2015

PressRelease_03062015_v2

"Using supplements pre and post calving is a good preventative strategy for metabolic diseases and also sets up cows well for lactation post calving. What’s important is ensuring supplements are readily available well before the calving really picks up from July."


Blocks help minimise metabolic disorder risks in herds


3 June 2015

It’s the calm before the calving season and a bit of planning now will help herds get through without the risk of metabolic disorders, such as milk fever, which can lead to downer cows or impact future milk production.

The disorders are prevalent just before or after calving, triggered by an inability to mobilise enough calcium.   Subclinical cases of milk fever can be hard to pick up, with industry data indicating that for every downer cow it is likely that between 10 and 15 others in the herd will have early stage milk fever symptoms.

“It’s estimated that the cost of a clinical case of milk fever can reach up to $1,500 per cow* – including lost milk production, reduced fertility, and increased likelihood of culling due to other diseases such as mastitis. Not only is the risk a costly one, it’s also unnecessary,” says SealesWinslow Product Development Manager, Jackie Aveling.

Jackie explains there is a clear link between nutrients and vitamins, and reproduction and lactation in dairy herds.

“Using supplements pre and post calving is a good preventative strategy for metabolic diseases and also sets up cows well for lactation post calving. What’s important is ensuring supplements are readily available well before the calving really picks up from July.”

Dehydrated molasses blocks, such as Crystalyx Dry Cow can be used as a sole source supplement, and need to be available to stock for 60 days prior to calving and then throughout the colostrum period. The dehydrated molasses helps to ensure cows get the right intake, and the minerals and vitamins help to improve the general immunity of the cow.

Other options include SealesWinslow’s Cattle High Magnesium Block or the Cattle Winter Crop Block. Both are suitable for farmers who want cost-effective delivery of pre-calving magnesium supplementation as part of a programmed approach, and will help ensure stock receive the minerals and trace elements they need.

Farm trials for Crystalyx, conducted over two consecutive years, have shown dehydrated blocks are more effective than mineral supplementation dusting or dosing. The repeated trial work done by Dr Mark Oliver, a researcher contracted to Auckland UniServices Limited by the University of Auckland, saw a control herd supplemented with magnesium and trace elements following current best practice guidelines, and the other Crystalyx Dry Cow. In the first year the control cows recorded a significantly higher incidence of retained placentas (11% compared to 2.6%), while mastitis incidence also tended to be higher (9.0% versus 3.9%). A second trial achieved similar outcomes with lower rates of mastitis and retained placentas in the herd given access to the dehydrated block.

Mrs Aveling says farmers participating in the trials also commented that cows on Crystalyx were calmer, quiet and settled well into milking.

 

*SOURCE: Vet Focus 2011

PressRelease_14052015_v2

"We welcome NZFMA's new accreditation and the industry's focus on the production of safe feed for animals.  This is an important tick of approval for our business, which will provide customers with assurance that they are receiving high quality product."


SealesWinslow receives quality stamp


14 May 2015

SealesWinslow’s Wanganui stock feed mill has received FeedSafeNZ accreditation, recognising the manufacture of high quality animal feed products.

FeedSafeNZ is a new quality stamp from New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA) for manufacturers and blenders, designed to enhance the quality assurance of stockfeed.

SealesWinslow Chief Operating Officer Chris Brown says FeedSafeNZ gives farmers an additional level of certainty that products are safe and have been produced in a manufacturing plant which is regularly audited.

“We welcome NZFMA’s new accreditation and the industry’s focus on the production of safe feed for animals. This is an important tick of approval for our business, which will provide customers with assurance that they are receiving high quality product.”

“FeedSafeNZ accreditation covers most aspects of the production chain including feed ingredients, such as grains. We work with local arable growers as well as international suppliers to select only the highest quality ingredients,” says Mr Brown.

The quality assurance certification programme includes annual site audits, conducted by the independent third party auditor, AsureQuality.

Feed produced at the Wanganui mill is available from rural merchants PGG Wrightson, Farm Source and Farmlands, as well as Wanganui Farm Supplies and Ruapehu Farm Supplies and selected Ballance service centres. 

SealesWinslow’s Morrinsville and Ashburton mills are working towards FeedSafeNZ accreditation. The company has additional distribution sites in Tauranga, Taranaki, Mosgiel, Invercargill and Greymouth.

Right diet helps cows keep their cool

"Choosing the right supplementary feed can help farmers turn down the heat in their cows’ digestive systems as hot, humid summer conditions increase the risk of heat stress in herds"


Right diet helps cows keep their cool


30 January 2015

Choosing the right supplementary feed can help farmers turn down the heat in their cows’ digestive systems as hot, humid summer conditions increase the risk of heat stress in herds.

