Mineral line into dairy helps reduce milk fever

Mineral line into dairy helps reduce milk fever

1 May 2017

The incidence of milk fever has reduced significantly with the addition of a magnesium oxide product through a mineral line into a North Island dairy.

Dairy farmer Campbell Clayton-Greene milks 600 cows with a 54 bale dairy located at Kaihere in the North Waikato where the land is predominately peatland.

Milk fever had been a major challenge for the dairy and Campbell had been looking for options that would address the issue.

“Over the years we've really battled with milk fever through that calving time,” says Campbell.

Traditionally, dusting pastures was the main way of getting magnesium into the cows although Campbell says there were still significant incidences of milk fever with this option.

Over the last season, a magnesium oxide product from Sibelco called Ozmag 523 has been administered directly to the dairy cows through their feed.

“We've got on to Ozmag and it’s allowed us to put in a product pretty cheaply into the shed through a specific mineral line,” Campbell says.

“It means we can get down to exact amounts so we're not budgeting on another 50 per cent or 75 percent more, when you come to dusting on a paddock.

“It has been quite a big saving on labour and motor bikes and little spreaders. You haven't got staff running around on motorbikes dusting, getting white dust in their eyes, noses and hair,” says Campbell.

One of the most important aspects was the reduced incidence of milk fever.

“Last year was our first year with it and we had significantly less milk fever. Over the previous two to three years we had five to six percent of the herd (30 to 40 cows) with milk fever over that calving time. This season that dropped to 2.5 percent (15 cows) so we have reduced milk fever cases by at least 50 percent.

“I think every time you get a milk fever case it costs you $30 worth of product you have to put into them and another half an hour to go and attend to that cow and sometimes longer if you have to go stand her up with a tractor.

“There are significant savings in money as well as labour if we can reduce milk fever incidences.”

On Campbell’s farm, Ozmag has replaced dusting for the springer mob through until Christmas with the product applied on top of regular feed.

“The Ozmag comes in on a separate line and as it drops down on to the individual bales it then gets mixed. We can control exactly how much magnesium the cows get.

“It is about 60 grams of Ozmag per cow in the springer mob and that may go down to 50 grams when they're in the milking mob. If we can keep the magnesium going into the cows then we don't seem to have the problem of milk fever."

He said because the Ozmag is a granular formulation, it moves well through the auger lines without getting bound up.

The fact Ozmag is sourced from a Sibelco mine in Australia also appeals to Campbell

“Aussie has got a bit of a reputation of having some pretty high quality magnesium products. We've had some really good results this year.”

For more information on Ozmag 523 talk to your local Fonterra Farm Source TSR or visit your Farm Source store.

Article supplied by Sibelco