13 Oct 2009

Low protein lowers fertility for dairy cows

12:59 pm on 13 October 2009

It's a case of "water water everywhere but not a drop to drink".

While the grass cover may appear lush thanks to liberal sprinklings of spring rain, the high water content in the grass means dairy cows may not be getting enough nutrients to get in calf for next season.

Waikato-based FarmWise consultant Sue Hagenson, says milk protein percentages have been dropping on many North Island farms, indicating the cow's energy intake has dropped.

She says if farmers don't act now to introduce high-energy supplements such as palm kernel, molasses, or grain to the animals' diet, there may be longer-term consequences for mating.

Ms Hagenson says although it may seem odd to spend money on supplements at this time of year, it's a cheaper option than some of the other insemination methods.

She says mating performance has got worse, not better and feeding cows with a supplement now for the next two weeks is far cheaper.