2016

Facial Eczema SealesWinslow

With NIWA’s seasonal weather outlook through to December signalling warm, wet conditions across the North Island, farmers are being encouraged to include preventive measures against facial eczema in their summer farm management plans.


Warm, wet and worrying for facial eczema


21 November 2016

With NIWA’s seasonal weather outlook through to December signalling warm, wet conditions across the North Island, farmers are being encouraged to include preventive measures against facial eczema in their summer farm management plans.

Above average temperatures and rainfall are ideal conditions for the fungus which causes facial eczema to thrive. Spore production occurs when soil temperatures exceed 12 degrees for three consecutive nights and soil moisture is favourable or air conditions are humid.

“After reduced milk production through the spring, the last thing farmers need is another potential brake on it as summer progresses. Prevention is the best approach and starting early with zinc supplementation is a good tactic to get the best protection,” says SealesWinslow Science Extension Officer, Natalie Hughes.

“It takes time to build up protective levels of zinc in animals, so dosing should start two to three weeks before you would expect spore counts to rise. Given NIWA’s outlook for warm wet conditions through to the end of the year, supplementation could be needed in early December.”

Zinc can be sprayed on pasture, dispensed in water, given in boluses or mixed into feed. Long-term use can lead to copper deficiencies in the herd’s diet, which also leads to lost production.

“This can be overcome by using a product like SealesWinslow ZincMax+ which contains organic copper, as well as a peppermint flavouring to offset the bitter taste of zinc which can often make cows reluctant to drink the dosed water.”

Good pasture management can also help guard against rising spore counts. Matching the rotation to feed supply will help ensure that grass growth is optimised. When grass becomes too long, dead matter can accumulate at the base of the sward which will increase facial eczema risk.

Facial eczema is estimated to cost the country around $200 million annually with affected stock suffering liver and skin damage, reduced fertility, reduced milk and meat production.

What to look for:

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

Maintaining profitability in a low payout year

“After a tough season many dairy farmers may be considering extending the milking period of their cows to create more cashflow. For farmers in a position to do so, keeping cows in milk for an extended period can make strong commercial sense. A dry cow by contrast still incurs feed and grazing costs but without a corresponding milk income."


Farming with heart and a love of animals


05 October 2016

Husband and Wife team, Vaughan and Tracy Sinton know that a successful formula for farming requires not only a passion for the work but also a love for both their animals and the land they live on.

The Sintons’ Waikato dairy farm currently milks 890 cows (predominantly Friesians), with a further 220 farm-reared heifers in the wings. Supported by a contract milker and his four staff, they run a slick yet traditional farming operation.

Tracy Sinton notes that, like most farmers, their commercial success is a by-product of their love for farming, land and animals - not the other way around.

“If it wasn’t for our animals, we wouldn’t have a business,” says Tracy. “Enjoying the animals and looking after the land, that’s what it’s all about.”

This notion is evident wherever you look on their well tended 400 ha property - fringed on one side by the Waikato River and dotted with pockets of native bush, the farm never fails to elicit compliments.

Tracy and Vaughan’s attention to detail also extends to the care shown for their animals which enjoy a grass based diet on mature and largely original pasture with superb grass quality.

With a background in veterinary nursing, Tracy knows a thing or two about animal health and nutrition. It’s the be-all and end-all as far as she’s concerned and the basis of their farming philosophy which includes regular mineral testing.

“Healthy animals will produce better for you. For them to be producing on average 500kg of milksolids, they have to be at their optimum health. You have to treat them like race horses.”

In addition to pasture, Tracy swears by their in-shed feeding system which works very well for them in combination with SealesWinslow products - HiStarch pellets and MaxiPro.

“When we first started using these products we increased production by about 15 percent,” she says. “We’ve used their pelletised feed for about 12 years now - in a rotary cowshed it’s the easiest way of getting essential minerals into the cows, knowing that everybody gets what they’re supposed to get.”

Having achieved 525 kg of milksolids per cow in the past, the Sintons now have their sights set on 550 kg per cow and are getting everything aligned to achieve this goal.

Tracy admits there are challenges to overcome, not least the variable nature of the weather, but she appreciates the support they’ve received from their SealesWinslow sales consultant, Ryan Scholes.

“We’ve built a good relationship with Ryan, and it works both ways,” says Tracy.

“It really helps to have someone who takes the time to understand how our farm system works and knows that it all starts with the welfare of the animals.”

While it’s clear that the Sintons happiness does not depend on achieving their goal, it also seems likely that their passion for farming and love for their animals will continue to keep them on the right path.

Go to www.Ballance.co.nz for details.



Calving season just got a little bit easier thanks to a new series of online videos from SealesWinslow.


Expert tips help calves get the best start


07 July 2016

Calving season just got a little bit easier thanks to a new series of online videos from SealesWinslow.