Science Extension Officer for animal nutrition company SealesWinslow, Sarah Morgan, says all cows generate heat when they digest feed, but feeds requiring less energy to digest will also result in less heat generated and more comfortable cows as the average daytime temperatures stay high.

“Fibre produces more heat in the rumen than other carbohydrate feed sources.  Feeds that have high oil content also require more energy to digest and reduce the efficiency of nutrient metabolism.  Low fibre feed sources usually result in less heat from digestion than feeds that are higher in fibre.”

Sarah says cows tend to protect themselves against heat stress by eating less to avoid temperature increases during digestion, but this often comes at the cost of milk production. “The combined effects of higher temperatures and humidity can put a strain on the herd, and this is particularly so for high producing dairy cows. These higher producing cows generate more heat during digestion than lower producing cows,” explains Sarah.

“The main reason for the drop in milk production in these conditions is that the cows eat less to avoid further temperature rises during digestion; so minimising any environmental effects on dry matter intake is critical to maintaining productivity in times of heat stress.”

Ready access to shade and plenty of cool, clean, fresh water is the number one thing farmers can do to support the herd to keep temperatures down.

Sarah recommends increasing the energy density of the diet to help compensate for reduced dry matter intake, and providing a good source of protein to help stimulate hunger and avoid temperature increases will help maintain production in herds still being milked.  “Fat, such as a coated or bypass fat, is a good way to increase energy density in the diet and compensate for the difficulties of achieving target intakes through pasture alone.

“The quantity of quality protein over the warmer summer months also becomes important, particularly as pasture quality drops. Protein in the diet not only supports milk production and milk protein content, but also plays a hand in stimulating intakes or hunger.”

Sarah says that the best protein sources at this time of year are feeds that are higher in bypass protein or rumen undegradable dietary protein, which passes through the rumen and digests in the lower intestine.  These protein sources, such as SealesWinslow MaxiPro 20%, require less energy for digestion and hence produce less heat.

For cows that are being dried off, feeding levels would be below the levels heat stress would impact on them, so water and shade are the most important factors for keeping them cool.

Heat stress – what you need to know

  • Heat stress occurs when the cow’s ability to cool down is compromised because the temperature is high.
  • Humidity further impacts this by affecting the cow’s ability to cool down by sweating and panting.
  • Signs of heat stress in lactating cows include reduced feed intakes, lethargic behaviour and lower milk production.
  • Provision of shade and a good supply of cool, clean, fresh water can support the herd to keep temperatures down.
  • Heat production increases following a meal - this is a result of the heat energy from fermentation and heat of nutrient metabolism.
  • Different feed types result in differing levels of heat from digestion – increasing energy density by incorporating more fat in the diet and decreasing heat from digestion with the right protein can help to maintain feed intake milk production.

Warmer weather heats up facial eczema risk

"With forecasters predicting strong El Nino conditions lasting over summer and into autumn 2016, the NZ Veterinary Association and the Ministry for Primary Industry are warning farmers to be even more alert for facial eczema."


Prevention protects production from facial eczema impact


17 December 2015

With forecasters predicting strong El Nino conditions lasting over summer and into autumn 2016, the NZ Veterinary Association and the Ministry for Primary Industry are warning farmers to be even more alert for facial eczema.

During El Nino New Zealand tends to experience stronger or more frequent winds from the west in summer, leading to drier conditions in the north and east, and more rain in the west. With rises in humidity, the risk of facial eczema also increases along with the risk of a decline in milk production in dairy herds. For dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep, deer and goats, the disease also damages livers, affects bile ducts and causes sensitivity to sunlight.

Taking preventative measures now, rather than waiting for spore counts to rise, is recommended with zinc treatment starting two to three weeks before the spore growth danger period for maximum protection.

Fungal spores growing in pasture – especially fresh, new grass, are the root cause and spore counts increase where grass temperatures are above 12 degrees for three consecutive nights. Counts can vary from farm to farm and even between paddocks.

SealesWinslow animal nutrition expert, Jackie Aveling, says dairy farmers especially should adopt a prevention strategy to protect production of valuable milk solids given the low payout year.

“When conditions are ideal for grass growth – such as warm, wet weather – they are also ideal for facial eczema. It’s also disease which is hard to detect in its early stages, so all too often farmers are not aware it has taken hold until it’s too late. That’s why a prevention strategy is as important as the disease can cause production losses of up to 50 percent if it goes unchecked.”

Zinc treatment from late December through to May is commonly used to help prevent facial eczema. However dosing troughs with zinc sulphate doesn’t always deliver the best results since the bitter taste puts herds off the water.

