Inspire Cattle Solutions
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The UKVet – Livestock group are launching an innovative and FREE, ONLINE conference for farmer and vets. The programme is relevant to the times and hosts interesting and informative speakers from the industry. The impact of COVID-19 to both producers and vets will be discussed, with another focus on how to improve the sustainability image of the dairy industry. You can REGISTER by clicking on the picture above, or following this link:

There will be two days of talks to choose from, with emphasis on farming on DAY ONE (Wednesday 21st October from 12:00-16:50), with Dairy, Sheep and Pig talks and a veterinary programme on DAY TWO (Thursday 22nd October from 13:00-15:50).


  • COVID 19 and the future of vet/farmer collaboration (Boehringer Ingelheim)
  • Responsible Use of Medicines and Recording (Prof. David Barrett)
  • Vet/Farmer Collaboration, An Open Discussion (Fiona MacGillivray and Owen Atkinson)
  • Diversity in Practice (Navaratnam Partheeban)
  • Mental Wellbeing (Caroline Crowe)
  • Sustainability and Health (Dr. Jude Capper)
  • Integrated approaches to worm control (Sioned Timothy)
  • Don’t leave milk production to chance: ground-breaking new information on the impact of BVD (Ellen Schmitt)
  • The role of vets and farmers in controlling TB (James Russell)
  • Modernising BRD (MSD animal health)
  • Calf Scour Management
  • PRRS – The most costly disease of pig production (Dr. Laura Hancox)
  • Promoting health rather than treating disease (John Carr, Mark Howells)
  • Vet/Farmer Engagement (Fiona Lovatt)
  • Stay Alert, Control Abortion, Save Lambs! (JP Crilly)


  • Improving the outcome when advising on treatment of clinical mastitis in dairy herds (James Breen, Kath Aplin)
  • Youngstock Diseases – an immunological perspective (Ellen Button)
  • BRD (Dr Tim Potter)

Sign up today!

InspireCows has launched a NEW VIDEO explaining where milk fats come from and how to deal with Milk Fat Depression. Milk components are a major source of income on dairy farms around the world and when the amount of fat in milk decreases, so does the dairy’s income. To manage this, it is important to understand what milk fats are, how they are made and how to manage diets to maximise the potential of milk fat quantity and quality.

“You are what you eat”

Milk components are highly influenced by diet ingredients and composition. The main parts of a dairy cow’s diet are forage and concentrates (maize, grains and other feed ingredients). Forage is a great source of Triglycerides and the maize/concentrates can be a high source of Glycolipids.


Bugs in the rumen find it hard to break these down at first, as these molecules often are UNSATURATED (have double carbon bonds). These can be quite toxic to some rumen microbes. So they add Hydrogen atoms to the unsaturated bonds, thus saturating them (in a process called Biohydrogenation).

Cis and trans bonds

This process takes TIME, as the microbes add one Hydrogen atom at a time in a stepwise fashion. Fat molecules are in long chains (2 to up to >24 carbon atoms described as C18 – 18 carbon atoms and :3 which would be 3 unsaturated bonds) so the bugs tend to add atoms in patterns such as: C18:3 then C18:2 then C18:1 etc.

The importance of C18:1 trans10

One of the most POTENT inhibitors of milk fat is a lipid of 18 carbons long, with one unsaturated, trans bond at position 10 (C18:1 trans10). Even tiny amounts of this in the rumen can depress milk fat by over 20%. So managing milk fat depression is often about allowing sufficient TIME and the right POPULATIONS of bugs in the rumen to fully hydrogenate this milk fat to C18:0.

Managing Milk Fat Depression

Fibre in a dairy cow’s diet is extremely important for microbe health as well as decreasing food throughput times. So making sure that there is enough physically effective fibre in the feed is crucial to manage milk fats and decrease the risk of build-up of C18:1 trans10. Making SURE that you are using shaker boxes such as a 4-stage Penn State Sieve on feed-out and refusals will give a really good idea of how much chance cows have to SORT the food and how much fibre is getting into the rumen.

