2 SUCKLER COW PRODUCTION IN NORDIC CONDITIONS: FEEDS, FEEDING AND HOUSING Heraklion, Crete Island, Greece Merja Manninen Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira Finland Photos: Merja Manninen if not mentioned.
3 Dairy cows in Finland thousands
4 Suckler cows in Finland thousands
5 Beef meat production and consumption in Finland million kg Finland joined the EU Production Consumption Degree of domestic origin 84% Import 14 million kg
6 Meat production in Finland 2009 Million kg Pork 206 Poultry meat 95 Beef 82 Mutton and lamb 1 TOTAL 384 * Approximately 13% of Finnish beef meat originates from beef breeds.
7 Beef breeds and beef cattle recording in Finland 11 beef breeds: Charolais, Hereford, Limousin, Aberdeen Angus, Simmental, Highland Cattle Blonde d Aquitaine, Galloway, Dexter, Piemontese, Texas Longhorn 2009: recorded suckler cows HC Others Si Ch Li Ab Hf
8 Typical for suckler cow production in Finland No permanent pastures 2009: totally ha for grass production of which for grazing Short grazing period, maximum 4 months Long indoor/winter feeding period Need to preserve feeds (grass/whole-crop silages, straw, hay) Need for winter housing facilities (insulated or uninsulated) Small herds (average : 24 cows/herd) Number of cows per herd increasing Suckler cow production increasing: Dairy cows Suckler cows
9 Animal health in Finland Officially free (EU 64/432) Bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, last observed 1982) Enzootic bovine leucosis EBL (virus) Bovine brucellosis (last observed 1960) BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) eradicated 2008?? Target prevalence under 1% in official Salmonella control programme (pigs and cattle) in slaughterhouses For cattle no routine vaccination Animal health in Finnish beef herds is good
10 Feeds, feeding and housing Winter feeding strategies for suckler cows in cold climatic conditions (2007) 6 articles (8 experiments) 418 spring-calving cows: Hf*Ay, Li*Ay, Ch*Ay, Ab*Ay, Hf, Hf-cross 64 1 st calving nd calving 227 mature
11 Main subjects of interest in Experiments I - VI I II III IV V VI Feeding level (Moderate vs. Low) and Diet (Urea-treted straw vs. hay) Feeding strategy (Accuracy; Daily/14 days variation of ±40%) and Breed (AbAy vs. ChAy) Feeding strategy (Step-up vs. flat-rate) and Diet (Alternative feeds) Diet (Whole-crop silages) Feeding strategy (Daily vs. every third day feeding) Feeding level and Winter housing
12 MTT Agrifood Research Finland Suckler Cow Research Station Tohmajärvi, North Karelia
13 Temperatures ( o C, Average; Average minimum and maximum; Ground minimum) during the experimental years in the Tohmajärvi zone. Average Ground min. at 10 cm Month Average Min. Max. Min. January February March April May June July August September October November December
14 Minimum and maximum temperatures, snow depth and wind speed during the winter Manninen et al Livestock Science 115:
15 Photos: Perttu Virkajärvi
17 Feeds in Experiments I - VI Exp. Hay Grass silage Wholecrop barley / oat silage Straw Ureatreated straw Barley / Oats Rapeseed meal I x x x x x Flourmill byproduct II x x x x III x x x x x IV x x V x x VI x x Additionally: Mineral and vitamin mixtures
18 Feeds in Experiments I - VI Hay * Grass silage * Whole-crop barley silage Whole-crop oat silage DM, g/kg ME, MJ/kg DM CP, g/kg DM * Hay and grass silage: meadow fescue-timothy grasses
19 Results Whole-crop silages, treated straw and flour-mill by-product can partly replace hay and grass silage in the winter diet. Roughages with high or moderate digestibility, if offered ad libitum to suckler cows, may be uneconomical and environmentally undesirable since The cows consume excessive quantities leading to unnecessarily high body condition and waste of energy. Feeds with low DM content may freeze in cold winter housing conditions if offered ad libitum to the cows. This may be a minor problem in suckler cow feeding with a restricted feeding scheme.
21 Dystocial cases Only a few severe calving difficulties were observed, mainly related to Age of the cow Sex, birth weight or disposition of the calf Not to the experimental treatments.
22 The winter feeding strategies did not increase the incidence of dystocial cases. Exp. Cow breed Sire breed Calvings Easy Slight assistance Difficult / Very difficult I II-1 II-2 III-1 HfAy, LiAy AbAy, ChAy AbAy, ChAy AbAy, ChAy Ch Ab Hf Li III-2 Hf Hf IV Hf Hf V Hf Hf VI Hf Hf
23 Milk production Calf suckling / machine-milking techniques. The cows received at least moderate amounts of energy and were in good body condition at parturition with no need to use their own body reserves for milk production.
