Hidden ketosis is costing farmers about £220/cow as a result of production losses, increased disease and sub-optimal fertility. To raise awareness of the issue, Elanco is launching its monthly Ketosis: State of the Nation series.
Elanco’s Kate Heller, vet and dairy farmer, says most farmers will be familiar with identifying and treating clinical ketosis. However, on average, clinical ketosis affects just 0.5 per cent of the herd.
It is the subclinical or ‘hidden’ disease which affects between 10-60% of cows that is causing underling problems, such as sub-optimal fertility and high rates of metritis.
Kate says: “It is something that happens on nearly every dairy farm and it is preventable. Getting on top of it will put money in farmers’ pockets, boost performance and reduce antibiotic use.”
Ketosis is caused when cows go into extreme negative energy balance around calving and are forced to mobilise excess body fat. This leads to higher than acceptable ketone levels in the blood.
Through the ‘Ketosis: State of the Nation’ series, the aim is to help farmers identify at-risk cows and put in place measures to prevent problems. This will ultimately help drive production efficiencies on-farm.
Kate says: “We want to raise awareness of hidden ketosis so farmers see the levels of ketosis nationally, regionally and on their own farm. Understating these levels can help them target the cows that need extra help through transition.”
Elanco currently analyses milk recording data from about 200 herds, representing 33,500 cows across England, Scotland and Wales. Analysing individual cow milk fat to protein ratio gives an indication of whether an animal may be affected by ketosis. A ratio of >1.4 suggests excess body fat may be being mobilised. The problem can then be investigated.
Visit the Ketosis State of the Nation Hub at FGinsight.com/KetosisSOTN
to find out what the ketosis incidence is in your region and view resources to help you manage the problem