Watch this video on Milk Fats and Milk Fat Depression on INSPIRECOWS and remember to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE and SHARE if you found it useful

InspireCows YouTube Channel image

INSPIRECOWS! NEW YouTube Channel for Dairy Health is Launched!

InspireCows YouTube Channel image

Today sees the launch of our new channel, INSPIRECOWS. Here, we will showcase great farms around the world, new products and innovation, research and news. We will interview firms and universities for the latest information and provide learning resources about key aspects of dairy health.

Learn more skills

INSPIRECOWS will feature “How to…” videos on common procedures on farm such as how to use a Penn State Sieve, how to check your parlour routine etc. as well as special learning sessions covering the lifetime of a Dairy Cow. We will strive to keep all of this information purely evidence-based and steer you to the relevant sources of knowledge.

What’s on now?

There will be regular uploads, so remember to click on the bell notification to ensure you don’t miss out on the latest video!

We begin the launch with knowledge-based articles on:

  • Heat Stress,
  • Ketosis,
  • Immunity and the Calf,
  • Milk fats and where they come from
  • Feed efficiency and monensin

Look out soon for farm-based features and more videos on the lifetime of a cow.

(Note that during COVID security regulations, we are restricted from entering farms, so until we are more free, we will concentrate on more knowledge-based material)


Cows on a mountain

If you have a new product, sustainable policy or research that you wish to showcase on the channel, don’t hesitate to contact us to let everyone know! We are very keen to feature the latest ideas and innovation and can show your new idea straight to the homes, tablets and mobiles of your targeted customers!

What if the industry had a new voice, that could be watched by all around the world?

What if great dairy producers had a platform to show the best of their farms?

What if there was a Global place for farmers, researchers and innovators to connect?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have one stage, where everyone in Dairy could reach and learn from each other, as well as share their experiences and new products that celebrate dairy health?


A new review by Inspire Cattle Solutions finds that the evidence supports the optimum range to target Age at First Calving (AFC) is 22-25 months:

  • Below this can reduce yields up to 800kgs in the first lactation
  • Above this can reduce yields up to 600kg in the first lactation
  • AFC greater than 25 months can reduce survival to second lactation
  • AFC of 22-24 months supports better first service conception rates

What does this mean in terms of value to dairy farmers?

Aiming for target weights and carefully monitoring growth during heifer rearing pays off sooner than you think: When Lactation 1 cows get to day 150-180 in milk, they can OVERTAKE the older cows in yield (this is called first lactation persistency). Therefore, they can bring the AVERAGE herd yield above your TMR target and create more profitable milk. Plus, cows, that dry off at higher yields tend to give higher yields in the next lactation (as long as transition is managed well).

So, when you next walk through the barn, look at each stall slot and ask whether or not it could be occupied by a more profitable cow. Reaching AFC targets can ensure you have replacements to be able to make this choice!

REFERENCED ARTICLE: Steele, (2020), “Age at First Calving in Dairy Cows: Which months do you aim for to maximise productivity?” Veterinary Evidence, 5 (1), Open Access

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Some dairies like to fill their farms with female dairy heifers to cope with “what if?” scenarios. Disease challenges and reproductive disasters happen, right? Other businesses find it hard to fill empty spaces and struggle to find the replacements, so it’s hard to get that Sweet Spot for greatest potential and lowest rearing losses.

A new model has been developed which helps producers ask themselves when to keep heifers and when to decide for them not to enter the milking herd. Whether or not to use sexed semen, conventional or beef (for the lower genetic performers) is up to the individual management system and farm environment but careful decisions on what to do when serving heifers are clearly essential for maximising profitability.

Mike Overton and Kevin Dhyvetter write in the Journal of Dairy Science, of a system based on modelling data from 50 US Holstein dairy herds. They looked at factors to include when considering heifer rearing costs (below)

Then they looked at potential losses if the decisions to keep or sell/cull were not ideal. Costs ranged between US$1,700 and US$2,400.

