Cattle Metabolic Profiles and Nutritional Advice
The modern dairy cow is required to perform at an extremely high level. In human terms the energy consumption of a dairy cow is roughly twice that of professional cyclists during the Tour de France race. This in itself is no small feat but just consider that the human race lasts just 3 weeks compared to a dairy cow where lactation is expected to continue well in excess of 300 days. The task of maintaining this level of output over such a long period is gargantuan requiring a delicate balance of nutrition, husbandry, disease control and monitoring, hence it is no surprise that occasionally part of the equation slips a little.
Problems within a herd may present in a number of ways such as poor fertility, decreased milk yields, increased incidence of conditions such as displaced abomasums and so on. These symptoms and presentations may be easy to spot but the underlying cause is often much more difficult to find.
Metabolic profiling involves examining a proportion of the herd (usually around 17 animals in total) assessing them as individuals and as a group. Blood samples are then taken and sent to a specialist laboratory run by Edinburgh University, who analyse the results and return a report of their findings to us. This approach allows us to form an internal and external picture of how well each animal is functioning. From this picture we can see how a herd is managing as a whole and highlight the problem areas that require attention. We can then work with you, and whoever else necessary to correct the problem and return the balance to the herd.
Diet can be a common cause of problems in a herd. An inadequate dry cow ration or palatability issues with a lactating diet are examples of potential risk areas. Discussions with a vet before any major diet changes can help to avoid problems. Likewise if you are concerned with an area of nutrition we can provide advice and discuss where the problems may lie. Metabolic profiling can often be used to pinpoint which area requires attention allowing us to work with you and your nutritionist to alter the diet accordingly.