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My experience developing dairy farms and working as a young-stock manager has convinced me that we invest in our future by taking our young-stock through the weaning process well. Replacement heifers and bull producers that are about to wean off milk need to have these calves healthy and growing well before the decision to wean […]

With summer not too far away, facial eczema prevention is once again front of mind for many livestock producers. While facial eczema has traditionally been considered a North Island issue with only small areas of the South Island affected, elevated temperatures across the country have led to a wider distribution of facial eczema cases. New […]

Once the threat of metabolic issues around calving has passed, it can be easy to overlook the need for supplementing major mineral levels in the milking cow’s diet. Not balancing the mineral content of diets can be a false economy, which jeopardises both the health and productivity of stock. The use of straights (commodity purchased […]

The banning of inductions has focused attention on a shortened mating period to prevent a prolonged calving season. A reduced mating period has inevitably increased empty rates – mating cows with a 53 percent conception rate for only 10 weeks as opposed to 13 weeks will tend to double empty rates with all things being […]

Fonterra suppliers will be examining tanker dockets more closely this spring as the proposed demerit system, to be introduced in September based on the Fat Evaluation Index (FEI), looms ever closer. Whilst there is still some uncertainty about what affects the FEI – including breed, stage of lactation and other feeds – some farmers may […]

There is a mantra that the 3-week transition period each side of calving, critically important to the productivity and health of cows and their calves, is as easy to ignore as a background radio. I think it is worth re-stating and action taken where improvements can be made. Calcium is not just critical for bones […]

Magnesium (Mg) is an important macromineral that has many functions within the body including nerve and muscle function, immune system function and bone health. As magnesium relaxes nerve impulses after transmission, a more minor deficiency can manifest itself as excitability and nervousness in cows, whereas excessive intakes can cause sedation, with cows becoming more lethargic […]

It’s good to see that another internationally appreciated animal feed – corn gluten meal – has entered the New Zealand market and is now starting to trickle into regional ports. Importation has no doubt been encouraged by the Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) penalties that have been indicated by Fonterra to come into effect next season, […]

With autumn upon us, most dairy farmers will be starting to make decisions about when to start drying off, with body condition at front of mind. Thanks to considerable research both within New Zealand and internationally, it is clear that body condition score at calving plays a significant role in ensuring a productive lactation, including […]

Fonterra’s Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) may encourage farmers away from straight palm kernel extract (PKE) to other straights, layered loads or blends. The huge popularity of PKE in New Zealand suggests that if levels are reduced, either something will have to fill the gap or national milk production levels will fall. Lower input/lower output systems […]