Testimonial – Hamish Johnson, Timaru
When Hamish Johnston started discussing his herd health problems with Sollus he soon found he was getting more than just the opportunity to buy some minerals to deal with the problem.
“When Sollus first rang me and we started talking I soon found we were getting a company that understood animal nutrition very well and was not interested in just selling us some product. There are a lot of mineral companies out their but not always a lot of good knowledge behind those products to back them up.”
His herd’s health problems were rooted largely in phosphorous deficiencies from winter beet feed, and included cows wasting away quickly post-calving, milk fever and lameness.
Working with the Sollus team, Hamish was soon making some significant adjustments to his herd’s nutrition profile.
That included cutting back on spring grass component, dropping barley and introducing palm kernel. Cows were also transitioned pre-calving when they came back onto the farm with a diet that also included palm kernel and maize.
In addition, the transitioning cows received Tranzsol which helped address the deficiencies in phosphorous, calcium and magnesium. Post calving, the cows were then supplemented with LactiSol through to December, helping them better deal with the high stress post calving-mating period.
One year in and Hamish says he has no plans to drop the good advice or products.
“We have seen an improvement in our down cow numbers. We used to get 100 out of 500, it was a ridiculous number, what you would expect to have seen on a farm over twice the size.”
This season they only had a handful of down cows.
Herd losses this year were also lower, with 10 cows dying compared to 25-30 in the past.
“And you only need to save a couple for the products to pay for themselves.”
“Lameness has also become less of a problem. The only lame ones we have seen this year are those older cows, the problem has definitely improved.”
The problem of good cows wasting away, being dried off and ultimately culled during the season has also been fixed.
Those healthier cows are now putting more into the vat for Hamish, with production hitting a sustainable high point of 525kgMS a cow, compared to the already high average of 490-495kg MS.
Hamish has appreciated the depth of knowledge and tailored advice the Sollus crew have provided him in the past year.
“What was good was the Sollus team were more interested in our whole farm, that is what is different – we could have just used the Sollus product, but Sollus really put the time in to explain what we needed to change first.
“It was initially a bit of a scary change, you would think you were using more feed, but in fact we were not – we were just feeding them different combinations of feed to improve their health.”