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Transition management brings great results to Cornish farmer


West-Cornwall based Guernsey farmer James Warren who is in partnership with his mother Rosemary sees great results by integrating TRANSLAC advance into his transition cow management.

As the fifth generation of his family to farm Guernseys at Tredinney Farm in West Cornwall, dairy farming is in the blood for James Warren. Located just five miles from Land’s End, James runs an all-year round calving, 320 head herd, comprising of approximately 90 Guernseys, 125 Jerseys, and 105 Holstein-Friesians.

Tredinney Farm supplies milk to Rodda’s, where it is used to produce their famous Cornish clotted cream, so producing milk with a high fat content has always been an important focus. Currently, the Guernsey cows 305 day annual production stands at 6,886 kgs at 5.05% butterfat and 3.6% protein with a calving index of 399 days.

The Warren family with some of their award winning cows
The Warren family with some of their award winning cows

Milking herd nutrition

For James, a key part of maintaining high butterfat levels is getting nutrition right whilst making the most of grazing; “Our herd normally graze from late February/early March all the way through to November before being housed fully for the worst of the winter weather,” he explains.

“In summer cows are out grazing a fresh paddock each day with the high yielders being housed at night where they are fed a TMR. When they are housed during the winter the cows are fed a TMR ration for maintenance plus 16 litres, and this is topped up in the parlour with a 18% high spec ForFarmers nut Maxima 18.”

Getting the nutrition right for transitioning cows

James explains that a focus on nutrition is also a key part of their transition cow management; “We normally dry-off at around seven weeks before calving and feed all of our cows the same ration. Initially during the far off dry period this ration is a mix of 10% hay, 5% straw, and 85% grass silage, based on fresh weight. At three weeks before calving we then move to a Transition ration of 10% hay, 10% straw, 35% maize and 45% grass silage, also based on fresh weight.

“Our close up Transition cows receive 2.5kg/day of TRANSLAC Advance nuts, which is split into two feeds. We’ve been using TRANSLAC Advance for three years and since then we haven’t looked back; it’s become a really important part of our transition cow management and helps support them well in the run up to calving,” continues James.

Successful transition bring results

TRANSLAC

James worked with Matt Jenkin, from ForFarmers, to develop the best ration for his transition cows, and it was Matt who suggested that James try TRANSLAC Advance. “Previously we were using our own transition cow ration, but we found that we were getting a few incidences of milk fever and too many retained after births,” explains James.

“We had tried using magnesium flakes in water troughs but it was difficult to ensure that all cows received the right dose. Since working with Matt to develop a new transition diet we have found that our milk fever cases around calving have virtually ceased.”

Matt explains: “TRANSLAC Advanced offers a simple calcium capturing solution in a nut form to complement James’ forage. It is also 26% protein therefore consistently supplying the correct nutrition for the cow and her calf. The Guernsey and Jersey cows as a breed can be more prone to milk fever around calving and this solution has all but eliminated that threat, with milk fever at Tredinney now below 1% at calving. This is also a result of James and his dedicated staff’s attention to detail and consistency through the transitions period.”

However, getting the transition period right goes beyond reducing the risk of milk fever. James highlights that; “taking the time to get our transition period nutrition right has also meant that we’re seeing far fewer calving problems, such as retained afterbirths and metritis.”

James also explains that since improving their transition management they have also seen an improvement in colostrum quality. “We measure our colostrum with a Refractometer and we’ve really seen a marked improvement in the quality since modifying our transition cow nutrition and using TRANSLAC Advance. This means we know we’re giving our calves a really good start to life.”

Creating a better dairy herd

Calf at James Warren's

“For us, getting the transition period right means that we are setting our cows up for the lactation ahead, increasing dry matter intake sooner, giving them a better opportunity to achieve their genetic potential across the lactation" .

"It really helps us to set up the cows on the right path going into calving, ensures they remain healthy and that our calves have the best quality colostrum to get them off to the best start in life,” concludes James. 
 

For more information

To find out more about transition management, products or prices please speak to your local ForFarmers account manager or send us an online enquiry here