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Trials show there’s a lot to love about molasses

Trials show there’s a lot to love about molasses

Trials show there’s a lot to love about molasses

A further round of farm trials in the Waikato has reconfirmed the value of Crystalyx Dry Cow dehydrated molasses blocks as a Dry Cow winter management tool.

The results were shared at a farm open day in Putaruru, in March, with Jackie Aveling, Animal Nutrition Manager at Altum, saying the good turnout reflected farmers’ interest.

“Overseas trials over some 20 years have consistently confirmed the performance of dehydrated molasses blocks. Farmers want to know if the same results can be achieved in New Zealand. Our trial work with Crystalyx, which is specifically formulated for local conditions, gives them the facts they need to support its performance.”

The repeated trial work done by Dr Mark Oliver, science director of the Liggins Institute’s Ngapouri Farm research station near Rotorua, which saw a control herd supplemented with magnesium and trace elements following current best practice guidelines, and the other Crystalyx Dry Cow.

In the first year the control cows recorded a significantly higher incidence of retained placentas (11% compared to 2.6% in the Crystalyx group (p<0.01)), while mastitis incidence also tended to be higher (9.0% vs. 3.9%, p=0.051).

Mrs Aveling says the initial trial indicated a clear link between nutrients, vitamins and reproduction and lactation.

The repeat of the initial trial, on Mark Newton and Sarah Manders’ property in Tokoroa, achieved outcomes similar to the first year. Both herds had similar low metabolic incidence with lower mastitis recorded in the l herd fed Crystalyx Dry Cow than the control herd.

The Altum product was further put to the test on Hugh Chisholm’s farm in Putaruru, where 497 Friesian cross cows were wintered on swedes and silage at his Tokoroa run off. The cows were randomly assigned to a control mob and a Crystalyx mob. The control mob received supplementation through magnesium dusting on crops and trace elements through the water trough.

Both Mr Chisholm and Mr Newton were impressed by the results, and intend to continue to use the product now that the trials have concluded.

“I can honestly say the cows were quieter when they were on Crystalyx. The product really does work,” said Mr Chisholm.

Mr Newton also noticed a change in his Crystalyx mob, with the cows becoming a lot quieter, which was reaffirmed when a vet visiting the farm commented that the herd had calmed down.

“We also noticed that the cows settled into milking well early in spring, and ‘fired up’ for lactation almost immediately. Based on my experience it worked extremely well,” said Mr Newton.

“It’ so much easier than dusting, you just put the tubs out in advance and the cows just take what they want.

“Over the two years we noticed consumption was pretty consistent, so that means you are able to forecast use and budget accordingly.

“We will definitely continue to use Crystalyx now that the trial is over.”

Crystalyx Dry Cow dehydrated molasses block contains a range of valuable micro and macro nutrients contained in the molasses base, critical in aiding the transition through the stressful calving-early spring period. The production process for the block ensures a 98% dehydrated product that stock can only lick, not eat, limiting their uptake to around 200 g per head a day.

This “little and often” product intake provides an even intake profile through the animal’s grazing day, but is also invaluable in feeding the rumen’s microbial population.

ENDS

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