Summer brings with it the challenge of maintaining milk yields and butterfats.
On average butterfats fall from typical winter levels of around 4.1% to 3.8%, and in some cases can fall much lower than this. The danger level is 3.5%, below which penalties on some milk contracts increase to between 1.5 and 3.0 pence per litre. Whilst most farmers won’t see those losses, a drop of 0.2% butterfat and a yield drop of one litre per cow per day could easily cost around 35p / cow / day or £1,050 per 100 cows per month.
There are a number of reasons why yields and butterfats fall but the main ones are:
- Cows eat a lot of high sugar, highly digestible grass with low fibre levels. This causes a major drop in rumen pH and can cause clinical or sub-clinical acidosis. This results in poor rumen function, lost milk, lower butterfats and lameness.
- Heat stress. Cows under heat stress eat less and the concentrate:forage ratio can quickly get out of balance. This can result in similar problems to those detailed above.
What can be done?
Advance recommends Acid Buf, which is derived from calcified seaweed. Its honeycomb structure removes acids from the rumen, and trials have shown that it helps to hold rumen pH at a much higher level for significantly longer under challenging rumen conditions. The product typically costs between 3-4p/cow/ day and so can be a very cost effective addition to TMR buffer feeds.
To find out more call us on 01823 491238.