24 Winter feeding strategies had minor effects on milk production and milk composition Milk, kg/day 15,0 14,0 13,0 12,0 11,0 Exp. IV Exp. III-1 Exp. II-2 10,0 9,0 Exp.V Exp. II-1 8,0 7,0 Exp. I 6,0 5, Days post calving
25 Calf performance Calf LWG was good the cow milk production was sufficient the pastures were good The calf LWG was mostly affected by calf sex. The opportunities to affect the calf LWG prior to the grazing period via the winter feeding strategy are rather marginal if the energy requirements of the cows are satisfied.
26 Winter feeding strategies had minor effects on calf performance Exp. Cow breed Calving Sire breed Birth weight, kg Live weight gain, Birth weaning, g/day I HfAy, LiAy 2 nd Ch II-1 AbAy, ChAy 1 st Ab II-2 AbAy, ChAy 2 nd Hf III-1 AbAy, ChAy Mature Li III-2 Hf Mature Hf IV Hf Mature Hf V Hf Mature Hf VI Hf Mature Hf
27 Pregnancy Unaffected by the winter feeding strategies. The good body condition of the cows at the onset of the mating period. The good pastures available for the cows to increase body condition simultaneously with rather high milk production The use of fertile bulls.
28 Pregnancy rate was unaffected by the winter feeding strategies Exp. Cows entering mating Pregnancy rate,% Mating period BCS at the onset of grazing Calving to conception, days I Nm* Na* II II III III IV V VI * Nm, not measured; Na, not available
29 Mean daily intake of dry matter (DM), metabolizable energy (ME) and diet crude protein content (DPC) in Experiments I-VI. Exp. Breed Calving DM, kg ME, DPC I HfAy, LiAy Na MJ CP g/kg DM II-1 AbAy, ChAy II-2 AbAy, ChAy III-1 AbAy, ChAy M III-2 Hf M IV Hf M V Hf M VI Hf M M, Mature. Na, Not available.
30 Cow live weight (LW), body condition score (BCS) and ME intake (MJ ME/kg 0.75 ) in Experiments I-VI. Exp. Breed Calving LW, kg BCS Pre Post Pre Post ME MJ/ Initial grazing grazing Initial grazing grazing kg 0.75 I HfAy, LiAy II-1 AbAy, ChAy II-2 AbAy, ChAy III-1 AbAy, ChAy M III-2 Hf M IV Hf M V Hf M VI Hf M M, Mature.
31 Winter feeding strategies (1) The amount of energy offered to the cows during winter can be decreased, thus allowing the cows to lose LW and body condition if the losses can be replenished at pasture. Accurate feeding daily is not needed providing that the total amount of energy offered, over a period of a few weeks, is adequate to fulfil the energy requirements of suckler cows.
32 Winter feeding strategies (2) Feeding every third day is acceptable for mature suckler cows. However, the cows must receive enough energy determined per day for maintenance, pregnancy and milk production. The flat-rate feeding strategy can be practised as a simple way of managing the nutrition of mature suckler cows. The precise date of calving is often unknown and the duration of calving period may vary largely.
33 Grazing at Tohmajärvi Research Station Photo: Reetta Palva
34 Grazing at Tohmajärvi Research Station Mainly 120 days. Sown peatland pastures Continuously (I) and rotationally (II-VI) grazed Timothy and meadow fescue with a small proportion of red clover N fertilization kg/ha/year divided into 2-3 applications. The grass growth was rapid during the first two to three weeks of the grazing season. The surplus pasture areas were cut for silage in mid-june. Stocking rate: 2.0 and 1.7 livestock units/ha in the early and in the late season. The post-grazing sward heights were cm.
35 Housing at Tohmajärvi Research Station
36 Housing All facilities offered adequate shelter for the cows and calves. The feeding strategies introduced to the cows are well suited to conditions similar to those in the present study. Production in cold conditions requires shelter against rain and wind a dry resting place adequate amounts of feed suitable for cold conditions water All winter housing facilities should prevent the animals from becoming wet and dirty ensure a safe feeding place for each cow.
37 Animal health in Experiments I - VI Photo: Perttu Virkajärvi The health of the cows and calves was good No clinical symptoms were observed, suggesting no negative effects of the feeding strategies or cold conditions. The calf losses were not related to the treatments or cold conditions.
38 Old winter housing facilities
39 New winter housing facilities
40 In the future: Challenges in suckler cow production Profitability subsidies Increasing farm / herd size need for new management practices Animal welfare (generally good in beef cow herds) Ecological sustainability (carbon footprint) Advice services for new producers no earlier experience with beef cattle or experience with dairy cattle
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