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November Canadian Ruminant E-newsletter

Timely Tips from the Novus® Transition C.O.W.S.® Program

During the transition period from calving to lactating, dairy cows experience high energy requirements as well as physiological and endocrinal challenges that can negatively impact their milk production and performance in the coming months. Coupled with heat stress in the summer, transition cows can experience additional challenges to get adequate rest and feed intake. To help dairies cope with these challenges and to evaluate possible bottlenecks in their operations, Novus designed the C.O.W.S.® Program.

Our C.O.W.S.® technical representatives collect transition period (3 weeks before and 3 weeks after calving) data, then evaluate pens for outcome-based welfare measurements, locomotion, lying time, hock and knee injuries along with facility and management measures.

Based on dairy visits and C.O.W.S.® assessments, our C.O.W.S.® Program Lead, Dr. Karen Luchterhand, has these timely tips that could help your operation as your cows go through transition stress.

Dairy Operation Tips to Manage Transition Stress

3e039495-8e44-4426-8b18-54fff2a33fffProvide additional feed bunk space – at least 30 inches per cow in both dry and fresh pens
a7334310-4d7e-48f5-a384-31ce459d357c1 stall per cow or 120 square feet in bedding packs
--• Deep bedded stalls should be level with the curb
--• Mattress and waterbed stalls should have 3 inches of bedding
aa31fc4c-dd76-408d-9544-ed460dbc91faWhen appropriate, provide heat abatement for all cows including dry cows; shade, thoroughly soaking the cow and using fans to evaporate the water off the cow
57139320-4980-4432-9138-abbb4127bf41Minimize fresh cow lock-up times to less than 45 minutes per day and have personnel ready to check cows as the first cows start coming back from the parlor
384f2419-1471-4ff3-b322-c621bd7bed28Maintain time away from pen to less than 3 hours per day
ce1ffc15-cef3-4608-bd5c-67a5c0fec843Water space – 3.5 linear inches per cow

Early lactation rest is important. In the Novus® C.O.W.S.® transition database, each additional hour of lying time translated to 11 additional pounds of milk. University of Wisconsin researchers observed some farms were locking their cows up as many as 6 hours per day.2 It is a critical time in a cow’s life and important to provide these cows resting time, high quality feed, heat abatement and space to set them up for success. Talk to your regional Novus sales manager to learn more about the Novus® C.O.W.S.® Program.

(1Dahl et al., 2016, 2 Oetzel et al., 2007)



Support Silage Stability with a Premium Antioxidant

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Many beef and dairy producers are evaluating their forages from this year. Considering the previous harsh winter and excessive spring rains, many forages like alfalfa and corn have quality issues and delays. Moisture content and lower concentrations of fermentable carbohydrates resulted in conditions less than ideal for making good silage. While silage inoculants help promote successful silage fermentation, once re-exposed to oxygen, these silages can become unstable due to growth of organisms like yeast or mold. In addition, active microbials increase oxidative breakdown of feed fats and fat-soluble vitamins.

Supplementing with antioxidants can help mediate some of the negative effects of reduced silage quality. Research shows feeding an ethoxyquin-based antioxidant blend supported higher dry matter intake, reduced blood ketone levels in transition dairy cows and higher milk fat yield in cows fed typical levels of dietary unsaturated fat. Additional studies have shown that cows fed our ethoxyquin-based product, SANTOQUIN® feed additive, showed higher concentrations of plasma vitamin A and E, two fat-soluble vitamins essential for health and immunity. In beef cattle, SANTOQUIN® was shown to promote animal performance and cell integrity, lessening the chance of liver abscesses in cattle fed high-grain diets.

Feeding antioxidants is a cost-effective way to help overcome some of the challenges associated with reduced forage quality and stability while supporting animal performance.

(Vázquez-Añón et al., 2008, Wang et al., 2010, Peters and Saylor, 2003, Krumsiek and Owens, 1997)



Getting to Know Heather Tucker

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What is your official title at Novus?
Ruminant Research Scientist

How long have you been with Novus?
Five years this November

What is your background in the industry?
I have a Ph.D. in animal nutrition focused on dairy cattle and did a lot of research with industry partners during my Ph.D. at Purdue and post-doc at the Miner Institute.

Which Novus® product is your favorite?
They are all my favorite! Each one does something unique and the fact that I get to work with all our products in our research trials makes my job fun and challenging.

What accomplishment or moment in your career are you most proud of?
Specific to Novus, I would say being part of the team to get the MINTREX® VERIFY℠ Profit Tool from an excel spreadsheet to a web-based application that our sales and technical team use in the field with customers. Outside of Novus, I am pretty proud of completing my Ph.D.

What is your favorite research that you have presented and why?
The recent trial we completed on benefits of maternal MINTREX® supplementation to progeny is a favorite. The response we saw to improvements in muscle mass and morphometry of the progeny was phenomenal and really supports the value of MINTREX®. It is also really exciting to see that a mineral source you feed to the dam can impact the fetus she is carrying.

How do you work with your team to address customer needs and overcome challenges they face?
I talk with our ruminant technical services team members throughout the world on a regular basis to understand what challenges our customers are facing, what information the team needs to help, and where our research should be focusing to support them. I then take those conversations and figure out how we can use the data we have to help or what research we need to do. Everything we do in research is a group effort which allows us to apply the results to as many customers and situations as possible.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the animal agriculture industry today?
Low milk prices are a huge challenge to the dairy industry in the United States currently and though there has been a small increase recently, it is still a really difficult situation for most farms.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Kayaking, playing with my dog and quilting.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Ireland has always been on my travel bucket list and I hope to go soon.

What is your favorite dairy product?
Who doesn’t love milk! Coffee milk is a huge favorite of mine.

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