Body condition scoring (BCS) is the assessment of the amount of fat covering the bones of a dairy cow, regardless of her body size.
DairyNZ general manager farm performance Sharon Morrell says shipping woes have caused disruption for some magnesium supply into New Zealand.
Retailers of magnesium, DairyNZ, NZ Veterinary Association and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have met to better understand the extent of the disruption.
Morrell says they are working together to ensure animal health and welfare needs can be addressed.
<p."Supplies of magnesium are tight across all suppliers across the country but there is a plan in place to manage critical animal health needs," she says. "A number of shipments are due this month, and we anticipate this will ease the supply situation."
Animal health and welfare is a top priority for everyone in this sector and farmers are being urged to continue talking to their retailers about theier specific needs.
Morrell is also urging farmers to manage their magnesium stocks well.
"Share any excess with others, talk to retailers about specific needs and check with your vet or farm consultant before implementing major changes to your normal plan, or if there are animal health issues on farm that are different to a usual season.
Tips to Manage Use
- Re-calculate requirements for each mob regularly
- Use actual requirements, not higher 'precautionary' rates
- Instead of dusting, mix magnesium oxide into a slurry and apply on top of supplement
- Drench magnesium oxide with water, this is the most efficient method of supplementation
- Use magnesium oxide as part of a blended feed ration
- Combine water treatment with pasture or feed application to reduce dosage of both magnesium chloride and magnesium oxide
- Identify higher risk cows in your herd and focus supplementation on theme e.g.: recently calved older cows, higher producers, cows with a history of milk fever, and cows that have experienced difficult calvings
- Keep supplementing springers daily
- Use a starter drench in the first 48 hours
- In some cases, lime flour can be added to feed, but veterinary advice should be sought first