N e w s l e t t e r
• An introduction to
• Helping British Farmers
to Benchmark for Profit
• Making the most of
late summer & autumn
• Keeping an eye on milk
quality at grass
Wynnstay are proud to support the
needs of the British Dairy Farmer
Wynnstay Group Plc
Dairy Newsletter September
3 An introduction to
4 Milk Taxi improves farm
5 Soychlor - A new
approach to reducing
6 Cow signals: Light & Air
7 Cooling & fan systems
7 Heifers in the hot spot
8 Walford Farm Notes
9 Got worms? Kill worms.
More milk. Responsible
use. Good call.
10 Recipe for silage
11 Helping British farmers
to benchmark for profit
12 Making the most of late
summer and autumn
13 Maxammon Wholcrop.
A rumen friendly
Welcome to the summer edition of our Dairy Newsletter
In this edition we have articles from our Dairy Technical Team covering a range of issues including
transition cow management, making the most of late summer and autumn grass and a new
approach to reducing milk fever.
Dr Huw McConochie introduces our new Benchmarking for Profit Groups which have recently
been established in South Wales and Shropshire, helping British dairy farmers to become more
We also have testimonials from our customers Mr Alun Thomas from Llangorse, Brecon and the
Marks family from Ceredigion highlighting how working with Wynnstay has helped improve their
We will again be attending The Livestock Event at the NEC, Birmingham on the 3rd and 4th July.
We are inviting everyone along to the stand to meet our Dairy Technical Team and discuss the
wide range of products and services available from Wynnstay.
We hope you enjoy this edition, if you require any further information please don’t hesitate to
contact a member of our team on the contact details provided.
Visit our stand at the Livestock Event for a chance
to win a HV1250 Belt Drive Fan worth over £550
STAND NUMBER : FF440
14 Functioning fertility
15 Keep an eye on milk
quality at grass
16 Fertiliser Update
16 Cereal Seed Update
17 Transition cow housing
that will improve your
Order any product
from the Transition
80/20 range at the
Livestock 2013 and
receive a FREE
18 Forage Mineral Analysis,
an essential tool to
improve cow health
19 Renewable Energy
20 Wynnstay product
to Transition 80/20
Managing tomorrow’s lactation today…
The concept of the 80/20 principle was first described in 1897 by
the Italian economist Vilfredo. At the time he was looking at the
distribution of wealth and found that 80% of it belonged to 20% of
the population. In modern times the successful business entrepreneur
and 80/20 guru, Richard Koch has written numerous books describing
the 80/20 principle and how it is applied in the world of business.
Simply by thinking 80/20, he believes that it is possible to achieve
far more from less. This is achieved by identifying the key drivers of
business performance and understanding how to manipulate them
to improve it. The net result of applying 80/20 methodology is that
businesses become more efficient and profitable.
I soon realised that the principle could be applied in the successful
management of dairy cows and I was not alone.
In the United States Ken Nordlund and his team who were evaluating
and characterising the importance of transition cow management
at the Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine had inadvertently
already described in part, the 80/20 concept in action in a research
publication, Professor Nordlund stated “Workers at the cow and herd
level within the dairy industry know that if a cow passes the transition
period, the 3 weeks before and after calving, without problems, her
subsequent lactation is likely to be successful”.
Fundamentally, there are two key periods that need to be added to
this statement. Firstly, to have a successful dry and transition period
a cow needs to be dried off in the correct body condition score (BCS).
This can only be achieved if her BCS is evaluated and corrected in the
final trimester of lactation. Secondly , a cow is only profitable if she
gets back in calf, and ideally to achieve this she needs to be cycling
by the end of the voluntary waiting period (VWP)
Ironically when all these aspects of management are brought
together we find that a successful lactation and profitable lifespan is
only possible if these three important periods are managed correctly.
Together these periods equate to 11 weeks, ie 20% of the cows
production cycle which contribute to success in the other 41 weeks or
80%. In essence what I have just described is the basis for the 80/20
principle in dairy cow management in what can be described as the
complete transition period.
With the 20% period clearly defined we can begin to identify the
influential aspects of this period which affect the cows performance.
With this information we can employ ways to manipulate them
to our advantage, helping to improve the financial and physical
performance of our herd. The development of the transition cow index
(TCI) in the United States has demonstrated that the financial rewards
associated with correct and effective management of the 20% period
The list below describes the elements of the 20% period that have the
most influential bearing on cow performance;
• Evaluation of condition score in the final trimester of lactation and
• Implementation of an effective drying off strategy
• Emphasis on cow comfort, feeding space and grouping
• Correct dry cow nutrition
• Three group strategy – Far off, close up and up to 28 DIM (days in
• Monitoring cows in the first three weeks of lactation
The influence of the complete transition period and its association
with 80/20 principle has resulted in the establishment of the
Wynnstay Transition 80/20 concept. The concept includes a range
of products and management blueprints designed to address all
aspects of cow management during this short but significant period
in the production cycle. To monitor the influence of the Transition
80/20 concept on farm profitability, Wynnstay have also developed a
range of performance calculators which characterise the magnitude
of recoverable costs that exist in the dairy operation in relation to the
transition 80/20 period and monitor the effect of implementing the
Transition 80/20 concept.
Implementation of the Transition 80/20 concept is designed to ensure
better production performance, reductions in metabolic diseases,
improved fertility and a healthier bottom line for herd managers who
adopt Transition 80/20
Transition 80/20; Key period management for improved profits
Less calving difficulties
Less milk fever and retained cleansings
Reduced negative energy balance
Reduced incidence of Ketosis
Reduced incidence of LDA’s and metritis
Improved milk yield
Reduced forced culling
Up to end
Lactation Dry Calving Lactation
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 3
MILK TAXI IMPROVES FARM EFFICIENCY
Ceredigion farmers John, Olive and Huw Marks have gradually
expanded their Holstein herd to 330 cows over the last 20 years. Huw
is keen to keep the heifers growing quickly with a view to entering
the herd at 24 months. A heifer calved at 24 months calves more
easily, and has a greater lifetime yield than one calved at 28 months.
With this in mind the heifer calves are targeted to grow at 0.8kg/day
on average from 0-24 months. This means the calves need to get off
to a quick start and put on a large frame in the first 3 months.
Huw likes to rear the calves himself, and when he is unavailable,
wanted to make sure the calves had a consistent ration. Last year
he invested in a Holm & Laue Milk Taxi on the advice of the local
Wynnstay Representative Bob Kudelski. Huw says “the first calf and
the last get exactly the same, and if I am not around its programmed
so anyone can do it.”
Before the calves are born the dry cows receive a Rotavec Corona
vaccination to improve the quality of the colostrum. It then becomes
even more important to make sure every calf has 4 litres of colostrum
in the first 6 hours. As soon as calves are born they are moved to the
draught proof colostrum pens (IBCs) where they have 2 feeds in the
first 6 hours. They then have 2 x 2.5 litres for the first 3 days which
helps to protect against calf hood diseases. When they are sucking
well they are transferred to individual hutches and started on milk
powder mixed up at 150g/litre in the Milk Taxi. It only takes a short
trip with the Milk Taxi to feed round. The calves are much less prone
to digestive upsets as the ration is consistent and at blood heat. The
Milk Taxi is easily cleaned stainless steel, and it circulates detergent
around the drum and pipes after feeding time to minimise hygiene
The Milk Taxi plugs into a mains supply while the water is heated to
the correct temperature. It then mixes the milk powder with a powerful
agitator. The Taxi can then be unplugged and driven to the hutches.
A pre-set program dispenses milk to the calves via a hose and pistol.
