June 2, 2016


Phileo global ruminant symposium sees 250 participants


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The first day proper of Phileo's ruminant symposium in Toulouse, France saw the participation of 250 international participants, with expert speakers focussing on dairy nutrition, health and management issues. 


Following a cocktail welcome reception held the night before, the day's activities was kick-started by a presentation “Setting the stage: rearing the calves effectively” by Dr. Alex Bach, research professor at the department of ruminant production, IRTA, Spain. He gave the audience many take-home messages relating to dairy nutrition, health and management. One of his more interesting recommendations was to top up dairy calf feed with chopped straw or high NDF (neutral detergent fibre) grass hay, to increase solid feed intake.

He was followed by Dr. Daryl Van Nydam, director of the Quality Milk Production Services Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Cornell University, US, who presented “Managing and monitoring catabolic armageddon in transition cows”. Among other recommendations, he gave a detailed breakdown on the steps to monitor for hyperketonaemia based on herd prevalence level and subsequent treatment with propylene glycol.

Dr. Ken Nordlund, emeritus clinical professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US, then spoke on “Five key factors for transition cow success”. The five factors he pointed out were: the provision of sufficient bunk space; minimising social stress during the prepartum period; the provision of soft bedded surfaces for standing and resting; the sizing of stalls and packs for large, mature cows; and, the implementation of a high quality programme for early identification of fresh cows that need medical attention. 


The day's discussions ended with a presentation “Innovative dairy cows management to improve resistance to metabolic and infectious diseases” by Dr. Pierre Lacasse, research scientist, Sherbrooke Research and Development Centre, Canada. Based on results from an ongoing commercial farm trial, his working hypothesis was to slow down the increase in milk production during the transition period to improve metabolic status and immune function without compromising lactation performance.


The day's activities concluded with a variety of social activities which participants could choose from, followed by dinner. 

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