Pictured: Pascal Byrne with his four children, left to right are Killian, Finbar, Summer and Shea.
Pascal Byrne and his wife Clare farm at the foot of the Mournes, overlooking Newry Co. Down. Pascal milks a herd of 130 Holstein-Friesian cows, with 100 cows milking at present. The herd average circa. 8500 litres per year, with fresh cows producing in excess of 40 litres per day and many cows exceeding 50 litres per day. The herd would have originally been a grazing herd but as numbers increased, the herd has become fully housed and fed on a TMR diet.
With the excellent performance potential of the herd, Pascal admits that there is a high level of management required. Therefore, when the opportunity to engage with the Lakeland Agri/Premier Nutrition Transition Management System (TMS) programme arose, Pascal was encouraged to join by his Lakeland Agri sales representative Michael McGeeney.
Having completed over 12 months on the system now, Pascal states that the programme has been a great help. “It’s like having an extra set of eyes on the cows, and it has allowed me to identify issues on the farm that were costing me money.”
In November 2019, at the beginning of Pascal’s calving season and following the monthly visit of TMS assessor Shannon Porter, Shannon flagged to members of the Lakeland Agri Technical Team that Pascal had issues with milk fever cases and retained cleanings in his transition cows. At this point, 23% of calved cows were experiencing milk fever in that particular month, 15.5% had retained cleanings and 38% of calved cows were encountering metritis.
It was identified that a high DCAD reading in Pascal’s forage was the causative factor for the milk fever and retained cleansings occurring. Following this discovery, a plan was introduced to Pascal utilising the Lakeland Agri Ultrabalance Dry Cow Nut to address the issues. The silage in the diet was diluted by adding straw and the Ultrabalance Nut, which helped dilute the strong DCAD issue in the silage. The Lakeland Agri Ultrabalance Dry Cow Nut is based on Maize, Soyabean and Wheat, providing an excellent supply of energy and quality protein when the cow needs it most, in that close-up dry cow period. It also has a full complement of Hi-Specification Minerals including high levels of Vitamin E and B12 to strengthen the immune system of the cow. Lastly, it contains an anionic salts component, which encourages the mobilisation of calcium in the cow, and thereby, helps prevent milk fevers and retained cleanings.
Since the introduction of the Lakeland Agri Ultrabalance Dry Cow Nut in November, Pascal’s calving season has been a success, and this is supported by the TMS data collected. In both January and February, there was no cases of milk fever or retained cleansings, and only one case of metritis resulting from a hard calving. In March, the situation was even better with no cases of milk fever, retained cleaning or metritis at all.
Pascal had the following to say about his experience with the Lakeland Agri Ultrabalance Dry Cow Nut;
“Cows are really looking well and are calving down without any issues. Using the Ultrabalance Nut has provided me with a healthy cow that just goes and milks. As there have been no cases of milk fevers and retained cleanings, there has been a big saving on antibiotics and vet checks. Many cows are bulling again, which shows they transitioned well. The TMS programme has provided me with a lot of information, and that second set of eyes to look at the cows, to notice issues I may not see as I am used to looking at the cows every day. It is extremely useful. I would recommend the product and service to any interested dairy farmer.”