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New Breed UK Introduces Dairy Fertility Programme
20/03/07

North west based animal nutrition company, New Breed UK, is taking advantage of the latest research findings in dairy cow fertility and utilising a new programme to assist in its diet formulation and advisory work with producers.

New Breed’s director Mark Borthwick

New Breed’s director Mark Borthwick

“The UK continues to see a year on year decline in dairy cow fertility at the expense of increased production,” says New Breed’s director Mark Borthwick. “Often this increase in production is in the 305 day lactation yields, yet milk sold per cow per year is declining. This drop in annual milk production and losses associated with poor fertility is costing producers dearly.”

New Breed is adopting a new fertility programme called the Future Fertility Index that has been developed with specialist animal nutrition company SCA NuTec who work closely with the company. SCA NuTec was one of the sponsors of a recent industry and Defra funded fertility research project at the University of Nottingham and it has used these results, plus its own research, to develop the new fertility programme.

The Future Fertility Index has been embraced by New Breed’s team of nutrition advisers. It uses individual cow data and production records to help identify the ‘weakest link’ in the herd’s fertility. The programme provides three key fertility indexes for each herd; a cycling index, embryo quality index and implantation index.

“These indexes are like benchmarks,” says SCA NuTec ruminant manager Sion Richards. “If a cow doesn’t come bulling she will have a low cycling index – if she doesn’t conceive then embryo quality might be below par or if she doesn’t hold to service then perhaps implantation isn’t good.”

New Breed has worked with SCA NuTec to develop unique diets to overcome the weak areas that are identified. “Cows with delayed bulling indicate more energy and insulin is needed in the diet,” adds Dr Richards.

“Carefully evaluating and enhancing the sources of energy in the diet has been shown to increase bulling activity.

“A reduction in liver function – often seen when cows transit from the dry period to early lactation – will reduce insulin, so improved dry cow feeding to overcome this is advised too.”

Moving on, poor embryo quality is associated with dietary energy that does not stimulate progesterone production. Ensuring adequate saturated fat and good liver function will help stimulate progesterone.

The level of fermentable energy sources should be relatively low at this stage too, to minimise insulin production. Insulin has a detrimental affect on embryo quality.
The Future Fertility Index will predict levels of progesterone from insulin and cow intake.

For herds where poor implantation of embryos is suspected – where cows are not holding to service – the production of the naturally occurring hormone prostaglandin F2α should be reduced.

“The key is to evaluate where the fertility issues are and target these,” adds Mr Borthwick. “Then we can modify the diet accordingly.

“New Breed has invested in the programme as part of its commitment to helping producers improve cow performance and it will complement our very practical approach to cow feeding. The Future Fertility Index programme, in conjunction with more than 200 combined years’ of ‘cow walking’ experience, is making New Breed the fastest growing ruminant knowledge company in UK.”

For more information contact Mark Borthwick on 07795 553332

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