Young calves get 2.5 litres of Wynngold ‘Stellar’ milk twice/day and
older calves 3 litres. After 3 weeks the calves are mixed into groups
of 6 and continue on milk until around 8 weeks old when they are
weaned onto Wynnstay ‘Start &Wean’ nuts which are fed ad lib with
straw until 12 weeks old. The calves then go onto a TMR consisting of
straw/ QLF liquid feed/ blend and a heifer mineral containing Biotin.
Huw says “every farmer would buy a Milk Taxi if they had to feed
the calves themselves, more often this unpopular job is delegated
to others. The job is more enjoyable than lugging buckets round the
yard and easier on the operator. The calves do better and the job gets
done in half the time.”
National Calf Specialist
M: 07971 296702
SOYCHLOR - A NEW APPROACH
TO REDUCING MILK FEVER
Alun Thomas, with his wife Liz, farm the 395 acre Upper Pendre Farm
at Llangorse near Brecon. The farm is home to the 200 cow pedigree
Llynsafaddan Holstein-Friesian herd plus a beef and arable enterprise,
with an average 3LU,s per hectare. The herd average over 8000 litres with
3000 litres being produced from forage.
Milk fever and its associated problems, as on many dairy farms, was a
constant problem. Alun tried many things over the years with varied
success. Bryn Hughes, from Wynnstay, introduced Alun to the product
SoyChlor as a possible answer to the problem.
SoyChlor has been developed by Professor Jesse Goff at the University of
Iowa in the USA, to reduce the incidence of milk fever (hypocalcaemia)
and the related disorders of retained cleansings, uterine infections,
displaced abomasums, poor milk initiation and ketosis. It is designed to
counter the depressive effects of high Potassium levels found in forages
and to ensure an available supply of Calcium. The use of SoyChlor in the
“close up” dry cow group produces a “partial anionic” diet which unlike
previous “anionic supplements” encourages feed intake in the first few
days after calving as a result of the improved blood Calcium levels.
being produced from forage
SoyChlor was introduced to the UK in 2012, and Upper Pendre Farm
was one of the first farms to evaluate this new approach to reducing
hypocalcaemia. Dry cows were moved into the Transition or Close Up
group 2-3 weeks before calving and were fed a diet based on grass silage
and straw supported by concentrates including SoyChlor dispensed
through an out of parlour feeder. The daily intake of SoyChlor is adjusted
dependent on the Potassium challenge to Calcium utilisation, and in this
case was fixed at 1kg/cow/day.
Over the course of the 2012/13 winter period 120 cows calved down
having received SoyChlor as part of their Transition Diet. Since being on
SoyChlor, Alun Thomas reported that no cows have developed milk fever,
including 3rd + parity cows. The box of Calcium bottles remained largely
unused throughout the winter. Displaced abomasums, which were a major
problem in the past, are now very isolated cases. Retained placentas have
virtually disappeared and the incidence of uterine infections (whites) is
no more than 3%. No new mastitis cases in cows, previously free of udder
infections, have been reported. Cows calved down easily and rapidly
recovered their appetite, resulting in cows coming into milk quickly and
reaching 40 litres/day by the end of the first week. As a consequence,
ketosis, which was a problem last year, has been eliminated with bloods
showing no cows at risk this winter. It is already apparent from the better
health of cows at calving that fertility is improving.
When asked what are the biggest benefits he has seen from using
SoyChlor, Alun Thomas said “it is the ease of management around calving
and the reduced time and resources in dealing with health problems at
calving which is the biggest gain I have seen”.
SoyChlor is a new specialist Transition feed which is already demonstrating
its effectiveness in reducing hypocalcaemia in cows at calving and
improving overall herd health and fertility.
• SoyChlor is a dietetic feedingstuff for pre-calving cows
• It has been designed to produce a “Partial Anionic” diet
• Its DCAB is -3,000meq/kg DM
• It contains 20% Crude Protein (DM basis)
• It has a high level of Undegradable Proteins from Heat
Treated Soya and Distillers
• Ruminant ME (calculated) = 9.4 MJ/kg DM
Senior Ruminant Specialist
M: 07774 736707
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 5
Cow Signals: Light & Air
Provision of air and light are two points of the ‘Cow Signals’ diamond
which contribute to the health and performance of the dairy cow. Both
of these fundamental elements are often overlooked probably because
of a lack of appreciation of their importance. Air and light are very broad
descriptions. More accurately it’s the provision of clean cool air of low
humidity and the correct duration of light and its intensity.
As a rule of thumb a 630 kg dairy cow giving 30 litres of milk generates
1.5kw of heat, the equivalent of fifteen 100w light bulbs. A cow maintains
a comfortable body temperature by dissipating heat in her breath and by
the less efficient means of sweating. Heat stress occurs in cows when
the temperature humidity index (THI) exceeds 71 (Figure 1). The THI is
the interaction between temperature and humidity. As the temperature
increases the humidity of the air surrounding the cow needs to be lower
to accommodate the transfer of heat between the cow and the air. Above
a THI of 71 the cow’s ability to dissipate heat begins to be compromised.
At this point she begins to experience moderate heat stress and it
starts to compromise her performance. Heat stress can affect dry matter
intake, fertility, health and production. In severe cases production can be
affected by up to 35%. Interestingly conditions which predispose cows to
heat stress are not uncommon even in the UK. These conditions can be
compounded by poor building design. As can be seen from Figure 1, the
critical THI index can be reached at a mere 25 o C.
Temprature Humidity Index (THI)
C 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
22 66 66 67 68 69 69 70 71 72
24 68 69 70 70 71 72 73 74 75
26 70 71 72 73 74 75 77 78 79
28 72 73 74 76 77 78 80 81 82
30 74 75 77 78 80 81 83 84 86
32 76 77 79 81 83 84 86 88 90
34 78 80 82 84 85 87 89 91 93
36 80 82 84 86 88 90 93 95 97
38 82 84 86 89 91 93 96 98 100
40 84 86 89 91 94 96 99 101 104
No heat stress
Moderate heat stress
Severe heat stress
Figure 1 (Taken from NADIS)
Temperature humidity index table.
The first signs of heat stress will be cows looking for fresh cooler air
by moving to areas of the building where there is better ventilation.
Lethargy, increased standing, panting and excessive drooling are also
indicators. Low fat: protein ratios can also be an indication that a herd is
suffering from prolonged periods of heat stress.
The important thing to remember with heat stress is that it’s the
temperature and humidity in the building that’s important and not the
conditions outside since the cow generates significant amounts of heat
that influences the immediate environment. The key to preventing heat
stress is effective ventilation. In well-designed buildings with open sides
and ridges, ventilation can usually be achieved naturally. In situations
where this cannot be achieved it may be necessary to install fans or tubes
in order to achieve adequate ventilation. These conditions can occur as a
result of poorly designed buildings and weather conditions.
It is important to ensure that fans are installed to drive ventilation rather
than to circulate the air within the building. Circulation only moves
the moisture laden air around the building and does not promote the
exchange of inside air with clean lower humidity air from outside.
But it’s not just the housing area that is a problem. Collecting yards where
cows congregate at high density can also be problematic and is the first
place to consider the installation of fans when heat stress is identified as
being an issue.
Although spring is here and the days are getting longer, the summer
is a good time to prepare for the next housing period. Addressing the
provision of light in cow accommodation with the installation of
appropriate lighting systems can pay dividends. According to research, an
optimum photoperiod of 16 hours light and 8 hours dark will on average
increase milk yield by 6-10%.
