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Fresh Cow YMCP – Helping Improve Post-Calving Dry Matter Intakes

Fresh Cow YMCP –  Helping Improve Post-Calving Dry Matter Intakes

The impact of  2012 a year with such poor grass growth will be felt by dairy farming businesses throughout Ireland for many months to come. A stop start grazing season , allied to the production of moderate quality silages – stocks of which may or may not last until Spring 2013 on a significant number of farms – has taken a very heavy toll on dairy cows.

As Spring calving herds enter what is, arguably, the most important time of the year – the dry period – there is every good reason for herd owners to assess cow condition now and plan ahead to minimise the risk of metabolic disorders for the all important calving period and the hours and days which follow.

The reality is that every dairy farmer wants his cows to calve down with ease, produce a healthy calf and re-enter the milking herd with tremendous vigour to produce milk. Most milk producers will offer a high quality dry cow mineral in the run up to calving. However, research and on-farm experience has confirmed that providing the cow with a nutritional boost directly after calving will go a long way to get her started on her new lactation with the throttle wide open.

The aforementioned ‘boost’ comes in the form of  Fresh Cow YMCP™ , distributed by Co-operative Animal Health. This highly innovative product is available in 500g sachets, the contents of which are mixed with 19 litres of warm water and then offered to the cow directly after calving.

The 2013 calving season is the second in which Fresh Cow YMCP will be commercially available in Ireland, and significantly, all of those dairy farmers who used it in 2012 are already voting with their feet in terms of using the product again this year.

A case in point is the Ahern family, who milk 90 Friesian cows near Watergrasshill in North Cork.

Sean Ahern takes up the story.

“The herd average is in the region of 1,500 gallons with good milk solids. We have a liquid milk contract and, as a consequence, calve a high proportion of the herd between the months of September and April.

“To be honest 2012 was a very challenging year, and of course, it followed 2011, which was difficult enough as well.

“We always feed a good dry cow mineral in the run up to calving. But, up to last year, some of the cows would have been predisposed to milk fever and retained cleanings. However, following a discussion with Co-operative Animal Health Area Manager, Ned Barden we agreed to offer all of our cows Fresh Cow YMCP directly after calving throughout the 2011/12 season.”

The Ahern herd is managed by brothers Sean and Gerry along with their father John, who was quick to point out that almost all of the cows took to the drink immediately.

He added:

“It certainly provided the boost that we were looking for. Cases of clinical milk fever and retained cleanings were as rare as hens’ teeth last year.

“We will certainly be offering Fresh Cow YMCP to all of our freshly calved cows on an ongoing basis.”

Ned Barden was a recent visitor to the Ahern farm. He pointed out that Fresh Cow YMCP is a mineral supplement containing yeast, magnesium, calcium and potassium to ease the transition into lactation.

“The calcium is obtained from four different sources and, therefore, ensures that the cow receives her full requirement of this crucially important mineral throughout the early stages of the lactation,” he further explained.

“ The added magnesium will help her to better mobilise the calcium that is available while niacin, an important B vitamin, will work to minimise the metabolic disorders that can become such a key problem post calving. Complementing all of these components is the inclusion of yeast, which will help to kick start the cow’s rumen and betaine which helps ensure the cow is able to rehydrate effectively after calving.”

Ned concluded:

“This calving season will be a difficult one. Dairy farmers are fully aware of the stress their stock have been under for the past number of months. It makes total sense to give cows the best possible start to their lactation. Fresh Cow YMCP™ has proven itself to be an absolute winner in this regard!

Click here for further details on Fresh Cow YMCP.