An innovative team approach at the farm

The Poplarline Farm is a dairy farm located in Glenwood just outside of O’Leary, Prince Edward Island. Kim Boulter, his wife Beverley, their son Adam and his wife Rhonda manage a herd of 66 cows, registered with Holstein Canada since 1920.

They have a free stall barn with a double four herringbone parlor, electronic meters and feeding stations for concentrates. Forages are stored in three upright silos. The family grows alfalfa, corn and barley on 300 acres of land.

Kim is very proud to say that last year’s TPI was 98% according to the December 2010 report.

Michael Trowsdale, a Valacta Dairy Production Technician, has been collecting health data in this herd since 2007. The data revealed a high mortality rate in the herd. The reason for this, was that many transition cows had retained placenta, milk fever and clinical or sub-clinical ketosis. Michael met with Dr. Wade Sweet, a local veterinarian, to introduce him to the reports and to the Valacta services. After discussing with Dr. Sweet and with Kim, Michael suggested that Dr. Sweet be granted access to the producer’s reports. The sick cows were isolated from those in transition. Milk Urea Nitrogen Analysis (MUN) indicated the presence of a sub-clinical ketosis problem in the herd. NEFA and BHBA tests were conducted
on dry cows ten days prior to calving and ten days after calving in order to ascertain at what stage the transition cows were becoming ill.

The use of the Valacta Transition Cow Index and SSC reports was essential to monitor the results. Changes were made by Dr. Sweet and Kim in the management of the dry cows. They then kept a close eye on any suspect cows. “Valacta reports help us identify problematic cows and monitor the changes made to improve the health of the herd. They are essential tools in the proper management of the farm”, explains Dr. Wade Sweet.

Kim has attended every Valacta training course offered in the Atlantic region. He leaves the session with an increased knowledge on the subject at hand and tools that help him change at least one aspect of his management. After attending the SCC course, Kim decided to change from using hydrated lime in his cow stalls to gypsum. He finds that gypsum does not cover as many stalls per ton but is easier on the teat ends and udders of his cows. The Poplarline Farm describe themselves as a satisfied client that takes advantage of the Valacta expertise. Dr. Sweet adds that the data available in the reports generated by Valacta are an essential.

 

 

From left to right: Dr. Wade Sweet, Kim Boulter and technician Michael Trowsdale.