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N e w s l e t t e r - Wynnstay


N e w s l e t t e r

Spring 2013

• 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

2012 1

This issue...

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

of Rearing

6 Colostrum:

Making the most of

home grown resources

8 Cow Comfort

9 Ketosis

10 Going for Gold -

‘Green Gold’

11 An opportunity to

improve your grass


12 Whole Crop Silage

13 Fertiliser Update

13 Wynnmin Liquid


14 Water Quality and

Animal Performance

16 Don’t take your eye

off hygiene during the

summer months

16 Low bactoscans don’t

necessarily mean

clean milk

17 Which buildings are


18 Future Still Bright for

Solar PV

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 winter.

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

worth while”


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


Bob Kudelski

Sales Specialist

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

day milking.

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.

7 litres

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

• Vaccination

• Disbudding

• Castration

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!

Gill Dickson

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.

Extra ingredients

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.

How much?



Best practice

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

Colostrum Corner

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.









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


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

oesophageal feeder

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.



Gill Dickson

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

Where C=A-D

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.

Iwan Vaughan

Dairy Specialist

M: 07990 578548


Figure 1




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

Extended calving


Over conditioned

at drying off

Increased incidence

of ketosis

Increased incidence of;

Retained placentas,

Metritis, LDS’s,

Fatty liver

Excessive dry period weight loss

Excessive fat


Over conditioned

ar calving





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



Incidence rate


incidence rate

Baseline cost

of disease

Cost above baseline of

current performance

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


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

in feed.

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’.

Iwan Vaughan

Dairy Specialist

M: 07990 578548


Average Daily Growth Rates Season 2012 (KG DM/Ha)





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.

Adam Simper

Grass and Root Seed Product Manager

M: 07808 901179


Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 11


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

Biobind SaFe®

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

from it.

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.

Table 2:

Timing Product Rate kg/ha N P2O5 K20 SO3

Feb/March Cattle FYM 40t/ha, 28 144 288 0

(available) ploughed

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.

Dave Mitchell

Fertiliser Manager

M: 07990 578543



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

water troughs.

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


Alan Dickson

Business Development Manager

M: 07968 177726


Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 13


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,

Upper Level

(intake effected)

Maximum Level

(performance effected)


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

Steve Brown

Ruminant Feeds Product Manager

M: 07774 855026


Photos courtesy of Zinpro Corporation

Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Spring 2013 15



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

next winter.

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

processing issue.

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

milking process.

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

deposit removal.

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

3 minutes.

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.

Adrian Morgan

Dairy Business Development Manager

M: 07780 683043



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

stressful environment.

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

Jim Clapp


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.

Alan Dickson

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

DC Isolator

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

DC/AC Inverter

AC Isolator

Generator Meter

Imported Electricity

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

traditional way

Exported Electricity

You export electricity back to the grid

when you don’t use it and get paid an

export tariff

Alternating Current

(AC) at source

Consumer Unit






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




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


• 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


• CYDECTIN LA 10% Injection for catttle (single injection for season long

protection from PGE)

• Autoworm First Grazer Boli (Single Boli For Season Long Protection

From Pge)

• 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





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


• 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

Support on

01691 828512

or email: info@wynnstay.co.uk

Wynnstay Group Plc

Eagle House s Llansantffraid s Powys s SY22 6AQ

Telephone: 01691 828512 s Fax: 01691 828690

Email: info@wynnstay.co.uk 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.

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