cow is exposed to many changes during the drying, run off and transition period, making it important to try and anticipate her needs in advance, says Sollus head nutritionist Dr Joe McGrath.

During this period many things happen including hormone secretion, metabolic changes and bone rebuilding. We then add stress and low drymatter intake during the first days post-calving.

We need to remember she moves many nutrients to produce milksolids during lactation and as a result of this she needs to rebuild her body and skeleton during the dry and transition period to start the next lactation without any metabolic disorders developing.

For each lactation, a cow can lose about 500g of calcium from her natural storage – her bones.

This process means that she is mining her skeleton to put calcium and phosphorus into milk. This situation can explain why higher-producing older cows are more susceptible to milk fever. This means we have to put back what we take out.

Under New Zealand conditions, knowing the dynamics of the minerals in the different stage of the cow’s transition is the key to designing the proper transition programme.

Excess potassium affects magnesium absorption. You also need to take into account mineral ratios, vitamin levels and understand the difference between farms in order to devise the most beneficial strategy on farm.

Based on that scientific knowledge and understanding of the NZ conditions, Sollus’s approach is very different to conventional mineral company recommendations.

Sollus designs and formulates products to be the best transition supplements for the NZ dairy cow.

Along with the calcium and magnesium that cows need, Sollus’s product Tranzsol incorporates antioxidants, magnesium and, most importantly, Rovimix™ Hy-D. This combination allows cows to safely transition, even when consuming pasture and lime flour. This enables less calcium to be lost from her bones.

Rovimix™ Hy-D is designed by animal nutrition company DSM to manage calcium absorption. Calcium is critical for function of the smooth muscles of the uterus, rumen teats, and sphincters. If these muscle groups can’t function effectively we greatly increase the risk of metabolic disorders, and prevalence of mastitis and reproductive issues.

With Tranzsol, Sollus is helping increasing numbers of farmers reduce metabolic issues, including milk fever, through functional nutrition based on proven science.

We no longer need to accept these diseases are a natural consequence of milking cows.