In severe cases production can be affected by up to
The science behind the effect is linked to light reception in the eyes retina
and the indirect inhibition of melatonin synthesis in the pineal gland. As
photoperiod increases, the duration of high levels of melatonin in the
blood decreases. Melatonin concentration in the blood influences the
concentration of some hormones in the blood, for example, insulin-like
growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Scientists believe changes in the concentration
of IGF-1 play a role in the effect of photoperiod on milk production, as
IGF-1 has been shown to increase milk yield. However it is not advisable
to increase the provision of light above 16 hours as this can then have a
detrimental effect on fertility.
Producers considering artificially imposing extended day light hours need
to consider the importance of light intensity. To have an effect the light
intensity during the light period needs to be in the range of 180 to 200
lux. This can be quite easily measured using a portable light meter. As a
rule of thumb the light level should be sufficient for you to comfortably
read your paper while sat in the cubicle shed or straw yard.
Interestingly reversing the light dark ratio during the dry period can also
be beneficial. Research has shown that exposing dry cows to 16 hours of
darkness and 8 hours of light results in better udder development prepartum
and improved colostrum quality. The benefits of this effect would
include higher milk production but also improved immune status of the
newly born calf.
Farmers attending this year’s Livestock event at the NEC Birmingham will
have the opportunity of entering a draw to win a Hydor HV1250 48”high
efficiency single phase belt driven fan ideally suited for installation in
collecting yards or cow accommodation.
Visit our stand at the Livestock Event for a chance
to win a HV1250 Belt Drive Fan worth over £550
COOLING & FAN SYSTEMS
50” and 70” Cyclone Fan
The components are designed to cover all
aspects of a good ventilation system. One of
VES Environmental Solutions’ most versatile
products is the 50˝ and 72˝ CYCLONE variable
horizontal circulation fan. This high efficiency
variable speed drive fan is a one of a kind in the
world today. The 72˝ heavy aluminium 6 paddle
blade produces in excess of 80,000 CFM of air
movement while using only 2.2 KW of power on
high speed and 300 watts on low.
Our BLAST Series of fiberglass housing
re-circulating fans are the most powerful and
efficient fan available in the market today.
Our smooth bell shaped intake is designed for
optimum performance and is balanced with an
exhaust opening for maximum air velocity and
This lightweight fan is easier to handle than
heavy metal housing fans and designed for
the harshest environments. Designed for
performance and efficiency, our new series again
raises the bar for the competition to follow.
Canarm’s “TF” series stainless steel panel fans
are designed for use in air tube ventilation
systems for dairy and calf housing.
Dr. Huw McConochie
Senior Dairy Specialist
M: 07771 740857
Heifers in the hot spot
Calf hutches are springing up on dairy farms everywhere as a neat
solution to poorly ventilated calf sheds. Individual hutches limit the
spread of diseases such as rotavirus in new-born calves and provide
shelter and warmth. In many ways they are a good solution to pneumonia
problems and as they are mobile, can be moved to a fresh area for each
calf, thus limiting disease carry over. The only downside to hutches is
during extremes of temperature.
Calves become stressed when the temperature goes below 10° C or
above 26°C. As the weather warms up above 26° C, the calf reaches
its ‘upper critical temperature’. At this temperature calves will use
additional energy to cool down, and this costs money in terms of
decreased appetite and compromised live-weight gain. It is important
to provide extra calories in hot weather by providing more milk solids.
A badly designed hutch, especially if it is a dark colour with no roof
ventilation, can become like an oven in direct sunlight. As the calf tries
to cool down it comes out into the warm air, then returns to seek shade
in the hutch. There is no escape from the heat. Calves will naturally
increase their respiratory rate to try and cool down, and their water intake
increases. We can help by jacking up the back of the hutch on blocks,
to increase air circulation, and provide ad lib cold water. Cold water 10-
15°C is preferable to get rid of excess heat. The calves may become
ill, or scour as their immune system is compromised, and in a worst
case scenario dehydration and death may follow. Shading or placing the
hutches under trees will cool the hutches and reduce the stress. Black
calves, and those with thick hair will suffer more owing to heat retention.
In a July 2012 Journal of Dairy Science study, elevating the back of the
hutch lowered evening respiratory rates from 58 to 44 breaths/minute
and lowered carbon dioxide levels. In another study in conventional
housing, using fans to force air into buildings improved weight gain, feed
Holm & Laue calf garden
conversion efficiency, and lowered respiration rates.
Older heifers which are ready to calve down, will drink more, eat less,
and fertility will suffer. It has been shown that the quantity and quality
of colostrum produced is poor in a hot period. Heat stressed heifers
have smaller less vigorous calves who are not so efficient at absorbing
antibodies from colostrum, resulting in a poor start.
There are some innovative building designs which not only shade the
hutches but also keep rain off the beds, saving straw. Strategies to
minimize the effects of heat stress ,include modifications to existing
housing such as fans or water sprinklers, and providing shade as well
as ad lib cold water.
National Calf Specialist
M: 07971 296702
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 7
WALFORD FARM NOTES
It is now mid-May and all is on course for the official opening of the new dairy and buildings by the Minister of
Agriculture in early July. The main open day is planned for 22nd September. The photographs (taken 2nd week May)
make early July achievable and we’re all excited for cows being through the new system by mid-July.
Cows are currently averaging 27 litres which is good considering the
number of late lactation cows currently in the herd. The number of
stale cows is a problem but the 100 day in-calf rate has substantially
improved so fertility is definitely moving in the right direction.
We put a lot of the improvements down to the transition diet which
consists of chopped straw, grass silage, maize silage, dairy blend,
bespoke pre-calver minerals, liver function supplement, urea,
limestone and Biobind® (mycotoxin binder). We’ve only had 1 case of
milk fever in the last 8 months and no LDA’s
Current milkers diet is grass silage, maize silage, 10kg blend, 2kg
QLF molasses, 0.5kg Galaxy fat, bespoke milking minerals with free
choice red rock salt. Fresh calvers are easily reaching 45litres and
cows are getting back in calf better.
Late lactation cows and far off dry cows will shortly be going out onto
a loafing paddock and have a couple of hours at the feed barrier.
Looking forward to the new building, the robot and the out of parlour
feeders will have the ability to feed two types of compounds, for
example a protein and a starch based concentrate which will enable
more accurate targeting of concentrates.
We will also be using an Aggers pump to target high yielding cows
with a fresh cow solution.
Cows receive treatment for fluke at drying off and are wormed with
Cydectin at 1 week pre-calving.
Since the last edition, we have drilled 100 acres of maize, 20 acres
of fodder beet are in and have emerged. We’ve got an option to take
75 acres for wholecrop also. Two new 1,000t silage clamps have also
Our focus for 2014 will be to increase milk from home grown feeds
so let’s hope for some good weather for 1st cut silage, we all need it.
Walford College & North Shropshire College
M: 07815 054337
Got worms? Kill worms. More
milk. Responsible use. Good call
An unknown but possibly quite large number of dairy herds are
believed to be missing out on a litre per cow per day, maybe more,
due to sub-clinical gastrointestinal (GI) worm burdens, according to
Zoetis vet Andrew Montgomery. To help farmers identify whether this
applies to their herd, and simultaneously ensure responsible use of
animal medication, a bulk milk test for antibodies to GI worms is
being made available free of charge to Wynnstay Group Plc customers.
Please ask your local Animal Health advisor.
68% of herds with worm antibody levels have
“probable sub-clinical effects on health and production”
According to the Control of Worms Sustainably manual, the bulk
milk test “has a reported good repeatability and results suggest
that the ELISA [the test] can be used to assess whether GI-nematode
infections are potentially affecting milk yield in a herd.” 1 However, it
also suggests this potential is probably under-exploited as yet, saying
that “monitoring worm infections in adult cattle by this means has
not been routinely adopted yet.”
