Transition Cow Nutrition Effective in Managing Hypocalcemia
The benefits of maintaining adequate blood calcium in transition cows are well-documented, including reduced incidence of disease, higher milk production and better reproduction.
Clinical milk fever (hypocalcemia) occurs in only 2% to 5% of transition dairy cows. A larger, hidden risk is subclinical hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium without obvious signs of milk fever. It is estimated that on a typical farm, the incidence rate of subclinical hypocalcemia is 15 times higher than milk fever and can cause up to four times the economic loss.
Animate, from Prince Agri Products, Inc., is a unique, anionic mineral supplement that can help to reduce the risk of low blood calcium in fresh cows. Since it is highly palatable, it can help attain a low dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) diet while maintaining high dry matter intakes.
New York dairy sees reduced milk fever
Mammoser Farms, a 1,000-cow herd in Eden, N.Y., was experiencing milk fever and retained placentas in its transition cows. Co-owner and herdsman, Ron Mammoser, has seen improved health since he began feeding Animate to all prefresh cows.
“Our cows had depressed appetites and other typical milk fever symptoms,” recalls Mammoser. “They’re definitely doing better now.” He also attributes improved health to the use of a bale chopper so his cows cannot sort their feed, resulting in a more balanced diet.
Dairy consultant, Scott Benkelman, P.A.S., says Animate is used to achieve a balanced DCAD diet on Mammoser Farms and that good cow health is important in supporting the dairy’s high milk production. “In recent years, the herd has experienced a very low incidence rate of milk fever,” he reports. “With an excellent care environment and good nutrition, their fresh cows get off to a great start.”