Improving dairy herd health using Obsalim - 2nd trial

This field lab builds on a previous trial using Obsalim.

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Field Lab Timeline

    10/17/2016 11:00:00 PM
  • First group meeting

    First group meeting
  • 11/29/2016 12:00:00 AM
  • First training case study farm

    First training case study farm
  • 12/20/2016 12:00:00 AM
  • Follow up visit to Eastbrook Farm

    Follow up visit to Eastbrook Farm
  • 1/17/2017 12:00:00 AM
  • Second follow up visit to Eastbrook Farm

    Second follow up visit to Eastbrook Farm
  • 2/14/2017 12:00:00 AM
  • Training meeting with Bruno Giboudeau

    Training meeting with Bruno Giboudeau
  • 4/10/2017 11:00:00 PM
  • Second training meeting with Bruno Giboudeau

    Second training meeting with Bruno Giboudeau
  • 1/1/2018 12:00:00 AM
  • Field lab progression

    Field lab progression
For further information hover over the above milestone marks
  • Discussion

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  • Achievements

    August 2018

    Science of Artisan Cheese conference talk

    Farmers that trialled on this field lab continue to use, meet and discuss the use of the Obsalim cards.

    Coordinator Kate Still and researcher Lindsay Whistance will be talking about the benefits of Obsalim in helping ensure high welfare and quality of product at the upcoming Science of Artisan Cheese conference on 15th August 2018. Please see here for details of how to register for the conference:

    If you are interested in Obsalim, please contact coordinator Kate Still:

    Milestone: Field lab progression

    March 2017

    Obsalim card codes

    For more information on the Obsalim card coding and methods, please see the pdf under the 'Field Lab Documents' section and the following link:

    Milestone: Second training meeting with Bruno Giboudeau

    February 2017

    Training meeting with Bruno Giboudeau at Wood Farm

    This training session was with the vet who developed and pioneered the Obsalim technique (Bruno Giboudeau).

    Notes from one of the triallists:

    Two groups of cows we looked at and told us that they did not have enough feeding space (they have been telling me this all winter but there was nothing we could do about it as we are a barn short and they are not in their correct housing).

    The young stock: hair crest, spinal chill, hair in swirls, cowpats elastic, less than 75% lying down.
    ration is under performing and the limiting factors are the protein and rumen stability. Rumen instability was shown from the way that they are feeding i.e. not enough feeding space.

    To increase feeding space we have put in two round feeders on the other side of the yard (although it is a bit cramped now) but we have not been able to increase the protein as we have now had to put dry cows in that group while the dry cow barn is being renovated (a lot of the heifers in that group have calved now so there was some room for the dry cows). However, they look in better condition.

    The high yielders:
    Cow pats elastic, urine transparent, nose stained, cowpats changing, redness of the claw skin fold, hair crest.

    The ration is underperforming, the energy of the ration is not being fully transferred to the animals. There is an excess of fF and the hair crest symptom shows that the cows are eating too much; they are not regulating their food intake. The food is being wasted. If they had enough feeding space they would all eat and then ruminate together. We had tried adding some whole crop with the silage but with the cow pow system we could only put it in alternate blocks and the cows end up just eating one or the other.

    Milestone: Training meeting with Bruno Giboudeau

    February 2017

    Training meeting with Bruno Giboudeau at Wood Farm continued

    Bruno suggested that next year we could try and layer our silage clamp with silage and whole crop. One of the triallist's is also going to increase the feed space in the new housing so that we won't have the same problem with feed space next year.

    The low yielders feed space has been increased since the visit and big bale silage (longer fibre) added to their silage (there is more room there to put it on top). They are looking so much better now. They have got their bloom back and have put on condition. They are cleaner and I have noticed the floors are much cleaner too.

    The weaned calves were fine. They have been fed in the Obsalim way. Two feeds of haylage a day with straw available in between. They only have their concentrates after they have eaten most of their haylage. I increase/ decrease the haylage or concentrates as they tell me. It works!

    Milestone: Training meeting with Bruno Giboudeau

    January 2017

    Second follow up visit to Eastbrook Farm

    This follow up visit included talking with a farm nutritionist and vet who noted the following: Still high rumen instability, not ruminating enough and resulting in low protein where protein isn’t being metabolised from feed ration. Remains excess fermentable energy, from excess concentrate and over eating.

    Some changes had been made,
    • 15 cows had been dried off and an additional 11 will follow – 26 in total
    • Feeding extra straw 0.25 kg
    • Feeding at the same time each day (although this is still once a day)
    • Consistency with milking time
    • Dropped parlour cake a little

    Potential changes to consider

    - Feed twice a day, if not possible then feed in the afternoon (2-3 pm) which would allow the cows to run out late morning and encourage them to lie down and ruminate. If this isn’t possible then shut the cows off the feed from midday until 4 pm.
    - Additionally drop parlour cake further (1 kg)

    Milestone: Second follow up visit to Eastbrook Farm

    December 2016

    Follow up visit to Eastbrook Farm

    Follow up visit, included Farm Assessment made, but little change in symptoms as no change to system.

    Milestone: Follow up visit to Eastbrook Farm

    November 2016

    First training case study farm

    This was the first assessment session at Eastbrook farm. The stand out Obsalim criteria is rumen stability the high negative number suggests a high amount of fermentable food (excessive eating) and an irregularity of feeding pattern between morning and evening. Additionally fermentable energy is high suggesting excessive concentrate feeding.

    It is suggested that as food is always available to the cows all the time (they are fed once a day in the morning) they have got into a pattern of snacking all day long and aren’t giving themselves a long enough break from eating in the middle of the day to ruminate so the rhythm between ruminating and eating is not in balance. There is also insufficiently feed barrier space for all cows to eat at the same time therefore they are disturbing each other as they get up at different times to eat. Cows are also eating too quickly as try to consume as much as possible while they have access to the feed face.

    Ideally the feed should be split into two meals to allow cows to finish up at lunch time, then have 4 hours of rumination before being fed again. However it would be important to coincide this with reduced stock numbers so that all cows can feed at the same time.

    If feeding twice a day can’t be achieved then cows should be shut off feed in the middle of the day to encourage them to ruminate, again this needs to be coincided with reduced stocking.

    The plan is to dry a group of 26 cows off to reduce stocking to 140 cows and also investigate what can be changed with the feed timing.

    Milestone: First training case study farm

    October 2016

    First group meeting

    The initial meeting was to decide priorities for the group following the first trial. It was decided that the focus should be on training in the technique and learning the cards. The group wanted to gain more confidence in spotting signs and linking the diagnosis to the changes that should be made. Additionally all members are going to help recruit new members to the group.

    Milestone: First group meeting

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