Most Irish dairy farms are now preparing for the 2021 breeding season, which will commence in the next month. Some interesting facts to keep in mind are that the national six week incalf rate target is 90%. It is widely accepted that each 1% reduction below the 90% target is a potential loss income of up to €9 per cow or 80% incalf rate equates to a potential loss of € 90 per cow in the herd. A more striking figure is that a missed heat can cost €250 per cow. The three biggest influencers for this figure are:

  • Body condition loss post calving (BCS).

BCS loss post calving has a huge influence on conception rates in the herd. 1 BCS is equivalent to up to 50kg of live weight gain loss or gain. It is well accepted that minimizing body condition losses post calving will result in cows cycling sooner. Research has shown that cows that lose less than 1 BCS will ovulate 15 days sooner and the incalf rate increases by 14%.


  • Rising plain of nutrition in the weeks leading up to breeding.

In early lactation both dairy and beef cows will lose body stores of fat post calving. This is unavoidable as her production, calf growth and milk production will out strip her feed intake for the first weeks of lactation. It is vital that these animals are on a rising plane of nutrition, matching Dry Matter intake with the animals production potential be it grass allocation or using additional feed. These feeds however may also need additional supplementation in terms of minerals.


  • The Mineral Status of your herd.

Ensuring the optimum trace element status in your herd is critical to boost herd health and productivity. Often the focus can be on the major minerals such as calcium, phosphorus magnesium etc. and the trace minerals which are required in minute quantities can often be overlooked. These can be detrimental to growth, productivity and reproduction. Teagasc research suggests that most Irish grassland is unable to support the full mineral requirements of the cow. This will vary from farm to farm depending on soil type, stocking rate and antagonists present in the soil. On average most Irish grassland will only supply 40% of the cows Selenium, 50% iodine on a daily basis. In addition to this a lot of farms have high levels of antagonists i.e., Molybdenum, Aluminum and Iron. These elements have potential to interfere with the natural absorption of copper, selenium, zinc etc.

As a lot of minerals are stored in the body tissue, bone, fat and organs this has the potential to reduce essential body stores of important minerals and vitamins for the breeding season post calving. Copper, selenium, zinc and iodine all play an important role in achieving your reproduction goals in a timely fashion.

If there is a deficiency in the herd supplementation will be required. The choice of supplementation is often a source of debate and variable supply can have negative consequences. Some trace elements cannot be stored in the body, such as cobalt or iodine and a form of continuous supply must be provided therefore it is necessary to consider the method of supplementation carefully.

The bolus as a means of supplementation is highly efficient and gives peace of mind to the farmer by releasing a controlled release of trace elements over the duration of cover.

The PharVet bolus boasts Superior and Patented Bolus Technology.

The unique complex structure of the bolus allows it to absorb liquid in the rumen like a metallic sponge. The inflow of water into the core of the bolus triggers and electrolytic reaction which slowly releases the trace elements and vitamins as free ions and salt over the life of the bolus. This also ensures effective utilisation by the animal. The water absorption by the bolus increases in weight by up to 15% which has the added benefit of preventing regurgitation and ensuring retention for the active life of the bolus.

For Further Details Contact PharVet on 01 451 8959

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