To help farmers evaluate the likely impact in their own herds, the
animal health company Zoetis (formerly Pfizer) has developed a
laptop-based ready-reckoner, which Wynnstay Group Plc’s SQPs
can use with their customers to translate bulk milk test results into
predicted responses to worming.
A pilot study on 449 milk samples last year found 68% of herds with
worm antibody levels that would have “probable sub-clinical effects on
health and production,” according to the test guidelines. The stomach
worm Ostertagia ostertagi is the species identified most often in dairy
cows 2,3 , and known to suppress appetite 4 , explains Mr Montgomery.
“Numerous trials have found a yield response to worming treatment,
typically in the region of 1kg/cow/day,” he says 5 .
“At 25p/litre, this would be worth £76/cow over a 305-day lactation,
or about £16,500/year in a typical 200-cow herd. Some trials have
also identified improvements in reproductive performance although
this remains to be proven absolutely.” 5
“Of course, all grazing cattle, youngstock and adults alike, are
susceptible to infection by worms, although dairy cows rarely show
clinical signs. In their absence, an intuitive but incorrect assumption
would be than no harm is being done. It is true that adult cows
infected with stomach worms but not showing signs are able to do
so having developed natural immunity. Nevertheless, there are at
least two important consequences that can make strategic worming
a good investment.
“The first is that worms reduce appetite, which clearly is critical to
animal performance in early lactation, with a bearing therefore on
optimum timing of treatment. The second and less obvious impact
of worm infection is that mounting an immune response consumes
energy that otherwise could be available for milk production.”
To take maximum advantage of the increased feed intakes that can
result from de-worming, Mr Montgomery suggests the optimum
timing is during the late dry period. He recommends that treatment is
integrated into the standard management routine pre-calving.
With the critical issue of responsible medicine use in mind, he also
emphasises the importance of doing the bulk milk test and consulting
an SQP or vet before deciding whether treatment is required. The
British Veterinary Association has produced an advisory poster
encouraging vets to “think twice before prescribing anthelmintics.”
It also states, “anthelmintics are a necessary option but their use
must be judicious.” One dictionary defines judicious as “showing
reason and good judgement in making decisions,” which Andrew
Montgomery suggests is something that all dairy farmers are striving
for, all of the time.
Anthelmintic treatment before calving can help to reduce the
energy gap by improving appetite and digestion
The Energy Gap
Months after calving
1. Prof MA Taylor, 2010. Sustainable worm control strategies for cattle:
A technical manual for veterinary surgeons and advisors. Eblex/Dairyco.
2. Agneessens J et al (2000) Veterinary Parasitology 90, 83-92.
3. Borgsteede FHM et al (2000) Veterinary Parasitology 89, 287-296.
4. Forbes, AB et al (2004) Veterinary Parasitology 125, 353-364.
5. Charlier, J et al (2009) Veterinary Parasitology 164, 70-79.
6. British Veterinary Association, undated. Responsible use of anthelmintics in grazing
animals. Poster downloaded 26/3/13 from http://www.bva.co.uk/public/documents/
Instructions for taking up the free bulk milk test
for Wynnstay Group Plc customers can be found
at www.zoetis.co.uk/cydectintestkit. A FREEPHONE
enquiry line is also available on 0800 112 3707
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 9
A recipe for silage
Take a field of sweet grass (at least 2% sugars), cut on a sunny day and leave to wilt for up to 24 hours. Add plenty of
lactic acid bacteria, a pinch of microbial inhibitor and mix well before wrapping tightly to exclude air. Leave to ferment
for 6 weeks in a cool, dry place before opening and feeding to livestock. If only it was that easy.
Grazed grass is the cheapest feed on most British dairy farms, yet it is also the most poorly utilised. Whether grazed or fed as silage, grass provides
over half the dry matter intake of most dairy cows so small improvements in utilisation can have a major impact on milk production costs.
For example, dry matter (DM) losses from big bale silage average 7% but can be as much as 13% (IGER data). This means that for every 1000 bales
at 30% DM, a loss of 7% is equivalent to 10.5 tonnes of DM, which with concentrates at £290/tonne adds up to a massive £3,045. But this need not
be the case; pay attention to detail, use quality proven products and the resulting top quality silage will pay dividends.
Bale it right
Chopping the grass allows for better compression reducing the amount of air left in the bale to
fuel proliferation of bacteria. Wilt quickly to 25-50% DM, present swaths well and apply additive
to control fermentation. If you imagine a bale as an ‘mini clamp’, each will have a slightly
different mix of grasses with its own set of bacteria, and hence individual fermentation process,
explaining why you can get significant differences between bales at feedout. A good
inoculant will make the fermentation faster and more efficient thereby minimising the activities
of undesirable microorganisms, reducing losses, improving quality, palatability and consistency.
Of course, the use of additives cannot overcome poor silage making practices, highly adverse
weather conditions nor can they improve the quality of silage made from poor material.
Treat it right
Wynnstay Hi-Dri silage additive has been specially developed for high dry matter and big bale grass silage.
High DM forages are more difficult to ensile because the crop is harder to compact and remove all the
air. In addition today’s silages made from grass that has been wilted for 24 hours will have higher levels
of spoilage organisms. Wynnstay Hi-Dri is a biological inoculant with a highly concentrated formulation
delivering two million lactic acid producing bacteria per gram of forage. This high level rapidly overcomes
or out-competes the high levels of spoilage organisms, leads to a rapid initial fermentation which quickly
reduces pH, stabilising the silage and minimising nutrient losses.
Another problem with these high DM silages is that once opened, yeasts and moulds can proliferate leading
to aerobic spoilage. Hi-Dri contains Alliin, a natural microbial inhibitor found in garlic which inhibits growth
of these microorganisms so keeping silage cool and reducing risk of aerobic spoilage.
Wrap it right
Use a quality net wrap to make even and compact bales. Use a good quality bale wrap such as
Volac Topwrap to ensure nutrients will be fully protected, wrapping round bales with at least
four layers of film. Six layers are recommended for high DM (>40%) round bales, all square bales,
heavy chopped bales and bales for livestock sensitive to mould. Traditionally black film is used,
however green and white are proven to keep bales cooler and promote better fermentation.
Volac Topwrap Eco-green is proven to reduce spoilage and improve silage quality.
Topwrap 750mm Topwrap 2000
• State of the art manufacturing techniques which give uniform
stretch, thickness and reduced necking
• A superior product, at the right price
• Available in Eco-Green, Black
and White and in a full range of sizes
• Superior impermeability to air and water
• Strong and durable with ideal tack levels
• UV protection for all climates
• Supported by Volac technical back-up and advice
• 10% cost saving per bale
• 33% extra film per roll (500m)
• Up to 30% extra output - up to 10 more bales per roll
• 24% less plastic per bale so less waste
• Reduced logistic costs (transport, storage, handling etc.)
• No need to change gears (stretch at 70%)
• As good as standard film, proven in independent trials
• A round bale netwrap for use in all balers and on all crops
• Guaranteed minimum length of 3300m
• Full bale coverage
• UV sunlight
• Developed for
use on high speed
• Multi-layer construction for superior strength
• Unique two-sided tack for excellent sealing
• Suitable for use on round, square and mini bales
Secure Covers have a
close knitted structure
which prevents birds
and cats damaging the
silage wrap. They’re
simply placed over big
bale stacks and held in
place using Secure Clips
Helping British Farmers
To Benchmark For Profit
Wynnstay Group are taking a proactive approach to help British
dairy farmers become more profitable. Impressed with the success
of the Dairy Top Trumps Group in South West Wales, Wynnstay with
the assistance of dairy farmer Howell Richards have established
two new groups, one in South West Wales and another on the
Howell Richards farms 2100 cows in South West Wales and is a great
advocate of Dairy Benchmarking. In the five years since he and
his fellow group members set up the Dairy Top Trumps Group they
have seen a significant improvement in profit margins. According to
Howell the success of the group has been down to better control of
costs, understanding which factors have the biggest bearing on profit
and taking an informed approach to cost cutting.
