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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 […]

Sheep fertility has increased significantly in recent years, with the New Zealand average lambing percentage jumping from 100 percent in the 1980s to over 130 percent today, with top performing sheep farmers attaining more than 150 percent. This is due to a combination of genetics, along with improved animal health and better feeding. The trade-off […]

With the pressure of calving and the start of a new season, in-calf rates and improving herd fertility are not topics that make it to the top of the list of priorities at this time of the year – but they should be, as many of the decisions made and actions taken at this time […]

Nutritional requirements of broodmares change throughout the stages of reproduction and it is important to adopt a flexible feeding programme to ensure nutrient requirements are being met at each phase. Reproduction can be separated into early pregnancy, which is first and second trimester or 0 to 7 months gestation, late pregnancy, which is third trimester […]

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 […]

Rabbits are very interesting animals when it comes to nutrition and it is worth getting to know a bit more about your furry friends so you can make sure they are receiving the best care possible. With the recent release of the RHDV1 K5 virus throughout New Zealand to control pest rabbit populations, it is […]

A key focus of the calf rearing period is to stimulate the rumen to start growing and developing prior to weaning off milk. Nutritious and health-supporting milk and a good quality starter feed are key components of a successful calf rearing system and can help take some of the stress and risk out of calf […]

The increased awareness of horse owners around aspects of general equine health, from nutrition to dental, hoof and parasite management, has resulted in the average horse living for longer. Although the natural lifespan of the horse has not changed, many are now surviving easily to 30 years of age or older, where previously this was […]

Storage of animal feed in vertical silos or bins is the most common form of dry feed storage on New Zealand farms. Silos can be a great way to store feed, as they reduce wastage and protect feed from climatic events and from pests such as birds and vermin. Silos also allow farmers to reap […]

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 […]