Get cows off to the best possible start with Utopia | UFAC UK

Get cows off to the best possible start with Utopia

Published 6 April 2020 Back to News
It is impossible to overstate the importance of attention to detail in the transition period.

Get cows off to the best possible start with Utopia

It is impossible to overstate the importance of attention to detail in the transition period as it fundamentally determines the profitability of the next and subsequent lactations as UFAC- UK’s Mike Chown describes.

We expect a transition cow to achieve an enormous amount in a very short time. They need to calve down and recover from the stresses this entails. Then we expect them to start eating significantly more, go from zero milk production to producing a significant volume of milk with good solids all within a short time frame.

We ask them to do all of this without suffering any metabolic disorders along the way, yet it is estimated 50% of cows have sub-clinical milk fever on calving day and most fresh calvers experience sub-clinical ketosis. We should not under-estimate the enormity of these challenges and the consequences of getting the migration into lactation wrong. Milk yields will be reduced, milk quality will be lower and cows will have more metabolic diseases leading to increased vet costs.

We also need to remember the biggest cause of involuntary culling is still the failure to rebreed and the foundations of fertility have their roots in the transition period.

When looking at successful transition management there are a number of functions we need to support, particularly the immune and reproductive systems. Dry matter intakes have to be optimised, and increased rapidly post calving. We need to ensure cows can utilise the diet as efficiently as possible. Together these will help reduce body condition loss which is a major contributor to poor fertility and the key to this is supporting liver function. We also need to give the immune system a boost, to help cows fight off challenges around calving and keep them healthy.

Meeting requirements

While it is important to get the fundamentals of the diet right, adding the correct supplement can make a significant contribution to transition and early lactation success.

To supplement transition cows effectively, UFAC-UK have developed Utopia, a uniquely balanced supplement, combining rumen-inert glycerine, specific fatty acids, amino acids and minerals to address four key areas.

Transition and early lactation cows have a high demand for glucose which drives milk production and is the fuel for the immune system in the event of a disease challenge. Utopia contains rumen-inert glycerine, the most efficient energy source for glucose production by the liver. Choline is included to keep the liver healthy and efficient and reduce the risk of ketosis.

Utopia includes a balance of highly digestible rumen-inert fatty acids, in particular oleic acid (C18:1). This is proven to increase the digestibility of all fatty acids in the diet, boosting energy supply, reducing body condition loss and ensuring efficient use of the diet.

Better fertility

The inclusion of long chain Omega 3 fatty acids, (EPA and DHA) from marine oil, the most effective source strengthens the immune system. These also play a crucial role in fertility, by increasing the size and quality of eggs, increasing progesterone production, leading to improved conception rates and reduced early embryonic losses.

To help cows reduce oxidative stress and fight infections effectively, Utopia contains high levels of vitamin E and organic selenium.

Finally, transition cows require a supply of essential amino acids not crude protein. If any amino acid is limiting the consequences are, yield depression, reduced milk protein and compromised fertility. In most transition and early lactation diets, the first limiting amino acid is methionine, so Utopia supplies it in a highly effective rumen-inert form.

Our increased understanding of the requirements of transition and early lactation cows means Utopia helps cows settle into lactation quickly. This improved transition management will increase dairy herd margins.

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