Co. Carlow

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Nutribio Ltd.
Tivoli Industrial Estate

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Transition Period Management

Newborn Calf

Transition Period Management for the post calving cow and newborn calf


The calving season is now well under way, and monitoring the close-up cows, the calvers and the freshly calved cows is vital to ensure a smooth transition both for the cows and the calves. During the period in the run-up to calving, the dairy cow faces a number of physiological challenges, many of which can be linked to the increasing demand of the rapidly growing calf. The cow will partition a large proportion of her energy to the unborn calf, leaving her requiring additional energy, which she mobilises from her fat reserves, leaving her predisposed to negative energy balance and under conditioning, even before calving and the beginning of the lactation. Furthermore, a negative energy balance prior to calving tends to cause difficult calvings and can lead to the cow suffering from one or more metabolic disorders.

Calving is one of the most stressful events a cow will undertake and poses a risk for both the cow and calf. A difficult calving can affect the future performance of the cow, both in terms of milk production and fertility. In the days and weeks following calving, cows dry matter intake is reduced, with it not recovering until 6 weeks post-calving. This can cause the cow to be in a state of ketosis (negative energy balance), leading to metabolic disorders such as hypocalcaemia (milk fever), metritis and fatty liver disease. All of these can negatively affect the health, immunity and future milk production.

One way to mitigate against the stresses placed on the cow during this period, and thus reducing financial loss, is the administration of one sachet of YMCP mixed with 19 litres of warm water immediately after calving. YMCP contains Yeast, Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium as well as Niacin, Zinc and other Vitamins.

  • Yeast serves to “activate” the rumen and kick start the rumen of the freshly calved cow, helping to improve DMI , increase rumen fill, which reduces the risk of Displaced Abomasum occurring.
  • Magnesium helps to improve calcium metabolism and can buffer the rumen to help prevent acidosis, which can occur as the diet changes from a Dry Cow mix to the Milking Cow ration.
  • Calcium aids in the prevention of Milk Fever and Retained Placenta as well as improving the all-important smooth muscle function – contraction of the uterus, correct rumen function and teat canal opening and closure.
  • Potassium helps maintain electrolyte balance, regulate blood pH and also impacts on energy metabolism and smooth muscle tone.
  • Niacin impacts on liver health and function, while Zinc, Selenium and Vitamins A and E contribute to improved immunity.

YMCP gives the fresh cow the best possible start to her lactation, which in turn leads to less uterine infections and overall improved fertility.

It is also important to bridge the gap in minerals and vitamins in the lactating cow in addition to supporting fertility and post-partum health. ImmuBoost Fertility Post Calver is the ideal solution to this problem. It also helps in the reduction of lameness and ensures that the cow maintains a properly functioning immune system, while supporting udder health and contributing to lower somatic cell counts.


Calf Growth and Health

With regard to the calf, it is vital to give them the best start to life. Heifer rearing is a crucial component of any dairy system. It can determine future profit and sustainability of the dairy farm. There are many factors associated with calf rearing, specifically relating to environment, nutrition and management. There are also critical periods in the time from birth to breeding to first calving. From birth to weaning is one of the most crucial periods in terms of development of the calf and future performance.

Achieving target bodyweights is an integral part of rearing replacement heifers. Critical stages, such as weaning and breeding should be based on weight, rather than age. Research indicates that breeding should be completed at 60% of mature liveweight (360kg for a 600kg mature liveweight) and calving at 90% of mature liveweight (540kg for a 600kg mature liveweight). A more economical heifer rearing program can be achieved by reaching these targets earlier, with the aim of calving the heifers at 24 months.

It has been shown that during the pre-weaning period, nutrient intake can influence the development of the rumen and the mammary gland, which can determine health and future performance of the calf. Calves fed a higher plane of nutrition have improved growth performance, reach sexual maturity at an earlier age and produce more milk as lactating animals.

There are many factors that can cause issues to arise in the early stages of a calf’s life, many of which can be related to general husbandry, such as colostrum management, housing, vaccinations and disease prevention. Diseases associated with replacement heifers fall into two categories, regulatory diseases (TB and brucellosis) and non-regulatory diseases (including BVD, IBR, leptospirosis, salmonella and neosporosis). Research suggests that by reaching target weights earlier, susceptibility to such diseases is reduced.

ImmuBoost Advantage Calf Start is an easy-to-use milk additive containing a unique blend of ingredients that enhance the development of the rumen and promote increased growth rates. It can be added to whole milk or milk replacer and is used from birth to weaning. Trial data has shown sustained improvement in average daily weight gain (>200g/head/day) compared to untreated calves from birth to weaning, with a continued effect up to 38 weeks. By achieving the target weights earlier, the lifetime value of the replacement heifer is increased, with improved yield, reduced disease susceptibility/digestive upsets and improved persistency in the herd.


For more information on Fresh Cow YMCP, ImmuBoost Fertility Post Calver, ImmuBoost Advantage Calf Start or any of our product range, please contact us by submitting a contact form, call us on 021 4507303 or speak to your rep.