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XtraBlatt Issue 01-2019

  • Text
  • Contractors
  • Farmer
  • Farms
  • Agricultural
  • Forage
  • Silage
  • Farmers
  • Machinery
  • Krone

INFORMATION clamp,

INFORMATION clamp, you’re assessing unchangeable facts. A further point in this line of argument is when to open the clamp. Feeding from a new clamp should never be started too early, he stressed. Early on, silage is very sour and through the many fermentation acids poisonous for the liver. So, grass silage can be opened after six weeks at the earliest. Maize silage needs 12 weeks before feeding. do is prepare for sustainability”, added Dr Neumayer. This is why he advises farmers and his colleagues to let the vet take over the “control” of feed – starting out on the field at forage harvest. Because this is where the corner stone of good quality feed is laid. Without this, animal health, fertility, performance capacity and longevity cannot be achieved. « Krone presented an information stand at the “Federal Congress for Practicing Veterinarians” during EuroTier in Hanover. continues to the storage location for moist feed, i.e. the silage clamp. The vet should take a careful look at clamps. What’s the state of airtightness? Has there been any reheating of the stored feed? This is quickly determined through finger probes and infrared thermometer, or a modern smart ‘phone attachment for thermo-photography. Further criteria: sniffing for the odour of butyric acid, examining the quality of chop in silage and, naturally, measuring dry matter content. “How much fresh feed do you think your animals consumed yesterday?” This is a question to ask again and again. Mostly, the response is silence, or an astonished shrug of the shoulders. “Good farmers should have an exact answer”, he maintained. “But too many farmers, and unfortunately also their vets, don’t know.” His plea for feed was passionate and he showed the audience very graphically that the evaluation of forage quality is possible with simple tools. His classic example is the shuttlebox. This allows assessment of the particle length of silage right on the field, during harvest, i.e. where things can still be changed, and also directly at the clamp. This applies just as aptly to the “corn score”, in other words the physical condition of the grain in chopped maize. Determined out on the field, this allows the machinery involved to be adjusted. Back at the Dr Neumayer reckons that the shuttlebox for assessing silage chop quality should be an essential tool for dairy cattle veterinarians. CONSISTENCY IS IMPORTANT It doesn’t matter whether clamp or tower silo: the next task is to get the feed undamaged to the cows – and into their respective mouths in the same good condition. Dr Neumayer described different mixing systems with their respective “requirements” to the congress. Presentation of the feed at the feeding fence is important, he stressed. It must be uniformly spread in front of each cow place. Dr Neumayer stipulated a feed depth of at least 8 cm, giving each cow the feeling that the feed table is full and therefore attractive. The magic word, he added, in dairy cow husbandry is “consistency” - in all things. This is why it is so important to always present the feed at the same time, even at peak labour times on the farm. Also important, when really serious about this consistency, is regular and timely shoving-up of the ration to the feed fence. But in end effect it is still not enough when the vet repeatedly argues a well-reasoned case for feed quality and this is then not paid for by the farmer. After all, a lot of time can be invested in changing to the front of the cow, i.e. following the forage feed from field harvest to rumen. “But what it does OVERCOMING INHIBITIONS XtraBlatt: Dr Neumayer, you plead for dry matter intake for dairy cows to be as high as practicable. How is this achievable? Dr Neumayer: Firstly, there must be sufficient feed offered. The feed table must never be empty! Secondly, the feed must be attractive to the cow. Thirdly, the same feed must be on offer everywhere, because the cow goes to where the tastiest feed is on offer. Fourthly, beware of overstocking, because the cow is no shift worker. When there’s not enough room at the feeding fence, she doesn’t eat. She won’t stand in a queue. XtraBlatt: How much dry matter should the cow consume? Dr Neumayer: We want to achieve a feed efficiency of more than 1.5. This is based on the milk produced from a kg dry matter. We are looking for at least 1.5 kg milk. Where the cow is eating 20 kg dry matter this is then 30 l of milk. XtraBlatt: Often declining fertility is complained about. Cows sometimes last for less than three lactations. What’s your advice? Dr Neumayer: This figure should not be understood in absolute terms as bad or good. For the farmer the question is: “How can I be economically successful?” If I see that heifer rearing has become very expensive then I have to win back these costs later through milk production. With 2.7 lactations there would probably not be much left over as profit. If, however, I manage to lengthen the life expectation of my cows with the same milking performance, then my requirement for followers coming into the herd would be less. Higher life expectation with the animals not only means, however, looking at the milking cows. The calves, the young heifers, the dry cows: all have to be considered. The view of cow health must become a broader one: from the farmer’s point of view and that of the vet too. 50 51