The 2 minute clips provide quick and relevant advice from SealesWinslow nutritionist and quality manager, Wendy Morgan, allowing calf rearers to refresh their knowledge and access useful information while on the go.

Wendy says that giving calves the best possible start is vital to setting up dairy cows for a long and productive life.

“It starts with having a good calving plan; ensuring calves get the right nutrition at the right time and making best use of farm facilities to provide the best calf housing."

“Well grown heifers make much more successful milking cows, and growing them well starts from the day they are born.”

A total of six videos feature on the SealesWinslow YouTube site, starting with advice on setting up healthy and effective calf housing, and are available now.

The videos cover a range of topics from the best way to provide colostrum to newborn calves, to feeding strategies for optimal rumen development, as well as setting up outdoor shelter best practice for and hitting weight targets.

The full series is as follows:
1. Housing
2. Colostrum and Milk
3. Introducing Feed and Weaning
4. More on Feed
5. Moving Outside
6. Weights and Targets

Wendy points out the information is based on the best practice, designed so that both first time and experienced rearers can benefit from the short, straight-to-the-point videos.

“We know how hectic life can get on the farm during calving time so we’ve presented the information in a way that gives rearers what they need at their fingertips, when they need it.”

Maintaining profitability in a low payout year

“After a tough season many dairy farmers may be considering extending the milking period of their cows to create more cashflow. For farmers in a position to do so, keeping cows in milk for an extended period can make strong commercial sense. A dry cow by contrast still incurs feed and grazing costs but without a corresponding milk income."


Considering more days in milk?


28 April 2016

After a tough season many dairy farmers may be considering extending the milking period of their cows to create more cashflow.

For farmers in a position to do so, keeping cows in milk for an extended period can make strong commercial sense. A dry cow by contrast still incurs feed and grazing costs but without a corresponding milk income.

SealesWinslow Consultant Animal Nutrition Specialist, Paul Sharp, says that farmers weighing the costs and benefits of extending the milking period have several things to consider.

“As the season draws to a close there are conflicting challenges of building up vital feed reserves for the winter ahead, increasing cow condition to target 5.0 condition scores at calving, while also feeding to keep the milk flowing and optimise days in milk.”

Paul acknowledges that optimising a farmer’s return on investment through extended lactation requires a thoughtful farming strategy, and providing the right balance of nutrients can be the key to success.

He points out that a late lactation pregnant cow, whose stomach capacity is severely reduced, can struggle with bulky silages and straws that are high in fibre but take up valuable rumen volume. The same cow will respond better to an energy-dense feed which occupies less stomach room while supplying her and the growing calf with the nutrients they need.

“A cost-effective option is SealesWinslow’s Home Run,” says Paul. “It provides optimal nutrition with less wastage, making more energy available for milk production.” 

Alternatively, pasture still remains the most convenient and economical feed option. With a focus on grazing management, use of irrigation and regular nitrogen application, it will generally be of high quality affording excellent protein and fibre levels throughout autumn.

“However, to maximise milk production, you need to ensure the pasture has a proper balance of nutrients,” advises Paul who strongly recommends carrying out a herbage test.

“The test will determine the precise level of nutrients your animals are getting. Importantly, it will also allow you to formulate a balanced diet for your cows. And that’s an important step for achieving better productivity.”

The right nutrients fed strategically late in lactation will be key – particularly this season, for dairy farmers choosing to keep cows in milk and extend their cash flow.

“Ultimately it’s about increasing the efficiency of your herd and maintaining an income, by employing smart strategies to improve the cost-effectiveness of keeping cows in milk.”

Farmers interested in running through the numbers to see if extending milking could work for their farming situation can be put in touch with a SealesWinslow Specialist by calling 0800 287 325.

Time to guard against costly nutritional deficits

“Copper availability to the animal is lower over winter and we often have low copper concentrations in pasture. Availability is further compromised by other minerals that could be in the animals’ diet – such as high iron content when grazing crops, high molybdenum levels in some soils, sulphur and zinc."


Time to guard against costly nutritional deficits


11 April 2016

A small investment in autumn feed testing can be good insurance against mineral deficiencies in dairy and beef cows that can lead to low growth rates and poor milk yields.

Winter feeds like fodder beet, low pasture phosphorus levels in some regions, and  lower seasonal availability for copper can lead to deficiencies of both of these key minerals during late pregnancy, early lactation and calf growth.

Consultant nutritionist to SealesWinslow, Paul Sharp, says for around $100 a comprehensive pasture mineral test will provide the right information to farmers. Farmers can then work with animal nutritionists or vets to determine what supplementation will be needed to support stock. Liver biopsies from culled cows are also a useful indicator of animal reserves of key trace elements such as copper intake, and while blood tests can monitor trends, these are not as good at predicting animal stores.

