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ImmuBoost – The Pre-Calver Mineral Choice of the Young Farmer of the Year 2012

ImmuBoost – The Pre-Calver Mineral Choice of  the Young Farmer of the Year 2012

Dermot O’Connor, from Shanagolden in Co. Limerick is the 2012 Macra na Feirme’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year. He is totally committed to milk production and aims to expand his current 96 strong herd of Spring calving cows to 150 within the next five years. This will be achieved exclusively through the production of home bred heifers.

Dermot is extremely strategic in the way he plans all of his farming operations. Two key objectives have been set for the herd, firstly; the production of as much milk as possible from grazed grass and secondly; maintaining the highest possible standards in the animal health and biosecurity.

Two fundamental outworking’s of these commitments, are Dermot’s use of grass budgeting as a core grazing management tool and last year saw he committed to a voluntary BVD testing programme for the herd.

“The cows currently are averaging 5,400 litres at 4.23% fat and 3.68% protein,” he confirmed.

“As most people will know this has been a very challenging year, where grass growth and grazing are concerned. However, despite the difficulties, I managed to get two crops of silage made. The first cutting date was on June 10th and the second following on August 20th.

“Up to now, the cows would normally start calving on February 1st. A key objective for this year was to try and bring the calving season forward into January, starting in 2013. And despite the poor weather and challenging conditions over the past number of months, the scan results confirm that the herd is on target to meet this goal.”

Dermot puts tremendous emphasis on managing his cows properly throughout the dry period. They are wormed and fluked at the end of their lactation and then put on a grass silage diet.  And therein lies his problem.

“Our silage ground is quite high in Potash and Phosphate.  This, in turn, increases the risk of problems arising from milk fever and metabolic disorders directly post calving.”

To prevent this from happening Dermot feeds Nutribio’s dry cow mineral ‘ImmuBoost X-Mag Vit E Elite Pre-Calver’ with additional Sel-Plex®, Magnesium and Vitamin E on a daily basis. The product also contains Bioplex® Copper and Zinc, thereby assuring that these crucially important trace minerals are offered to the cows in their most bio-available form.

“The cows receive the recommended daily rate of 120g per head per day,” he further explained.

“I simply spread it on top of the silage.”

Co-Operative Animal Health’s, Area Manager, Frankie Carroll recently called in with Dermot to discuss plans for the winter ahead.

“It’s worth pointing out that, in addition to ImmuBoost,  Dermot offers his dry cows our Transition Elite Mineral in the few days running up to calving. This product is particularly high in available Calcium and Magnesium,” Frankie commented.

“This approach is taken to ensure that problems associated with milk fever are kept to an absolute minimum.

But, of course, mineral related deficiency problems do not disappear once the cow has calved successfully. Grazing herds are pre-disposed to grass staggers, particularly during cold snaps directly after turnout.

With this in mind, Dermot O’Connor offers all his cows additional Magnesium with the use of FlowMag, a liquid magnesium supplement, in their drinking water.

Frankie Carroll commented, “Dermot is able to use an in-line metering pump, located in the farmyard, to administer FlowMag to all the drinking troughs located throughout the grazing area. This is a very simple way of preventing grass tetany.”

Dermot concluded:

“It is crucially important to ensure that dairy cows receive the correct levels of minerals and vitamins during the transition period and directly after calving. The ImmuBoost Pre-Calver range plus the additional mineral and trace element products from Co-Operative Animal Health are helping me to meet this ongoing requirement in a very effective manner.”

Click here for further details on ImmuBoost X-Mag Vit E Elite Pre-Calver