“In most cases there is little point reinventing the wheel” says
Howell “there are plenty of businesses out there and within the group
that have developed operating procedures, diets and management
regimes that are efficient and profitable. The key is to get out there,
learn from these people and assemble all these ideas in one place”.
The Dairy Top Trumps Group will visit other farmers both home and
abroad in their quest for cost saving ideas.
The most important elements of a benchmarking group is
consistency in the way in which costs are allocated, regular submission,
analysis of figures and a willingness of the group members to be
open with their figures for their business. “For a benchmarking group
to be successful” says Howell “the type of system is not important,
it’s more a case of the type of person.”
Group member figures are collected on a monthly basis then
allocated and analysed by an independent third party in a standard
format. On a quarterly basis the figures are presented to the group
members who can then discuss each other’s figures along with
financial and technical issues that have arisen from the results.
Currently Wynnstay are working with business consultants;
Pentagon Associates in South Wales and with chartered accountants
Whittingham-Riddell in Montgomeryshire. Both companies have
been instrumental in establishing the groups. Pentagon, through
their involvement with the Dairy Top trumps have extensive
experience in setting up and managing a benchmarking group.
HSBC bank has also been supportive of the initiative recognising the
benefits and role benchmarking has to play in developing profitable
businesses. According to Sian Williams senior agriculture manager
for HSBC in south Wales being involved in a benchmarking group is
recognised as a positive activity and demonstrates that a customer is
taking a proactive approach to managing their business.
“Wynnstay’s role in the project is purely as facilitators, there is
no hard sell or obligation to do business with us” explains Dr Huw
McConochie, Wynnstay senior dairy specialist. Initially Wynnstay
facilitate the establishment of the groups by organising and hosting
the initial introductory meeting. Going forward Wynnstay will
provide a venue for the groups quarterly meetings and will be
arranging technical workshops for group members covering all
aspects of herd management.
On the back of the recent success with the initiative, Wynnstay
have plans to establish more groups in their trading area and would
welcome any producer looking to join an existing group or to be
involved in establishing a new one. The benefit of having several
groups is that they can begin to benchmark between groups. This
ensures that there is always a group member somewhere with
performance to aspire to or with new profitable ideas to implement
in your own business
“Benchmarking is contagious” says Howell, “it brings out the
competitiveness in us all helping to drive our business forward and
increase our profitability”
For more information on Wynnstay’s benchmarking for profit
initiative contact Dr. Huw McConochie or Mr Howell Richards on
Dr. Huw McConochie
Senior Dairy Specialist
M: 07771 740857
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 11
MAKING THE MOST OF LATE
SUMMER AND AUTUMN GRASS
Following a year most will not forget, and a slow start to spring with
few if any fodder reserves, making the most of grazing has a far greater
resonance this year than most. Grazing management for the late
summer, autumn period is critical to the cows’ performance not only in
the short term but going forward into the winter and next spring. If grass
has been managed efficiently in the early part of the season, intakes,
although not as high as on first round grass, are still high and should
contribute substantially to the diet. The management system will dictate
the potential intake from grass the cows will achieve as can be seen
below in table 1.
Table 1: Predicted intakes of grass through late summer and autumn
Buffer after 1
12- 14 9-11 7-8
*On most farms the lower figure should be the target.
The spring was late coming and first cuts have been later and may be of a
lower quality and silage stocks could be slightly tighter for the winter. It
would be very advantageous to make the most of your grass through late
summer and autumn, efficiently extending your grazing into the autumn
can save on conserved forage.
To get the most from perennial ryegrass swards they should be grazed at
the 3 leaf stage, a simple repeatable technique requiring nothing more
technical than a note book and pencil. By the end of June over 50%
of this year’s grass growth has taken place. If this sward has not been
grazed down well enough in the spring a lot of dead material will be
rotting away in the base of the sward and although the cow will still
graze the top nutritious leaves the amount of grass available for the cows
could be 30% less than you think, so even the potential intakes above
will not be achieved.
If the paddocks have not been grazed tightly enough during the early
part of the season it would be of benefit to pre-mow the paddocks before
grazing to allow the cows to clear the discarded grass and allow for a
fresh and rejuvenated regrowth. The fields should be mowed down to 5-6
cm (1500kg/ha). These fields should not be topped, topping forces the
cut material down onto the topped grass causing it to rot and the cows
to reject it.
Prolonged wet weather can have a serious effect on grass dry matter
intakes especially if grazed day and night. The cow may be able to reach
her energy requirements during dry weather, but wet weather can have
serious effects on the milk tank or loss of condition on the cows.
Table 2: Guidelines on grass dry matter
Leaves Guide to Grass Dry Matter %
No surface moisture present 18 - 20
A lot of surface moisture 11 - 12
Adapted from DairyCo
As can be seen in table 2, even where small amounts of moisture are on
the leaves day after day a drop from 20% DM to 15 DM could potentially
equate to 25% less intake or 3kg of dry matter or 6 litres of milk.
As grass growth rates start to dip in mid-summer it is important to ensure
adequate acreage is available with suitable stocking rates to manage the
grass efficiently, as in table 3 below.
Table 3: Guide Grazing Stocking Rates for Dairy Cows (Cows/Ha)
Month Autumn/Winter Winter/Spring
July 5 5
August 3.5 3.5
September 2.5 3
During this time a wedge should be used to control your grazing.
A wedge is not just for spring calvers and should be used throughout the
season, as the grass growth rates dip during late summer and autumn it
is essential to keep control of your wedge.
The rotation length will now be increasing as grass growth slows, to
maintain sufficient grass of the necessary quality silage aftermaths need
to be added to the rotation. Regrowth from your second cut silage will
hopefully now becoming available.
Grazing aftermath’s too early post –cutting, a common mistake is detrimental
to grass growth. Grazing the young shoots when only 1-1 ½
leaves have appeared will starve the young plant of energy as at this
stage it has used up all its reserves. Grazing the young sward at this
point will extend the rotation, with this area taking a long time to recover.
Grazing aftermaths at 2 ½ to 3 leaves is ideal, however be aware
that all the aftermath paddocks are at the same stage of growth so if
aftermaths make up a large proportion of the grazing area, start when
they first reach 2.5 leaves, due to the slowing growth rate it should still
be possible to graze the full area by the 3 leaf stage.
If grass is in short supply buffer feeding will be required, initially big
bales may be the best option but as autumn progresses increased parlour
feeding or blend and pit silage will be necessary. As the days shorten
in late summer, fresh and high yielding cows should be housed. For
optimum milk production cows require 16 hours light and 8 hours dark.
Herd condition score should be monitored, both fat and thin late
lactation cows will need attention, as will those in early lactation
helping reduce condition score loss to a minimum.
For more advice and information on late season grazing and to keep
more control of your pastures going into the winter, contact your local
Wynnstay representative or a member of the Ruminant Technical Team.
M: 07990 578548
Senior Ruminant Specialist
M: 07774 736707
A Rumen Friendly Alternative
The poor weather of 2012 and the prospect of having to feed acidic silage
to his cows led Rod Ker, Justinlees, Annan in Dumfries-shire to treat his
barley as wholecrop with Maxammon.
