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TREATING GRASS SILAGE WITH POWERSTART IMPROVES FERTILITY
“Improving fertility is a major goal for dairy farmers,” comments Genus ABS Technical Services Director John Cook. “We know nutrition plays an important role and now for the first time we have proof that choice of silage inoculant can also have a big impact.”
The study which was reported at the XVIth International Silage Conference in Finland included 103 herds, all of which were using Genus ABS Reproductive Management System (RMS) to ensure consistently recorded and accurate fertility information. In total 49 herds (11,621 cows) were fed grass silage treated with Powerstart. The remaining 54 herds (13,415 cows) were fed either untreated grass silage or grass silage treated with a range of other additives.
“There was a significant difference in mean calving to conception interval between the two groups,” Mr Cook continues. “Cows fed the Powerstart treated silage had a mean interval of 125 days compared to the other herds where the average interval was 135 days. This 10 day saving represents a significant practical and financial benefit from using Powerstart, worth around £50 per cow, or £11,850 for the average sized herd using Powerstart treated grass silage.”
Mr Cook believes the improved calving to conception interval is linked to superior forage palatability, higher dry matter intakes and to improved silage protein quality seen in the treated forage.
“Intakes play a big part in the management of early lactation energy balance. Cows that have a daily DM intake equivalent to 4% bodyweight are shown to be more likely to be in calf by 110 days post-calving than those eating just 3.5% of bodyweight. This difference in intake is equivalent to 1.5kg DM per day. Feeding trials with Powerstart treated silage show a feed intake response of an extra 1kgDM per day meaning cows fed Powerstart treated forage are closer to the 4% target.”
He explains that better forage protein quality leads to superior microbial capture of nitrogen in the rumen which reduces rumen ammonia levels and blood urea levels. Powerstart is shown to improve the protein quality in grass silage.
“High blood urea can have several effects on fertility including high early embryo mortality and reduce progesterone levels which affect egg quality. So by improving protein quality Powerstart helps improve the conditions needed for good fertility. This combined with higher energy intakes can explain the fact that cows fed Powerstart treated silage get in calf 10 days faster,” Mr Cook concludes.
For any more information on the Powerstart range speak to your local Genus ABS Rep or call 0870 162 2000
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