Profitability appeared to be influenced mainly by rate of weight gain in youngstock and genetic potential, raising yields and resilience to disease.

Check the paper out in the Journal of Dairy Science 2020

Sign up Today for our Webinar on Heat Stress in Cows

Only 3 Days until our LIVE session on Heat Stress. This webinar will be given by Mike Steele MRCVS, our consultant with Global experience in cow cooling.
air atmosphere blue blue skyMore comfortable cows are more productive and more efficient, utilizing more food for milk production and therefore wasting less energy and CO2. Find out how to spot heat stress, what it does to dairy businesses and what to do to show more value to your advice.

Never mind if you’re too busy or not available at the time: a recording will be available to download after the showing in our Library.

Turning sprinklers on for longer (and off for shorter periods) has better cooling effects

A brand new research paper has shown that when the sprinklers are turned on for longer periods in the same overall time, cows’ body temperatures and air temperatures are lowered more than frequent, shorter sprinkler periods. Water use went up from 59L/min to 99L/min (19L vs 34L/cow/hour) but this paid off with more comfortable cooling effects in the cow. Follow this reference link for Tresoldi et al, 2018 Journal of Dairy Science from UC Davis, California. – opens in a new window

In this experiment, 2 groups of 10 cows were PAK milk shed good fansexposed to either frequent, short bursts of sprinkler activity (1.5 mins “on” every 3, 6 and 12 minutes)  or longer bursts: 3 minutes “on” every 3, 6 or 12 minutes for 45 minutes duration. Body temperature, Respiration rate, Air temperature, Temperature Humidity Index and the temperature on the surface of the shoulder and leg of the cows were measured.

The key point to take away from the results was that BOTH strategies were effective at cooling down cows to comfortable limits, with no differences found in THI, air temperature or shoulder surface temperature. However, using the higher water volume for longer did show lower body temperatures by 0.5ºC and lower temperatures at the leg of the cows.

This is a useful research paper in terms of cow physiology but future research should include performance indicators such as energy-corrected milk volume per day, conducted over longer periods of time. Only then could producers make the decision as to when it would be of better value to use more water.

Exciting beginnings

Here’s the start of our new business: Inspire CattLogo Size real 512sqle Solutions! I’m super-excited to offer our services: We have loads of experience in cows and youngstock in management systems all over the world. Our passion is to optimise efficiency in your business through improving the welfare of cattle.




At the HEART of this, I am a Vet that believes in Evidence, so all of our advicartistic blossom bright cloudse has foundations in published, peer-reviewed scientific literature. This maximises the likelihood of our advice bringing the best value to your enterprise.



Endometritis is linked to Low Energy

Inspire Cattle Solutions has noticed a new publication by Valdmann and others in the Vet Record last week. Cows with low IGF-1 levels 2 weeks before to one week after calving are 3.5-4.4 times MORE LIKELY to develop endometritis than those within normal limits.

Cows with endometritis in this study had an average time to conception of 197 days compared with 97 days for healthy cows! See this picture below:

Valdmann Vet Rec Preg KM

Making sure that cows get adequate energy levels close to calving is essential for their well-being. Insulin-like growth factor one is a blood metabolic indicator  of the energy balance around this time. Less than 74ng/ml was taken as a threshold below which was classed as negative energy balance. In this paper, Valdmann also shows that cows with a body condition score of 2.75 or below are 6.8 times MORE LIKELY to develop endometritis (they defined this by taking uterine cytobrush samples at >40 days post partum and seeing >8% of cells as neutrophils).

A great editorial by Martin Sheldon explains the article really well, so congratulations to this research group!

Valdmann M, Kurykin J, Kaart T, et al. Relationships between plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 and insulin concentrations in multiparous dairy cows with cytological endometritis. Veterinary Record 2018;doi:10.1136/vr.104640