“I hadn’t made the conscious decision to wholecrop the grain but we
had problems harvesting crops the previous year - I wasn’t able to get a
combine into the field and didn’t want to watch a field rot away.
I also knew that the treated grain which has an alkaline pH would buffer
my first and second cut silages which were very acidic,” says Mr Ker.
in Protein levels in Wholecrop
By the end of September 2012, the 40 acres of barley were badly laid
in the field with grass growing through so it was sprayed with Round-Up
prior to being cut. A self-propelled harvester cut the crop, then
Maxammon and Maxammon feed grade urea were applied straight into
After being left to ensile for four weeks until the start of November, the
Maxammon wholecrop was ready to be fed out to Mr Ker’s herd of 250
cows, 6kg to high yielders and 3kg to low yielders.
“With the acidic silage, the buffering effect of the Maxammon treated
grain was very good it kept the cows right all winter. I adjusted the
normal ration, removing the rumen buffer and straw as the Maxammon
wholecrop had plenty ‘scratch factor’,” says Mr Ker.
The analysis results of Mr Ker’s wholecrop recorded a dry matter of
68.92%, a pH of 8.28, a protein level of 12.93% and starch of 16.95%.
The starch level was lower than expected, as it would usually be around
30%. Mr Ker commented that “The starch in the barley was not overly
high and I would say that this was a reflection of the 2012 crop.”
“With Maxammon, you also benefit from an increase in protein in the end
product because of the urea,” he says. Protein in wholecrop is normally
in the range of 9-10% and this analysed at almost 13%, a lift of 3%.
Mr Ker would have no hesitation in treating his grain as wholecrop again
with Maxammon and says “I’ll definitely treat with Maxammon again
and would like to try it on wheat this time.”
Mr Ker’s plan is to expand his herd up to 300 cows by the end of 2013
and with an increased requirement for forage; making wholecrop with
Maxammon will help to achieve this aim.
• Maxammon is an advanced grain treatment, which can be used to treat wholecrop or cereal crops at a range of moistures, from 18%
to 25% moisture, permitting a wide harvesting window
• It is simple and straight forward to use with fixed mixing rates, 5kg Maxammon and 15kg feed grade urea per tonne of wholecrop or
grain, regardless of moisture
• Maxammon is alkaline based and safer to use than acid based products and has the added bonus of increasing
the crude protein of wholecrop by at least 3%
• The alkaline pH of the crop means it is an effective rumen buffer, helping to reduce the risk of acidosis
Ruminant Feeds Product Manager
M: 07774 855026
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 13
By D. J. Tomlinson, Ph.D., M. T. Socha, Ph.D., Research Nutritionists, Zinpro Performance Minerals® and Michael Bain,
Country Manager, Zinpro Performance Minerals®
Reproductive performance is one of the most important factors
impacting herd profitability. Establishment of pregnancy is essential,
as it sets the stage for lactation and the generation of income.
Reproductive failure (e.g. prolonged calving intervals or abortion)
may lead to early culling and thus reduced longevity, less milk and
fewer calves per cow per year. Nutrition is a critical component in
insuring reproductive success. Cows depend on trace minerals for the
establishment and maintenance of pregnancy, making trace mineral
nutrition essential to reproductive success.
Availa®Mins prior to calving, the incidence of retained placentas,
cystic ovaries and mastitis/metritis were significantly reduced.
Lameness may also impact fertility by lowering first service conception
rates and increasing incidence of ovarian cysts. Clinically lame
cows (those with claw disorders) within 30 days postpartum had a
58.9% decrease in first service conception rates, a 125% increase in
ovarian cysts and an 8.2% decrease in pregnancy rate at 150 days
postpartum. The most noteworthy observation was that 30.8% of cows
that were lame during the first 30 days of lactation were culled prior
Improving the availability of trace minerals before parturition
positively impacts postpartum reproductive performance.
Research has demonstrated that complexed sources of trace
minerals are more bioavailable and have better animal retention
than inorganic sources.
A summary of 20 peer reviewed studies published in the Journal of
Dairy Science found that feeding the highly bioavailable forms of
Zinc, Manganese, Copper along with cobalt carbonate improved cow
health and key reproductive factors, resulting in:
• 13 fewer days open
• 0.3 fewer services per conception
• 5 percentage unit increase in % cows pregnant at 150 days
Cows were better able to respond to transition stress such as a
retained placenta, as evidenced by the quicker return to normal
ovarian activity. Michael Bain, Country Manager for Zinpro Corporation
added that another peer reviewed study showed that by feeding
to recording any reproductive event as compared to 5.4% culling of
non-lame (control) cows. Improving claw integrity by supplementing
pre and postpartum cows with complexed zinc, manganese, copper
and cobalt reduced incidence of claw lesions/lameness.
Cows with poor feet and legs tend to seek soft, comfortable locations
to lie which may be unclean. Increased stress due to lameness
may depress the immune system and therefore the combination of
unclean resting surfaces and depressed immune function may lead
to higher incidence of mastitis.
Lameness, infection, heat stress and poor trace mineral availability
may significantly impact fertility of dairy cattle and lead to early
culling. Management strategies must be established to address
cow comfort, detection and correction of lameness and prevention
of mastitis. Trace minerals play key roles in preventing lameness
and mastitis and in maintaining reproductive function. Feeding a
nutritionally sound diet with highly bioavailable trace mineral
sources throughout the dry and lactating periods helps ensure
cows have an adequate trace mineral supply and that the nutrient
requirements of the cow are being met.
Keep an eye on milk
quality at grass
Remember on the teat skin pre milking there can be new environmental
bacteria like Strep. uberis, picked up during the day and
possibly a high level of surviving contagious bacteria from the
last milking such as Staph. aureus. Time well spent before unit
attachment to address the above problems will invariably result
in lower incidences of mastitis, quicker milking and improved
teat skin due to reduced over-milking. Combining cleaning,
bacteria removal and biocidal ability in a single product isn’t
easy! So select wisely as a quality specialist Pre Dip could be the
wisest investment for the summer.
It is often forgotten how important pre milking hygiene is and
what means of treatment are the most effective. Work carried at
Cornell University demonstrates that using a Pre-dip & Manual
towel Dry is by far best choice for reducing mastitis causing
Dry Towel Only - 4%
Wet Towel + Udder Sanitizer - 40%
Pre-dip & Manual towel Dry - 85%
Source: Cornell University
As I write this column, summer appears far away, its mid-May and
a hint of spring would be nice!
When summer finally arrives you need to work hard to avoid the
seasonal increase in bulk tank somatic cell count levels (BTSCC’s)
which are often reported by National Milk Records (NMR) at this
particular time of year. The reasons aren’t a mystery!
• Do we take our eye off the ball at turnout because we
often see visibly cleaner cows at grass?
• Do we weaken udder hygiene practices, perhaps relaxing
the pre milking preparation routine?
• Do we sacrifice the germicidal ability of teat dips for
increased skin conditioners?
• Or simply do we have more late lactation cows that can
lift the bulk tank SCC levels?
I am sure it can be a combination of all the above and more to
In simple terms it can be a very challenging period with variable
weather affecting teat ends and teat skin condition.
Dry and damaged teats trap dirt and bacteria which are not easily
removed by mere wiping alone.
This is why maintaining or improving your pre milking prep routine
is important to reducing the new infection rate and keeping milk
quality results good. Correct preparation involves not just removing
the dirt but actually breaking down the bonds that help bacteria
embed themselves to the teat.
