Science News 12/03/2010

Mineral levels and not hormones to correct high empty rates

Around the country many dairy farmers are once again very disappointed with high empty rates - often exceeding 12-15% and many over 20%. These figures are tragically becoming accepted as there are few advisors willing or able to offer preventative solutions.

“This is an avoidable cost with the average empty cow costing at least $1500 in today’s market,” says Dr Pat Poletti, a farmer and veterinarian from Stratford. Often these farmers also experience stressful springs with difficult calvings, costly mastitis, downer cows, frequent metabolic disease and higher numbers of slink calves.

Understanding the root cause of these problems requires investigation of the fundamentals which originate in pasture and soil management. “Correcting the imbalances we frequently find has consistently delivered very positive and highly profitable improvements that build from one season to the next,” says Poletti, “but farmers who wait until spring will miss out.”

The three basic drivers of profitability in today’s pastoral farming systems are simple:
1. You have to be able to grow enough high quality pasture
2. You have to maximise the amount of pasture your animals will eat and
3. Your animals must be able to convert as much of that pasture into milk and growth.

Mineral Systems specialises in adjusting your herd’s macro element and trace mineral intake by defining your farm’s Mineral Profile. Every farm is different because of historical management practices, soil type, fertiliser history and pasture composition.

Many farmers we see are needlessly spending thousands of dollars on hormone implants or minerals they not only don’t need but that are holding back production or contributing to downstream reproductive problems.

di S. C.