Successful use of feed supplements on the North Pole
Michael Bünting is the production adviser for cattle at AGRAVIS Mischfutter Oldenburg/Ostfriesland GmbH. Together with his colleague Bernd Schwarting of Raiffeisen-Warengenossenschaft Wesermarsch eG, he has been supporting the established family business run by Jan-Gerd Helmers in Wiefelstede, Lower Saxony, for many years – and is constantly impressed by it.
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- From left: Bernd Schwarting of Raiffeisen-Warengenossenschaft Wesermarsch, Gerald Krabbe of Crystalyx Products GmbH, and Michael Bünting of AGRAVIS Mischfutter Oldenburg/Ostfriesland GmbH provide advice and practical support for Regine and Jan-Gerd Helmers at their dairy farm.
Is it a special place? The question brings a little smile to Helmers’ face. No, his farm isn’t really special, he says with typical Nordic coolness and modesty: “We’re on the North Pole, that’s all,” he shrugs, referring to the farm’s unusual address on a street named “Nordpol”. This is quickly countered by Michael Bünting, however. “As far as efficiency and output is concerned, what we have here is anything but ordinary,” he says.
Low costs, high yields
Together with his colleague Bernd Schwarting of Raiffeisen-Warengenossenschaft Wesermarsch eG, the product advisor for cattle at AGRAVIS Mischfutter Oldenburg/Ostfriesland GmbH has been supporting the established family business run by Jan-Gerd Helmers in Wiefelstede, Lower Saxony, for many years – and is constantly impressed by it. Milk production is consistently around 1,000 litres per year, protein and fat levels are excellent, as is the cell count, which is regularly below 155,000. “Yet the Helmers manage to keep their outlay for this success within relatively reasonable limits,” says Bernd Schwarting.
Successful Crystalyx feed programme.
Gerald Krabbe, Product Manager at Crystalyx Products GmbH, a subsidiary of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG, explains that this success is due in no small part to their strict adherence to the Crystalyx feed programme: “The licks promote the intake of the basic feed by stimulating the production of saliva, providing an additional buffer in the rumen and stabilising the animal’s overall metabolism.” The Helmers have been using Crystalyx products for ten years: the green Standard and blue Dry Cow tubs are pretty much a permanent feature of the cow shed. Apart from that, concentrated feed is offered in the milking parlour and via transponder, grass and maize are on the feed table and hay is also freely available. Minerals are administered through the lick blocks. The Helmers had a special feed mixer, but they decided to get rid of it.
Consistently good figures
Regine and Jan-Gerd Helmers have a concept which has served them well and which they are reluctant to interfere with. The figures back them up. Their farm is in the Ammerland region, an area of intensive dairy farming with many high-output operations around them. But the Helmers regularly feature in the top places in the productivity reports compiled by the milk monitoring association in Dringenburg. “These figures aren’t snapshots – they’re consistent,” stresses Michael Bünting. In his opinion, the high level of production is due both to the low cell count and a calving interval of only 394 days. “Our animals are fit, productive and healthy,” Jan-Gerd Helmers concludes. The vet usually only comes to the farm on routine visits.
No false economies
Lately, Krabbe and his colleagues have noticed that farmers are often opting not to add Crystalyx to their feeding regime, due to falling producer prices. This is not a step the Helmers would ever consider taking. “It would be a false economy.” Their experience has shown that leaving out the feed supplement causes more problems, especially in the animals’ behaviour after calving. “A tub of Crystalyx soon pays for itself when you compare it with the vet’s bills.” So the brightly coloured tubs will continue to be delivered to the North Pole address in order to guarantee further success in the future.
For more information about the products and how to use them, contact Gerald Krabbe, tel. +0049 172 2316560, firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael Bünting, tel. +0049 172 2695368, email@example.com or go to www.crystalyx.de.