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Keeping transition management simple and effective

There are huge benefits in milk yield, feed efficiency, fertility and health from an effective transition programme, but this doesn’t mean running a complicated system. 

“Research and experience have demonstrated that more than 80% of health and performance problems in dairy cows result from the transition period,” says ForFarmers’ James Hague. 

“When we investigate where the issues lie, a shortfall in supplying consistent and balanced nutrition is usually at the heart of the problem. For this reason, we developed a range of feeds that provide a balanced supply of protein, energy, minerals and dietary cation anion balance (DCAB) within an easy to feed programme. These feeds, and the principles behind them, have been used successfully on farms for many years because they are simple and effective.”

Transition cows

The effects on calves

Transition management also affects calf growth and performance. “The transition period has a profound effect on the developing calf. During the last few weeks before birth, the digestive system and udder are at a critical development phase. Nutrition has an effect on how well they develop, and shortfalls will negatively impact on the calf in its life ahead,” adds Mr Hague. 

“Colostrum quality is also influenced, so if we are looking to get the calf off to the best start possible then we need to ensure that we have supplied all the key elements that will contribute to the production of good quality colostrum.”

DCAB

The DCAB system is one method of transition management, but a full DCAB system can be complex and difficult to manage. “So we recommend that producers adopt a partial DCAB system, which is simpler to run, and then supplement that with specialised products, such as our TRANSLAC range,” says Mr Hague. ForFarmers’ TRANSLAC feed range includes three options for dry cows, all formulated to meet the unique needs of transition cows.

TRANSLAC Rolls are a 24% protein, low-calcium feed that is perfect for far-off and close-up dry cows in a typical dairy herd. High protein levels promote high quality colostrum production and tissue repair, and anionic salts lower DCAB and prevent milk fever. 

TRANSLAC Extra has slighter higher protein at 26% to support higher performing herds and is good for close-up dry cows. Vitamins, minerals and anionic salts improve energy availability in early lactation and boost health, immunity and colostrum quality.

TRANSLAC Advance nuts are aimed at supporting the highest yielding dairy herds and include all of the benefits of TRANSLAC Extra, plus added calcium capture to prevent milk fever.

For more information

For more information about successful transition cow management please speak to your local ForFarmers account manager, call 0330 678 0982 or enquire online here.