Reduced subclinical ketosis
Improved pregnancy rate
Reduced follicular cysts
Charles Prince has a 120 Holstein cow dairy herd at Deer Park, Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire. His cows average about 9,000 litres (305 day) at 4.2% fat and 3.2% protein. Although they calve throughout the year, calvings peak in the autumn and Charles would like to tighten up the calving pattern so that it is a truly autumn-calving herd. Of course, one of the key factors in a successful seasonally calving herd is to get cows back in calf promptly. Charles also wants to make the most of grazed grass.
The cows that calved in August and September, 2019 were out at grass with the main herd, until housing in mid-September. In the winter, the cows were not getting back in calf very well, and both farmer and vet felt there were too many follicular cysts. Cow-side BHB blood tests were done on cows 5-20 days calved and 7/11 had elevated BHB levels (1.2 mmol/l or above), confirming that excessive negative energy balance (subclinical ketosis) was affecting a significant proportion of the transition cows.
In the winter of 2020/21, the cows were housed as soon as they calved and 250g of Glycal Forte® was added to the TMR for both the close-up dry cows and those calved for the first 4-6 weeks after calving. It was fed from the start of calving until March, when calving slowed down. In addition, there were a few more Montbeliard X cows in the herd. BHB tests were repeated in October, 2020, when only 1/11 had elevated levels – and this was a cow that had slipped twins early.
Charles says, “I believe that Glycal Forte® certainly had a beneficial effect on the herd – although yield remained the same, it reduced the subclinical ketosis in the herd and increased the general health of the cows. Our main aim was to improve fertility rather than increase milk. It has been a useful addition to the ration and we’ll certainly continue to use it.”
John Kirk of Glenthorne Vets comments, “We noticed that cows were cycling better and this was reflected in the 2.5% improvement in pregnancy rate from 2019/20 to 2020/21. We also used about half the number of doses of Acegon to treat follicular cysts in 2020-21 (with Glycal Forte®) compared to 2019-20 (without Glycal Forte®). These findings are the result of the improved energy status, as demonstrated by the improved BHB results.”
Charlie Sullivan of Bio-Energy Ingredients added, “Glycal Forte® acts to improve energy balance in transition cows by helping to maintain rumen health, as well as supplying calcium and glycerol to the cow. This farm is typical of farms where we can target Glycal Forte®, feeding close-up cows and those up to 4-6 weeks post-calving. On these units, while we may see some increase in yield, the main benefit is less body condition loss after calving and improved subsequent fertility.”
To find out if your transition cows are suffering from excessive negative energy balance, take advantage of our FREE testing service. We’ll work closely with your vet to find out if Glycal Forte® could help you and your herd! Get in touch today on 01342 837660 or email us at email@example.com.