The agricultural season is in full swing, the farmers are working like bees in a beehive, storing green fodder in silos and bales, all to collect more roughage this year than last season. Although farmers were afraid of another drought this spring, the rainy May rescued the first swath a little bit, not only in Poland but also in other European countries. This year’s spring was extremely strange – winter without snow cover, March was windy and dry, the rain came only at the turn of April and May, – the nights are still cool. It was raining heavily in the east and south of Poland, but unfortunately, it was not so good in the north-west.
The last two seasons were not favorable for farmers. A lot of farms have already finished haylage and maize silage. The roughage is very difficult to substitute and the purchase is expensive. The drought is a problem for all farmers and I think we have to learn to live with it. We have no influence on rainfall, but we can take care of the fodder base in a different way – choose plant species more resistant to drought, apply agrotechnical techniques to improve soil structure (manure), retain water available to plants, take care of melioration of fields or cultivate winter catch crops.
Farmers on many farms are forced to buy the roughage – by-products of the agri-food industry or grass hay or lucerne. The cost of purchasing forage is paid for, and there is a high risk of metabolic diseases in the cowshed, due to the different nutrient content in the ration.
What problems can occur?
Since most of the nutrients in a cow’s rumen transform microorganisms – bacteria and protozoa – the nutrition must be stable. The rumen flora does not like drastic changes, so the introduction of new fodder must take place gradually so that the microorganisms can adapt. It is worth remembering that a sudden introduction of new fodder and a change in the composition (protein, energy, fibre) may cause digestive disorders, reduce the amount of produced saliva, which is supposed to buffer the rumen content and maintain the pH at an appropriate level. If the ration is incorrectly balanced, rumen acidosis, ketosis or alkalosis may appear. The treatment of these diseases is problematic, and these are disease entities that like coming back. An incorrectly balanced feed intake may also negatively affect the process of pregnancy, milk production, but also the parameters of reproduction – silent heat, miscarriages or problems with getting pregnant. The risk of lameness also increases.
What can we do to avoid these problems?
The reaction of high yielding dairy cows to negative factors usually leads to reduced feed intake, rumination and reduced milk production. This is why it is important to observe the duration of feed intake and ruminations. Both parameters indicate whether the digestion process is proceeding properly and deviations from the norm may indicate the disease that is the beginning. A quick reaction (change of feed ration, visit of the veterinarian, quicker starting of treatment) will help to avoid unnecessary expenses related to long-term treatment or removing of the cow and losses resulting from reduced milk production.
The investment in an e-stado system, which has the function of monitoring ruminations and feed intake, and soon also detecting lameness, will ensure the comfort of feeding, both for the animals, without exposing them to additional stress, but also the comfort of the farmer, who will be sure that his herd is fed properly, observing it 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
Unbalanced feed intake – problem after problem.
The agricultural season is in full swing, the farmers are working like bees in a beehive, storing green fodder in silos and bales. They are afraid of another drought this spring. A lot of farms have already finished haylage and maize silage. The roughage is very difficult to substitute, farms are forced to buy them. The costs of forage are high and occurring high risk of metabolic diseases, due to the different nutrient content in the ration. e-stado system monitoring ruminations and feed intake, ensuring the comfort of health feeding animals, and comfort of the farmer, who will be sure that his herd is fed properly, observing it 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Read it more here.