ WEAN nuts - 3 days to 12 weeks of age for early rumen
• HEIFER GRAZING + BIOSPRINT nuts - high energy rearing
nut for great growth rates
To discuss any of the articles or for more information
about any of the products listed in this edition
Dairy Newsletter, contact your local Wynnstay
representative or ring Wynnstay Sales
or email: email@example.com
Wynnstay Group Plc
Eagle House s Llansantffraid s Powys s SY22 6AQ
Telephone: 01691 828512 s Fax: 01691 828690
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org s Web: www.wynnstay.co.uk
Registered No. 2704051 VAT Reg No. 159 1866 30 Registered in Wales and England
Images are for illustration purposes only.