Wynnstay stock dairy hygiene products from all the major
manufacturers so are able to offer you an individual solution to
your pre milking hygiene needs.
I would be delighted to discuss any particular pre-milking
hygiene questions that you may have or more general dairy
Dairy Hygiene Specialist
M: 07780 683043
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 15
New season UK fertiliser prices were launched on the
20th of May this year. As a result of this we saw a
decrease in the UK nitrogen price to levels lower than
those seen since 2009.
Whilst this represents a significant drop in price (13%),
and a welcome reduction in input costs, the tradition
of new season prices being the best time of year to
buy cannot always be relied upon.
As demonstrated in the graph below, 4 out of the 7
years since 2006 have seen only a small increase or
even a decrease in prices the following spring. That
said, in the other 3 years the gains of buying early
So what is the best time of year to buy? With the
volatility in the world markets making price
predictions very difficult, splitting your fertiliser
purchasing into several blocks to average out the
price may be an option worth considering.
UK AN price variance (%) between Jone and following March
Source : Farm Brief
2000 2003 2006 2009 2012
Dave Mitchell Fertiliser Manager, M: 07990 578543, firstname.lastname@example.org
cereal seed UPDATE
Autumn Cereal Varieties for Dairy or Mixed Farms for 2013
The principal requirements for a cereal variety on a dairy farm can differ slightly from the purely arable scenario. Assumptions are made that
the soils are generally in better order with a higher fertility resulting from longer rotations and wider use of FYM. It is also assumed that the
wider demands on the mixed farmer’s time can mean that accurate spray timings may not be as much of a priority as the arable man. With
these assumptions in mind (we accept that they may not correct in all cases) the main requirements for cereals are as follows.
Whether grown for grain or wholecrop a top yield is always required.
Straw Strength With higher fertility, plant growth regulators are essential but a variety with inherently stiff straw is important.
Yield of straw is just as important as grain yield to most mixed farms so taller varieties are preferred.
Disease Resistance A more fertile soil often leads to a thicker crop with higher disease levels, where yield losses can be severe if spray
timings are not accurate.
Diego Cougar Relay Kielder Invicta Leeds Grafton Cassia Matros Glacier
Grain Yield % 103 104 103 106 103 106 100 104 104 107
Straw Strength 7 + 7 7 + 8 7 + 8 7 + 8 7 + 8 7 + 7 9 + 9 8 7 7
Length of Straw (cm) 88 86 82* 83 90 88 76 87 93 81
Mildew 5 6 6 4 5 3 7 4 7 4
Yellow rust 8 8 9 4 8 7 6 5 5 7
Brown Rust 4 9 7 7 6 5 3 7 7 6
Sept. Tritici 5 7 6 5 5 5 5 - - -
Eyespot 5 4 4 7 5 5 8 - - -
Fusarium 6 6 6 6 6 7 5 - - -
Rhynco - - - - - - - 4 7 6
No 1 wheat.
grown on a
One of the
a huge yield
very stiff so
Richard Torr Seeds Sales and Marketing Manager, M: 07990 578551, email@example.com
Transition cow housing that
will improve your bottom line
It is quite noticeable as I travel around the country that a lot of dairy
farmers are investing in dry cow accommodation. What is disappointing
however is that very few are actually taking into consideration the
overwhelming body of evidence to what equates to effective transition
Basically there are three main concepts which should be taken into
consideration when planning new or renovating existing buildings. Dry
and transition cows respond to being kept in socially stable groups, having
excessive lying, loafing and feeding space, and adequately sized cubicles
with a functional bed. These criteria form the basis of the transition cow
accommodation design recommended by Transition 80/20.
per cow per year in extra milk alone
Fig 1. Social turmoil profile of a pen
Weekly entries into pen
Daily entries into pen
One-time entry into pen
Socially stable groups and effective grouping strategies can only be
achieved in practice if the accommodation is designed appropriately.
When this is achieved social turmoil within a group of cows will be
reduced. Social turmoil in close up dry cow’s effects feed intakes, lying
times and access to water. Effective transition management is dependent
on achieving high dry matter intakes and therefore situation’s which
have a negative effect are detrimental. Figure 1 graphically illustrates the
social turmoil that occurs in different grouping systems. Ideally the best
system would be to have a group of cows for every week of the dry period.
Practically however this would be impossible in most situations. The best
compromise would be to have a far off group and then three groups of
cows 3, 2 and 1 week before calving (Figure 2). The cows would then
remain in these groups through to calving. Once grouped social stability
is achieved in around 5 to 6 days and effects on DMI and lying times are
Excess space is also an important consideration as it reduces the stress
of competition for lying, feeding, and drinking space. A cow’s ability
to move away from dominant and aggressive cows in the group is also
important. This can be facilitated by the absence of dead ends in the
building layout and wide passages around water troughs, feeding areas
and cubicles. Figure 3 gives a guide to space requirements for dry and
transition housing. Overstocking is a common problem and can have a
detrimental effect on health and performance post calving.
Cubicle design and bedding material directly influences lying times.
Around the time of calving fat mobilisation and increased blood levels of
the hormone Relaxin can cause sole ulcers to develop in situations where
lying time is inadequate. Relaxin is associated with relaxtion of the pelvic
girdle around calving time, but also causes relaxation of other muscles
in the body. Most importantly the muscles which hold the pedal bone in
Fig 3. Space allowance for transition cows
Groups Number of Cubicles Area of Deep litter yards (m2) Feeding space
Far off dries
Close up dries
Average calvings per week in
calving period x 140%
(Average calvings per week in
calving period x 140%) x 1.1
Average calvings per week in
calving period x 9.2 x 140%
(Average calvings per week in
calving period x 140%) x 11m2
the foot in position. This can allow the pedal bone to drop and damage
the hoof. If cows are mobilising excessive body fat as a result of energy
deficiency, some of the fatty tissue which acts as a cushion between the
pedal bone and hoof is also lost which can exasperate the condition.
A combination of correct nutrition, high DMI and adequate lying times
can help to alleviate the situation. Lying times can be increased by the
installation of correctly sized and constructed cubicles or the provision of
straw yards. Deep litter beds such as sand or recycled manure solids and
high quality mattresses will increase lying times. Cows on rubber mats
will struggle to achieve the lying times achieved on deep litter systems,
but if they are used it is important to ensure that at least 5cm of bedding
material is provided.
The concept of how this type of housing design and management
protocol makes you money is quite simple. Increased pre-partum DMI,
less stress, less negative energy balance, less calving problems, less
disease, less lameness, better fertility and more milk! But just how much
is all this worth? Unfortunately the only figures available are those from
the States where they found it to be worth in excess of £110 per cow per
year in extra milk alone, and that’s before taking into account the value
of improvements in health and reduced drug use.
0.5m per cow
0.75m per cow
Calving box N/A Calvings per day x 11m2 0.75m per cow
Average calvings per week in
calving period x 120%
Average calvings per week in
calving period x 9.2 x 120%
Fig 2. The Transition 80/20 dry cow accommodation design
0.5m per cow
Far off Cows - 3 weeks - 2 weeks - 1 weeks
Dr. Huw McConochie
Senior Dairy Specialist
M: 07771 740857
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 17
FORAGE MINERAL ANALYSIS
AN ESSENTIAL TOOL TO IMPROVE COW HEALTH AND FERTILITY
Although minerals represent less than 5% of the nutrients in a dairy cow diet,
they have a disproportional effect on livestock health and productivity. As
forages exert a significant influence on the level of mineral supplementation
required, it is important to regularly check forages for their mineral status.
