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Is your herd at risk of ketosis?

Regardless of system or yield, all dairy herds are going to have some level of ketosis and will need to tackle the problem head on to restore milk production and optimise fertility.

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Is your herd at risk of ketosis?

Ketosis occurs when a cow goes into extreme negative energy balance around calving and is forced to mobilise body tissue.

This leads to higher than acceptable blood ketone levels.

These cows are then predisposed to health issues and poor fertility.

Christopher Pennelegion, of Elanco, says getting the issue under control comes back to team work and adopting a holistic approach.

He says: “It is about having a well-rounded prevention plan looking at nutrition, environment and management.

We will always have those outliers, such as sick, old, fat or twin-bearing [SOFT] cows which are at higher risk, and they require specific treatment.”

 

He says it is important ketosis is not seen as a disease associated with high yielders, as Elanco figures show herds yielding 7,500 litres/cow/ year have a higher incidence (29 per cent) than those of more than 9,500 litres (22 per cent*).

You will also see a restoration in milk which is currently being lost to ketosis.

He reminds farmers of four key areas to think about to control ketosis:

  1. Cow environment: Maximising dry matter intakes around calving is key.

    This will limit the effects of negative energy balance, which will reduce the likelihood of ketosis.

    Avoid overcrowding during transition and provide plenty of feed and water space.

  2. Stop cows from getting fat: Fat cows have less inclination to eat at calving and will mobilise fat quicker putting them more at risk of ketosis.

    Manage body condition and adopt good reproductive management.

  3. Know your status: Work with your vet to monitor ketosis in your herd and adopt a team approach with vet and nutritionist to address the problem.

    The Elanco team also offers a ‘Vital 90 days’ transition checklist, which can help identify opportunities for your farm.

  4. Think about at risk cows: Speak to your vet about targeting monensin boluses at individual SOFT cows as a precaution, which help the cow access more energy from every mouthful.

    Mr Pennelegion says: “If you put a herd level ketosis prevention plan in place and tackle subclinical ketosis, you will see the benefits in improved fertility and health.

References: Raboisson et al, 2015 and Walsh R.B. et al, 2007

Sponsored by Elanco
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