The alternative is Zincmax+, a combination facial eczema treatment with Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) registration. 

“Its peppermint taste makes it palatable and it includes organic copper. The taste helps ensure herds keep up their water consumption, which is important given their needs can exceed 100 litres at this time of year,” says Jackie.

The organic copper helps offset zinc’s antagonistic affect which reduces the absorption of this important trace element. Copper is important for production, immune response and also cycling ahead of breeding. Low copper levels can also affect growth and fertility in heifers.


Symptoms
  • The first sign of FE is a drop in milk production occurring soon after the intake of toxic spores (subclinical FE).
  • Cows are restless at milking time, seek shade, and lick their udder.
  • Another drop in production occurs when physical symptoms (clinical FE) become obvious.
  • Check unpigmented or thin skin which thickens and peels because of sun sensitivity.

PressRelease_24062015_v2

"Weaning calves from milk when they reach 65 kilograms could add to the bottom line if a good value meal and pasture is added to the diet early on – especially when it comes to replacement heifers."


Save on calf rearing this season


10 September 2015

Weaning calves from milk when they reach 65 kilograms could add to the bottom line if a good value meal and pasture is added to the diet early on – especially when it comes to replacement heifers.

Wendy Morgan, Nutrition and Quality Manager at animal nutrition company SealesWinslow said the cost of rearing calves can be reviewed by farmers who are looking for ways to make cost savings this season.

“To wean from milk, start weighing calves at six weeks of age.  An animal can be weaned once it has reached 65 kilograms, has an obvious rumen (a pot belly when looking at it from behind) and is eating 1 kilogram of meal for three consecutive days,” she said. 

Wendy says the whole feed programme can be evaluated. 

“The process of moving calves from milk (highest cost feed) to meal (mid cost) to pasture (cheapest feed option) can be made more economically efficient. The key is selecting a formulated calf feed which will encourage early intake, maximise rumen development and allow the calf to be ready to digest pasture as quickly as possible.” 

“Heifer replacements influence future milk production so giving them the best start will assist them to be efficient when in the milking herd.  In calves, starch is crucial for the development of rumen papillae and formulated calf meal contains a balance of starches to help maximise this growth.” 

Premium calf meal also contains sugars, protein and minerals which contribute to optimum skeletal growth and muscle development.  Feeds which are not specifically targeted for calves may not include these nutrients, or may not be in the correct proportions for the calf.” 

Wendy said if animals are not weighed regularly to identify a good weaning weight, they may reach a weight of 80 kilograms or more while still on milk.

“There is no need to keep providing milk through to this weight range when the animal could have been weaned on to meal and pasture,” she said. 

“Four litres of milk is equivalent to 1 kilogram of meal in feed value for a calf. At a $3.85 payout, calf meal at, for example $850 per tonne, costs 85 cents per kilogram of dry matter.  The equivalent four litres of milk at 8 percent solids equates to 0.32MS and costs $1.23 per feed.  Even at a below average payout, income is optimised by leaving milk in the vat,” said Wendy. 

PressRelease_01072015_v2

"We’re out to support dairy farmers through what looks to be a tough season ahead, giving customers certainty to make budget decisions for their on-farm feed programmes and the red meat sector will also benefit from feed savings."


SealesWinslow passes on savings


1 July 2015

Farm animal nutrition company SealesWinslow is passing on business efficiencies through lower feed costs, sharing gains with farmers at a time when budgets are tight.

SealesWinslow’s chief operating officer Chris Brown said the business was reaping the benefits of higher efficiencies following the $10 million upgrade of its production and distribution facilities and was also saving costs through improved procurement. 

The Ballance Agri-Nutrients subsidiary has significantly reduced its prices across its calf and bulk dairy ranges.

“We’re in a position to pass on these savings to our customers and our aim is to keep passing on the savings for the long term.”

“We’re out to support dairy farmers through what looks to be a tough season ahead, giving customers certainty to make budget decisions for their on-farm feed programmes and the red meat sector will also benefit from feed savings,” he said.

With calving around the corner Chris noted that feed quality, along with a good start on colostrum and good housing is one of the essential inputs for healthy productive calves.

“This season’s calves will be entering the herd in two years’ time.  Looking after young stock is vital to future productivity of the herd – no matter what the payout.

“Feeding cheaper products containing fillers won’t supply optimum nutrition and calves will never catch up to optimal growth weights and production levels if they are compromised early on.

For farmers in a position to bring feed in on farm, Chris said that quality pelletised feed also has significant benefits for the lactating cow, by balancing out what the diet is lacking and improving the digestive efficiency of all the ingredients in the diet.

“The maths is simple really - for a well digested diet each kg of dry matter will produce more milk in the vat.”

