Building on an already strong foundation, a new formulation of Springer 16 lead feed grain mix is delivering further improved health and productivity improvements in herds across Victoria.
Reid Stockfeeds has incorporated the latest knowledge on feeding to support cows through a successful transition from a dry cow to a high performing milker. The new formulation, first released as a selected trial in 2016, has resulted in irrefutable improvements in herd performance, leading to the full-scale release of the product in March 2017.
“Our aim with the Springer 16 reformulation was to further improve the transition outcomes on farm, knowing the end gain would be improved production and profitability”, said Kelly Slattery, a Senior Nutritionist at Reid Stockfeeds.
The modifications to Springer 16 have re-affirmed Reid Stockfeeds’ ongoing commitment to delivering the latest knowledge and research to its feed, with changes providing a multitude of benefits at the farm level.
The new formulation delivers increased levels of magnesium and vitamin D, in the form of Hy D, a more bio active form of vitamin D. Both magnesium and vitamin D support the cow’s natural system of upregulating calcium absorption from their feed and the release of calcium from bones into the blood stream. This sets the cow up to better cope with additional calcium demand at the onset of milk production and reduces the risk of milk fever.
Less milk fever cases in the herd means better cow health, reproduction and production outcomes.
“Milk fever weakens the immune system, increasing the chance of mastitis and metritis. A cow with milk fever is also at greater risk of other metabolic disease such as ketosis and she is likely to take longer to get back in calf”, explains Ms. Slattery.
Other changes to Springer 16 include increased levels of Vitamin A & E as well as higher rates of trace minerals including copper, cobalt, zinc, selenium and manganese. Adjustments have been made to the chloride and sulphur ions that contribute to the -1000 mEq/kgDM DCAD.
Leaving nothing to chance, Reid Stockfeeds even conducted palatability testing at multiple farms, ensuring the nutritional benefits will not be left in the trough. “The feed only works if the cows eat it”, explains Ms. Slattery, “We added flavours and sweeteners to the feed and the cows love it”.
Back on the farm, the benefits are being realised, with farmers using Springer 16 enjoying a relatively stress free calving season. Fewer birthing complications have lightened the farmer’s work load and vet bills to boot.
“This year, we fed Springer 16 to half our calving herd and it’s been remarkable to see the differences in performance”, said Rodney Bakker, a dairy farmer from the south-west of Victoria. “The birthing process of the cows we fed Springer 16 has been much smoother. We’ve not had to intervene in any of the births”.
“Last year, our vet was needed on three or four occasions during the calving season. We’re yet to have a single call out this year”, noted Mr. Bakker.
Tom Wright, another Springer 16 convert from Victoria’s south-west noted, “We’ve not yet finished calving season and already saved a minimum of $1,500 in vet bills as compared to last year. And that’s excluding medication, which has been a significant expense previously”.
After giving birth, Springer 16 fed mothers are returning to the milking shed quicker, providing a welcome boost to the farmer’s bottom line. “The warm up period for the Springer 16 fed cows has been half that of the rest of the herd”, Mr. Bakker commented. “In less than ten days, the cows are back to full milking productivity”.
“The mothers are recovering from calving much quicker”, remarked Mr. Wright. “The calves are also, fitter, heathier and more resilient”.
The benefits from the reformulated Springer 16 feed are being passing from mother to calf, both in and out of the womb.
“The calves are hitting the ground in much better condition”, said Mr. Wright. “Even in the calf shed, you can see the difference, with the Springer 16 calves thriving in the first few weeks”.
“This year, we’ve been selling our 5-day old bull calves at 40kg plus. The calves who were not exposed to Springer 16, weigh closer to 35kg”, said Mr. Bakker.
For the early adopters of the reformulated Springer 16 lead feed, the ledger is certainly in the black. The improvements to herd productivity, along with the reduction of associated costs are more than justifying the outlay of lead feeding.
“Once you’ve factored in the lower vet costs, no cow deaths associated with calving and a very low number of issues with the calves, the costs of Springer 16 become a non-issue”, said Mr. Wright.
“It’s not even a question if we’ll continue using Springer 16”, said Mr. Bakker.
To recognise the full benefits of the reformulated Springer 16, Reid Stockfeeds recommends introducing the feed into a cow’s diet at 3kg/cow/day for 21 days prior to expected calving.
For more information on Springer 16 or lead feeding, visit our lead feed page or contact one of the nutrition team.