Springers: repo ready rolls out

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Help is at hand for dairy farmers preparing springer cows for the coming lactation and joining period. Dairy Australia's InCalf program is rolling out Springers: repro ready, its latest campaign to help farmers improve herd fertility.

InCalf has produced a booklet with guidelines for dairy farmers, Springers: repro ready, and provided training for advisors to dairy farmers such as nutritionists, vets, feed company staff, farm consultants and factory field officers.

Management during the three weeks leading up to calving has a major impact on the herd's production and fertility and on dairy business profit. Costing about $20-$60/cow, a transition feeding program can return up to $200/cow.

Dr Barry Zimmermann who manages Dairy Australia's InCalf program said transition from a dry, heavily pregnant cow to early lactation involves major metabolic changes, and feeding a transition diet for three weeks before calving can make a big difference. The transition diet may include a commercially prepared lead feed.

"A successful transition feeding program helps prevent excessive weight loss and acidosis in early lactation and reduces milk fever and other metabolic disorders," Dr Zimmermann said.

Springers: repro ready outlines the important management steps to ensure you make the most of the effort and money invested in a transition program.

"A transition program pays for itself in saved treatment costs, increased milk production and improved herd fertility. But many farmers tell us that the benefit they value the most is reduced stress levels by not having to treat sick and downer cows during the busy period of early lactation," he said.

If you are considering a transition management program for your herd, you won't want to miss Springers: repro ready. The booklet is available from service providers or on the webhttp://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/Farm/Fertility