Don't let inflammation hold your herd back

Inflammation within the herd could be holding your business back. A high-quality mineral package could be your hidden ammunition to combat a common but rarely thought of problem. Dylan Pinker discusses research from the Zinpro Corporation and the advantages of high quality minerals...

Don't let inflammation hold your herd back

With the emphasis on the importance of dry cow management in the last few years, you'll be aware of how decisive the “close up” dry period is for the cow, determining how she'll perform for the upcoming lactation.

Close to and after calving, dry matter and energy intakes will be challenged which will leave the cow with a depressed immune status. This leaves her at a higher risk of infection and chronic inflammation. The cow will also need to produce a prompt immune response to repair the reproductive tract for her next pregnancy.

Zinpro’s Dairy Nutritionist, Dr Adam Geiger comments, “If a cow is unable to mount a rapid and robust inflammatory response, the inflammation will become chronic, continuing to drain energy and nutrients that would otherwise be used for milk production and reproduction.”

Lead Dairy Researcher at Zinpro Corporation, Dr Daryl Kleinschmit discusses further impacts, “Excessive inflammation will increase the risk of ketosis. Ketosis may also impair dry matter intake, which increases the rate of BCS loss and will have a negative impact on reproductive performance. Cows that lost 0.5 to 1 point of BCS within the first five weeks post-calving were shown to be open 16 days longer compared to cows that lost less than 0.5 BCS five weeks post-calving.”

If attention to detail is poor, then it becomes apparent that a small inflammatory problem can exacerbate a vicious cycle of continuous health issues, leading to reduced productivity and will ultimately have a significant effect on herd performance and profitability.

Management techniques that can be implemented to reduce the stress on the cow, which will be beneficial for her subsequent lactation:

  • Make sure you don't transition cows too aggressively
    Switching from a diet consisting of mainly forage to a diet with more starch & grains can compromise the gut lining which will lead to inflammation.
  • Limit pen movements
    Move dry cows once a week which will reduce stress associated with social disruption.
  • Assess stocking density
    Easy and sufficient access to water
  • Reduce heat stress
    This can lead to chronic inflammation.

From a nutritional perspective, you can give the cow a head start by feeding a top-quality mineral package containing recommended levels of high-quality performance trace minerals.

Advanced Nutrition work closely with Zinpro and we'd recommend Availa®Dairy. This is a nutritional feed ingredient for animals that contains a combination of organic zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt with unique benefits related to the structure of the minerals.

These trace minerals are required by animals for numerous functions including:

  • immunity
  • reproduction
  • skin and hoof integrity
  • growth and muscle development
  • milk production
  • fibre digestion
  • energy metabolism
  • feed efficiency

When an animal has the proper balance of trace minerals it is better able to cope with the challenging effects of stress. While also improving milk protein and milk production, additional research from Zinpro has shown decreased metabolic issues post-calving and decreased somatic cell counts when feeding Availa®Dairy.

If you'd like any further information on inflammation or Availa®Dairy, then please get in touch with the office on 015242 63139.


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