“Copper availability to the animal is lower over winter and we often have low copper concentrations in pasture. Availability is further compromised by other minerals that could be in the animals’ diet – such as high iron content when grazing crops, high molybdenum levels in some soils, sulphur and zinc. These make the copper unavailable for absorption in the diet.  Copper deficiency is most likely to occur in winter and early spring and it has impacts on conception and growth rates, and can even cause bone fractures in calves and osteoporosis in cows.”

Paul says zinc treatment for facial eczema can deplete copper reserves because zinc can lock out copper competing for absorption in the digestive tract. Fodder beet can also contribute to copper deficiencies, as well as increase the risk of phosphorus deficiency. Lactating cows need three to four grams of phosphorus per kilogram of dry matter, while copper requirements are around 150 mg/day for weaner calves and up to 450 mg for cows.

Although phosphorus fertilisers are used to boost pasture growth, observations by SealesWinslow over the past year show phosphorus deficits in pasture appear to be increasing, particularly in the South Island, possibly due to changes in pasture cultivars and grazing management, although the cause isn’t fully clear.

“The trouble with deficiencies of nutrients like phosphorus is that they can be hard to detect. If cows don’t get enough phosphorus, they start to mobilise their reserves, and can end up developing sub-clinical symptoms, including reduced appetite and rapid weight loss. This can lead to a reduction in milk yield in dairy cows. Some cows will recover from phosphorus deficiency, but others will go down – this is when you see creeper cows.”

The chance of phosphorus, magnesium, or trace element deficiency causing animal health issues can be reduced with supplements, including SealesWinslow’s molasses block range. This includes a Fodder Beet Block, which helps to fill the nutritional gaps of the crop. Low copper levels can also be addressed through molasses blocks, feed additives or dosing drinking water.



“A diet deficient in these minerals, particularly phosphorus, can lead to ‘creeper cows’ in the short term, and longer-term difficulties including poor milk production, reduced appetite, weight loss and poor reproductive performance."



New fodder beet block - filling the nutritional gap


24 February 2016

Fodder beet is an increasingly popular winter crop for beef and dairy cattle due to the large amounts of dry matter it produces, but you and your stock won’t get the best out of the crop if its nutritional gaps aren’t managed, warns Product Development Manager Jackie Aveling of SealesWinslow.

Its high sugar content makes fodder beet very palatable to stock, but it has sub-optimal protein content (13%), low fibre levels (less than 20%) and is low in phosphorus, magnesium and essential trace elements.

“At SealesWinslow, we’ve found a way to overcome these issues with a solution that’s easy to use and which provides good nutritional support for stock grazing on fodder beet,” says Jackie.

The result is a specially formulated Cattle Fodder Beet Block available throughout New Zealand following on farm testing.  The new block helps to overcome phosphorus deficiency and balance other minerals like magnesium and essential trace elements that are lacking in cows and heifers on a fodder beet diet.

“A diet deficient in these minerals, particularly phosphorus, can lead to ‘creeper cows’ in the short term, and longer-term difficulties including poor milk production, reduced appetite, weight loss and poor reproductive performance.

“Current practice to reduce the chance of phosphate deficiencies developing in stock grazed on fodder beet is to dust the crop with dicalcium phosphate (DCP) or use a slurry of the compound on silage or straw. However these practices can be dusty, time-consuming, wasteful and the intake is variable.”

The new Cattle Fodder Beet Blocks come in 25 kg tubs which are simply placed at the crop face under the fence in front of the cows. Available from merchant retail stores, the block pays its way in terms of convenience, labour time saved, a reduction in downer costs and potential longer-term stock problems. It also compares favourably with the price of a single intravenous downer cow treatment. The recommended block to cow ratio is 1:25.

SealesWinslow mills receive quality stamp

“We care about quality because we know that our customers want optimum results from their livestock and superior products for them,” says Wendy.



SealesWinslow mills receive quality stamp


12 February 2016

SealesWinslow has attained FeedSafeNZ accreditation across all of its mills, recognising the high quality of the animal feed products they make.

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

SealesWinslow Nutrition and Quality Manager, Wendy Morgan, says FeedSafeNZ provides customers with the confidence that feed products are safe and have been produced in a manufacturing plant which is regularly audited.  “We care about quality because we know that our customers want optimum results from their livestock and superior products for them,” says Wendy.

“Farmers are increasingly becoming aware of the risks associated with poor feed quality. They appreciate the peace of mind that FeedSafeNZ affords.  It’s gaining a lot of traction and is an important differentiator,” she says.

Feed produced at all three SealesWinslow mills, in Wanganui, Morrinsville and Ashburton, is available from rural merchants including PGG Wrightson, Ashburton Trading Society, Farm Source, Farmlands, as well as selected Ballance service centres.  

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