This is particularly true for grass silage which varies widely in its mineral
composition because of the effect of soil type, fertiliser regimes and weather
patterns. Maize Silage and Whole Crop Silage are generally more consistent
in their mineral make up, being less influenced by these variables which
influence mineral levels in grasses.
The table opposite shows the average mineral levels over the last 3-4 years
in grass silage compared with maize silage and whole crop silage.
Element (DM Basis)
No. of Samples 4048 277 67
Calcium % 0.64 0.27 0.31
Phosphorus % 0.27 0.19 0.22
Magnesium % 0.19 0.13 0.12
Potassium % 2.59 1.26 1.55
Sodium % 0.27 0.03 0.05
Chloride % 1.07 0.33 0.54
Sulphur % 0.18 0.09 0.13
Cation-Anion Balance meq/kg +368 +187 +186
Iron mg/kg 384 187 229
Aluminium mg/kg 178 60 92
Manganese mg/kg 130.7 31.4 67.2
Copper mg/kg 7.2 4.4 4.1
Zinc mg/kg 30.8 24.6 25.1
Cobalt mg/kg 0.16 0.06 0.08
Iodine mg/kg 1.28 0.76 0.60
Selenium mg/kg 0.07 0.03 0.02
Molybdenum mg/kg 1.25 0.51 0.73
Relative Copper Antagonis Mean Very Low Low
It is clearly noticeable how much lower the mineral status is for maize and whole crop
silage compared to grass silage. When balancing diets for minerals it is important to take
account of these differences, to avoid mineral deficiencies and imbalances interfering with
health and fertility. The major risk to dairy cow productivity from forage supplied minerals
• Milk Fever
- due to high potassium and cation - anion balance
• Poor Bulling Activity - caused by a lock-up of copper by molybdenum and iron
• Low Conception Rates - resulting from low intakes of selenium and iodine
- due to poor zinc intakes
• High Cell Counts - aggravated by low selenium and zinc forage levels
To avoid these mineral related diseases and disorders, follow the Mineral
• Check Grass Silage for mineral status every year.
• Check Maize Silage and Whole Crop every other year or whenever a new alternative
forage crop is used.
• Use the Wynnstay Diet Mineral Check service to formulate a mineral designed to
balance your dairy diet, taking into account the mineral analysis of your forages and
the performance and health requirements of your herd.
FORAGE MINERAL ANALYSIS + DIET MINERAL CHECK =
THE KEY TO BETTER COW HEALTH AND FERTILITY
SPECIAL SUMMER OFFER ON MINERALS
• Take advantage of our free forage mineral analysis & diet mineral check
• Big price & quantity discounts on 1t+ orders placed in July & August
• Bring your custom mineral label to the Livestock 2013 Event for keen quotation
For further details contact your local Wynnstay Representative
Ruminant Feeds Product Manager
M: 07774 855026
GeoGen Technologies Limited
Introducing Wynnstay’s New Joint Venture Company
GeoGen Technologies Ltd has been formed as a joint venture between Wynnstay Group Plc and D Jones Electrical
Contractors Ltd which builds on a long standing partnership between the two businesses.
The joint venture combines the technical expertise of D Jones Electrical with the long-standing business know-how and purchasing power of Wynnstay,
forming a dedicated specialist renewables business offering a comprehensive service package.
Supply Chain Partners: GeoGen use the leading suppliers of renewable technology to ensure that each project delivers a secure investment and
operational savings for the future. This enables GeoGen to access a wealth of technical expertise and long standing experience, helping to ensure that
customers have the best system design and products for their installation. GeoGen supplies and installs a range of leading renewable technologies
with Microgeneration Certification Scheme Accreditation (MCS).
GeoGen Solar Installations - Saving Costs and Generating Income
Obviously price was a key
deciding factor, but we also
wanted to use a company we
knew we could trust and who
would get the job done, we
certainly felt like we had trust
in both Wynnstay and Dyfrig
Jones Electrical Contractors to
do this. The feed in tariffs are
paid for 25* years so we also
wanted to use a long standing
company that won’t disappear
Brian & Helen Edwards
Lower SweenEy Farm,
Future Still Bright for Solar PV
It’s clear to see that when you run a dairy enterprise keeping your
costs under control and looking for new sources of income is top of the
agenda, pressure from supermarkets to produce food using cleaner
renewable energy will also play a bigger role moving forward. This is
certainly the case for dairy farmers Brian & Helen Edwards, Lower
Sweeney Farm Oswestry who made a £22,000 investment in solar PV
12 months ago.
Brian and Helen, who farm a 130 cow dairy enterprise invested in a 10
kW system in December 2011, in this period Brian has seen an income
and savings combined of over £3900. 50% the electricity produced is
used on site, with the remaining 50% being exported.
Brian commented that the income has been greater than he expected.
“I knew solar would be a good investment and would generate some
income for the business, but I have been surprised by how much it has
generated, it has certainly performed better than expected, especially
considering the weather last year” Brian also commented on the fact
that the system will have reduced carbon emissions by 7 tonnes in the
last 12 months.
Significant drops in Solar PV equipment prices, 20 year Feed In Tariff rates and rising energy prices make solar a fantastic investment
• Get a return on investment of approximately 10% or higher
• The Feed In Tariff is index linked and guaranteed for the next 20 years
• Save money by producing your own electricity - Every kW produced by your system is yours to use for free
• Get paid for every kW of electricity you produce, whether you use it or not
• Invest with confidence in a panel that will last - Invest your money wisely in a quality panel with one of the longest
performance warranties on the market
• Protect yourself against rising electricity prices
• Get paid for all the surplus energy that you export back to the grid
Biomass - Wood Pellet, Chip and Log Boilers
GeoGen can provide the best carbon neutral energy solutions in biomass boilers, wood pellet boilers and woodchip
boiler systems along with the most innovative renewable energy technology.
Through Government Renewable Heat Incentives, fuel costs can be sliced, with savings continuing for years to
come. Biomass Boilers are designed to heat small to large commercial and residential premises. Whatever your heat
requirements there is a biomass boiler solution. Advances in the equipment used to prepare, transport, deliver, store
and burn biomass fuels means that green is now also clean.
T: 01691 670341 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.geogen.co.uk
GeoGen Technologies Limited, Unit 4 Glovers Meadow, Maesbury Road, Oswestry SY10 8NH
*The feed in tariff fixed rate period has since dropped to 20 years and installation costs have reduced significantly.
Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 19
Wynnstay Products Summary
DAIRY NUTRITION PRODUCTS
CALF & HEIFER REARING PRODUCTS
• Wynngold Calf Milk Powders
• Concentrates – starters, rearers
• Supplements, Minerals, Boluses
• Equipment, Calf feeding machines, Housing
DAIRY HYGIENE PRODUCTS
• Pipeline cleaning
• Bulk tank cleaning
• Udder hygeine
• NMS on farm evaluation and report
• Herd ketosis screening
• Feed, forage, water & milk analysis
• Diet Check ration formulation & monitoring
• Diet mineral formulation
• Calf & heifer nutrition, health & housing advice
ANIMAL HEALTH PRODUCTS
• Heat detection
• Trace element boluses & milk fever boluses
• Footbath solutions and footcare products
• Anthelmintics and flukicides
• Mineral & vitamin drenches
• Fresh cow solutions
• Fly and lice control
• Dosing and drenching equipment
• Heat detection
• Heat time
• Tail paint
• Grass, Maize & Cereal seeds
• Silage Additives
COW COMFORT PRODUCTS
• Cubicles, mattresses and sand bed systems
• Bedding material
• Fans and humidifiers
• Lighting design and installation
• Rubber mats for cow passages
• Feed barriers
• Water troughs
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
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.