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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


• An introduction to

Transition 80/20

• 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

2012 1

This issue...

3 An introduction to

Transition 80/20

4 Milk Taxi improves farm


5 Soychlor - A new

approach to reducing

milk fever

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




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

bottom line

Order any product

from the Transition

80/20 range at the

Livestock 2013 and

receive a FREE

Transition 80/20


18 Forage Mineral Analysis,

an essential tool to

improve cow health

and fertility

19 Renewable Energy

20 Wynnstay product




An introduction

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

are significant.

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

corrective action

• 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

Improves DMI’s

Reduced negative energy balance

Reduced incidence of Ketosis

Reduced incidence of LDA’s and metritis

Improved milk yield

Improved fertility

Reduced forced culling

Better profits



Drying off

Close off



Up to end

of VWP

Lactation Dry Calving Lactation

Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 3


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.”

Gill Dickson

National Calf Specialist

M: 07971 296702






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

Don Fraser

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)

Relative Humidity%

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

Dead cows

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




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

distance coverage.

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.

tube ventilation

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.

Gill Dickson

National Calf Specialist

M: 07971 296702


Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 7


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

been built.

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.

Neil Ridgway

Farm Manager,

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

Milk Yield




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

Wynnstay Netwrap


Silotite 750mm

Secure Covers

• A round bale netwrap for use in all balers and on all crops

• Guaranteed minimum length of 3300m

• Full bale coverage

• Non-laddering

• UV sunlight


• Developed for

use on high speed

bale wrappers

• Multi-layer construction for superior strength

• Unique two-sided tack for excellent sealing

• Suitable for use on round, square and mini bales

21190, 25027

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

every 5m.



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

Montgomeryshire/Shropshire border.

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

07731 652586.

Dr. Huw McConochie

Senior Dairy Specialist

M: 07771 740857


Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 11



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

Potential Grass

intake* (kg/DM)



Buffer after 1


Day graze,

house night

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)

Calving Season

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.



Iwan Vaughan

Dairy Specialist

M: 07990 578548


Don Fraser

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.

3% increase

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

an Ag-bag.

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

Steve Brown

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

hygiene issues.

Adrian Morgan

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

were significant.

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, dave.mitchell@wynnstay.co.uk

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.

Long straw

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.

Recommended Varieties

Winter Wheat

Winter Barley

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

Disease Resistance

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

The UK’s

No 1 wheat.

Can be

grown on a

range of

soil types

One of the

top yielders

and very

good disease


(the best

for Septoria



straw but

high tiller

numbers will

produce a

high straw

yield. Good

all rounder

Huge grain

yield though

quality is

not great.

Best on

heavy land

A useful


to Diego.

Very long

straw but

late to





coupled with

a huge yield


New for


Lowish yield

and short

straw but

very stiff so

suits high



The most



Weak on

Rhynco but

stiff straw

Same yield

as Cassia

with longer

straw and


Mildew and




variety for


Huge yield


and early




Richard Torr Seeds Sales and Marketing Manager, M: 07990 578551, richard.torr@wynnstay.co.uk

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

cow accommodation.

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

Fresh 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

Feeding trough

Far off Cows - 3 weeks - 2 weeks - 1 weeks

Feeding trough



Dr. Huw McConochie

Senior Dairy Specialist

M: 07771 740857


Wynnstay Group Plc Dairy Newsletter Summer 2013 17



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)






Crop Silage

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

• Lameness

- 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

Action Plan:

• 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.




• 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

Steve Brown

Ruminant Feeds Product Manager

M: 07774 855026




Renewable Energy

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: info@geogen.co.uk 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


• Compounds

• Blends

• Straights

• Molasses

• Minerals

• Supplements


• Wynngold Calf Milk Powders

• Concentrates – starters, rearers

• Supplements, Minerals, Boluses

• Equipment, Calf feeding machines, Housing


• Pipeline cleaning

• Bulk tank cleaning

• Udder hygeine

• Sundries


• 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


• 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

• Footbaths

• Dosing and drenching equipment


• Heat detection

• Heat time

• Tail paint


• Grass, Maize & Cereal seeds

• Fertiliser

• Sprays

• Silage Additives


• 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

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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