Inspire Cattle Solutions


UK Vet Conference logo

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!

If you have been trying to follow the trend in Evidence Based Medicine but don’t know where to start, Inspire Cattle Solutions’ Dairy Coach, Mike Steele has just published an article in this month’s UK Vet (Livestock) Journal to get you on the right track. Part 1 of 2 publications shows the reader how to search the vast online databases of research in the most efficient way to answer their Clinical Question. It then describes how to choose papers on their reliability and level of evidence and once all have been reviewed, the novice Evidence Adventurer can make an informed and guided conclusion based on a compilation of this knowledge.


This article is for all the busy practitioners out there that don’t have hours to spend painstakingly reviewing complicated scientific papers. The idea is to break this down into small pieces that can be shared with colleagues: perhaps one colleague can write a Knowledge Summary every few months, but if everyone in the practice contributed, a database of common questions could be compiled to support everyday decisions or Standard Operating Procedures.

Mike and Dog

Mike Steele is a veterinary consultant and helped design the course in Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine at Bristol University Veterinary School in the UK. He applies these techniques when gathering data on farm projects, to support the knowledge base before designing countermeasures to improvement schemes. The more we can understand of the background of our challenges, the better we can build programs to fix them.


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

Cow and new calf

It’s YOUNGSTOCK MONTH on InspireCows and we start at the very beginning. Birth in calves is the foundation of the future. Maximising the chances of a live mother and calf involves co-ordinating people, management, environment, equipment and attention to detail. Cleanliness, preparation and training is the key to success.

In this NEW video, you can learn the 3 stages of birth and watch as each is explained. Find out what you need to watch for, when you need to intervene and when to call for professional help.

Remember, if you like this video don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE and click on the Bell notification so you don’t miss the next installments of this Birth to Weaning series.

InspireCows YouTube Channel image

Dairy Profitability Video Series

black and white cows

NEW! 3, Brand new videos explaining dairy profitability are now available on InspireCows, the new YouTube Channel dedicated to Dairy Health. Discover the opportunities available to your dairy business and where more value can be made on dairy farms. Find out how to read your herd lactation curve to its best advantage and deep-dive into marginal milk profits.

Cute calves with tags

Understanding marginal milk can help you to identify where to make the best changes to bring your business into POSITIVE PERCENT GROWTH! Increasing the herd average lactation curve can drive much more profitable milk and bring you closer to that farm upgrade or new piece of machinery you dream of…

InspireCows also has videos on transition management, heat stress and a lot more to come VERY SOON. So don’t forget to Subscribe and click on the Bell icon so you don’t miss out on future tip and tricks.


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

Helping Micron BioSystems and Granda Zootecnici make better connections in Animal Health

A recent WIN for two companies looking for improved ways of providing excellent technical services together with great quality products. Micron BioSystems make and distribute quality silage inoculants and immune supporting neutraceuticals and Granda Zootecnici distribute animal health solutions and consulting services on farms. By connecting the technical knowledge of Micron’s products and working with the technical portfolio of Granda’s products, Inspire Cattle Solutions was able to improve both client relations and technical confidence in both companies.


Together, the Micron market access team and Inspire Cattle Solutions visited Granda’s offices in the beautiful Piedmont region of Italy, near Turin. By explaining the technical aspects of Micron’s products and fitting this with Granda’s excellent on-farm consulting services, the two companies were able to make better connections and build a healthier future for both business and their customers.

Advance Grass has Enzymes and Bacteria to help gain more energy from YOUR silage

A big thank you to the Micron and Granda Zootecnici Teams to make this union happen! Italian dairy farmers can expect access to better silage energy provision through ADVANCE inoculants in this year’s cut and future milk value.

What do you want to know about heat stress in dairy cows?

Fans and sprinklers cooling cows at 45degC in Pakistan. A Great Set-up!

It’s already May and the temperatures are rising in the Northern Hemisphere. In April, we have had 2 weeks over 28 degrees C and it’s guaranteed that hot weather is to come. Cows show heat stress from a Temperature Humidity Index of 65 (Bernabucci U.) and from there, milk volume, Dry Matter Intake and reproduction will ALL be affected. Do you know what priorities to apply on farms? When and where to place fans; what about sprinklers? What droplet size should you advise? What are the production and repro effects?

Inspire Cattle Solutions training 30 Young Vets in Belgium on Heat Stress for Elanco Animal Health

Fortunately, at Inspire Cattle Solutions, we are dedicated to helping cows to be comfortable whatever the weather! Follow our link by clicking on this text for a FREE webinar on Heat Stress in Dairy Cows. On this, we explain what the thresholds of heat are for cows, what effects heat has on them and why this occurs. We then go on to show the solutions that can be done in order of priority on most farms, inside and out.

Humans feel heat very differently to cows!

Bernabucci U., Biffani S., Buggiotti L., Vitali A., Lacetera N., Nardone A.,. 2014. “The effects of heat stress in Italian Holstein dairy cattleā€, .” Journal of Dairy Science 471-486.

Bernabucci U., Lacetera N., Baumgard L.H., Rhoads R.P., Ronchi B., Nardone A. 2010. “Metabolic and hormonal acclimation to heat stress in domesticated ruminants.” Animal 4 (7): 1167-1183. ff ff


Profits and the Dairy

How Profit is made on a Dairy

The basics seem pretty simple: Income minus expenses = net profit. However, with milk prices varying all the time, sometimes by large amounts, it is hard to keep this equation in positive balance! Maximising the Net Profit is an advisor’s main goal!

Income is made from milk SOLD. This is not the same as milk obtained from the parlour: some may be used by the producer and friends/family. Some may be in withhold from drug use and colostrum; so it is good to know what volume of MILK SHIPPED FROM THE FARM is. Other income may be from calf sales, beef sales, surplus feed and bedding etc.

Costs can be many! Most costs on a dairy are in feed. See if you can work this out on a kg Dry Matter basis or ask your nutritionist. It is important to note here that GRASS IS NOT FREE! You still have to maintain it, cut it, store it etc. Other costs are in labour, rent, energy, water etc. Know all of these and you can work out your Net Profit.

Maximising this is THE goal

Profit can be maximised by 3 ways:

Increasing Herd Numbers can maximise cost of production
  • Milk price can be influenced by milk quality (fat%, protein%, SCC)
  • Cost of production can be influenced by reducing disease losses, increasing herd numbers and increasing labour efficiency
  • Volume of milk can be influenced by reducing disease, increasing feed intake, improving reproduction and 3 X daily milking

Income Over Feed Costs

IOFC is a very popular way of working out how your feed costs work to produce one litre of milk. The principle of this lies in knowing the feed costs to maintain the cow (breathing, ruminating, movement, calf growth etc.). Every litre of milk produced on top of this requires a certain amount of kg of Dry Matter at your cost of feed for that time. Of course, the more litres of milk you get, the more “diluted” the maintenance cost becomes and the more efficient your IOFC is.


So IMPROVE YOUR PROFITS by choosing your advice wisely!

Managing People, Equipment, Procedures, Environment and Monitoring can all help to improve your Profits. Inspire Cattle Solutions are GREAT at this!


Where is the Evidence?

Bozic M., Newton J., Thraen C.S., Gould B.W.,. 2012. “Mean-reversion in income over feed cost margins: Evidence and implications for managing margin risk by US dairy producers.” Journal of Dairy Science 95: 7417-7428. doi:10.3168/jds.2012-5818.