SealesWinslow has manufacturing sites in Morrinsville, Wanganui and Ashburton. Its high quality animal feed products are available from rural merchants PGG Wrightson, NZ Farm Source, ATS, Farmlands and an additional 22 distribution sites around the country.

PressRelease_24062015_v2

"Having a plan in place focused on colostrum, housing and quality feed will result in well-grown, healthy calves that will thrive for the duration of their productive lives. Colostrum should be fed for at least four days. Colostrum contains immunoglobulins, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, which builds immunity to disease. A calf with a strong immune system will have a lower risk of scouring and better growth results."


Three top tips for calf nutrition


24 June 2015

Calving season is just around the corner and there are three top tips for healthy productive calves.

 

  1. Feed good-quality colostrum for at least four days
  2. Set up spacious, dry, draught-free housing
  3. Don’t skimp on feed quality – you will pay later!

 

Wendy Morgan, SealesWinslow Nutrition and Quality Manager, says developing a plan is essential for calves to achieve weaning weights quickly while their digestive development is supported.

“Having a plan in place focused on colostrum, housing and quality feed will result in well-grown, healthy calves that will thrive for the duration of their productive lives. Colostrum should be fed for at least four days. Colostrum contains immunoglobulins, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, which builds immunity to disease. A calf with a strong immune system will have a lower risk of scouring and better growth results.”

“By five days old calves can move on to milk or calf milk replacer. At the same time calves should be offered muesli or pellets to get them used to the feed that will initiate their rumen development,” she says.

Wendy says the cost of dry feed can vary considerably, but it pays to look twice, with cheaper products using fillers and ingredients like chocolate and lolly waste.

“These products don’t have optimal nutrition levels and calves will never catch up to optimal growth weights and production levels if they are compromised early on. Invest in feed which is derived from soya beans, cottonseed or canola as they contain amino acids that young calves require.”

Wendy says it is easy to over-look investing time and energy into providing spacious, dry and draught-free housing, but it’s essential to get this right because diseases can spread quickly through calves in sheds.

“We would recommend calf numbers are held at 10 or 12 per pen. Smaller numbers of calves tend to be healthier and it’s easier to spot health problems early on. Use a good disinfectant at the start of the season and regularly while the shed is in use,” she says.

PressRelease_04062015_v2

"It starts with having a good calving plan, a well prepared team and making the most of farm facilities for good calf housing. With the basics in place, the rearers can concentrate on ensuring the calves get the right nutrition at the right time so they thrive."


Calves and carers to get the best nutrition this season


4 June 2015

Calving time means lots of hungry mouths to feed on the farm so SealesWinslow has teamed up with the Dairy Women’s Network and celebrity chef Michael Van de Elzen to ensure both calves and carers get the best nutrition.

Calf rearing workshops, which began on 21 May and run through June and July will help rearers prepare for a successful season. Meanwhile Chef Van de Elzen will add seasoning to the sessions, providing recipe packs for fast, healthy meals to sustain farming families.

"I think my life is tough as a chef but farmers certainly work huge hours as well but often in very trying conditions. I'm excited to be supporting them with some tasty tucker," said Mike.

SealesWinslow ruminant nutritionist, Wendy Morgan, says the effort put into rearing calves pays off with healthy and productive replacement heifers and also for those being reared for the beef market. 

“It starts with having a good calving plan, a well prepared team and making the most of farm facilities for good calf housing.  With the basics in place, the rearers can concentrate on ensuring the calves get the right nutrition at the right time so they thrive.”

The calf rearing workshops focus on developing calving plans and housing, and cover the nutritional needs of calves before and after weaning. The free workshops are aimed at both first time and experienced rearers.

Wendy says even the most experienced rearers find calving can take its toll if the calves are eating better than the farm family during calving’s peak.

“We fully support the network’s emphasis on caring for the carers this season and we’re delighted to be helping to build a strong and healthy community of women in dairy.”

Workshop participants will end the day armed with more than the tools for a successful calving season.  They will also receive five special recipes developed by Michael Van de Elzen.  Michael will also be sharing his top tips on 12 June at the SealesWinslow Pavilion site PC36/PC38 at the Fieldays at Mystery Creek from 10 am to 11 am.

To register for one of the 15 workshops across the country, go to www.dwn.co.nz/events.

 

Continue the conversation online

For those that can’t be at any of the events in person, recipes will also be available through the network’s website www.dwn.co.nz from 4 June, and members are encouraged to upload their own nutritious recipes to share with the rest of the community.

SealesWinslow ruminant nutritionist Wendy Morgan is available to answer any questions on calf housing during a live Facebook chat running at 7 pm on 18 June on the Dairy Women’s Network page.

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