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It's about more than just calcium...

October, 2018

It is a fact that humans crave the concept of convenience - proven through convenience stores, online shopping, fast food, crockpots, and dry shampoo. What is convenient isn’t always what we need, though. Take for example, online shopping. Yes, it is very convenient and believe me, I take full advantage of it; however, being able to hole up inside my house and never leave because I can get everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) delivered right to my doorstep is not in my best interest socially. And crockpots – genius! Except when used for evil…conveniently making cake, brownies and other unhealthy treats.


TechMix dairy blog 02This idea is not new in the agriculture industry and dairy farmers wouldn't mind an added convenience to their already hectic days. If there is a method to something or a product that can save them labor and provide quick response in cows, they want to hear about it. One of the most critical events in a typical dairy farmer’s day-to-day schedule is when a cow freshens. So, let’s talk a little about these wonderful fresh cows since they are so crucial. As we know, close up cows change pens before giving birth where they have new pen mates, start a new ration, and prepare for calving. Once a cow calves, they produce colostrum which is fed to the calf to give them the goodies needed to get off to a healthy start. The cow is then moved back to the milking herd pen and introduced to yet another new set of pen mates, another ration, and begins milking with her new peers. It is easy to assume that with the expectation to produce after calving, a cow would need to be supplemented calcium in order to manage hypocalcemia (low blood calcium). It is not new news that hypocalcemia, whether clinical or subclinical, is associated with a multitude of other complications, which is why farmers have been supplementing fresh cows with calcium for decades.


What we at TechMix have found and proven through research, is that a successful transition is about more than just calcium. When cows are due to freshen, their feed intake drops up to 25% in the 24-48 hours leading up to calving. This drop in feed intake sets a cow up for issues when heading in to lactation. One of those issues is negative energy balance which occurs when energy intake is less than energy used for milk production and maintenance. Encouraging feed intake immediately post-freshening is essential to minimize this negative energy balance. We feed cows more energetically dense diets to support milk production, but some cows can get upset stomachs when that happens. Live yeast is a key ingredient that helps condition the rumen and encourages feed intake and improves stomach health along with Niacin which improves liver function to stimulate appetite.


If I am doing my math correctly, we are already at THREE key ingredients that fresh cows need after calving. But that’s not all, is it? Nope. Fresh cows need even more. In order for the dietary calcium that we are supplementing to be used physiologically, a cow needs magnesium which metabolizes the calcium. Since a cow’s magnesium level is dependent on diet alone, a deficiency can easily occur when there is a natural drop in dry matter intake. On top of all of that, cows do not have the endocrine mechanism to store potassium in their blood stream and therefore rely on diet input, along with urine and fecal output, to regulate. Potassium is the primary electrolyte responsible for proper cellular fluid balance and a requirement for proper body function. In fact, the absence of adequate amounts of potassium affects smooth muscle contraction which can lead to issues related to retained placentas. Let’s sum this up, magnesium, potassium and other micro minerals cannot be produced by the cow’s body, therefore, they have to be ingested.

Effervescent bolus TechMix Vitall


That’s now FIVE key ingredients that all fresh cows need extra supplementation of post-calving in order to help avoid different metabolic disorders. Where is the convenience in that? I’ll tell you where – with TechMix. We have known for decades that it is critical to provide more absorbable nutrients to fresh dairy cows, which is why we created Fresh Cow YMCP over 30 years ago…and we have it available in the most convenient form, a bolus! YMCP Vitall® is the only bolus on the market that provides all of the necessary nutrients that fresh cows need: live yeast, magnesium, calcium, potassium, niacin and MORE. Fresh cows need more than just calcium and now we have the research that demonstrates that. Iowa State University conducted a study that showed when cows are supplemented with just calcium, they have lower dry matter intake and lower milk yield while cows supplemented with YMCP Vitall showed higher dry matter intake and higher milk yield (figures in right column show research).


Provide your cows with the nutrients they crave in a way that you crave…conveniently!!


Learn more about YMCP Vitall®

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Freshening (1)
Hydration (2)


TechMix Vitall Calcium chart 

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