10 years of TMS offers great insight into achieving better transition performance

  • Home
  • 10 years of TMS offers great insight into achieving better transition performance

When launching TMS, we never anticipated collecting over 3.3 million data points from 361,000 cows and creating an integral system in improving transition performance on UK dairy farms. Here we look at some of the key findings.

Undoubtedly, TMS has helped to shape better protocols around transition management since its launch in 2012. Users have been able to capitalise on real-time data, collected monthly, to monitor their performance and identify areas for improvement. It’s no surprise that the data shows how farms getting it right have gone on to better milk yields and cow fertility, so getting it wrong can be costly.

Here we’ve summarised some of the key take-home messages of use to the industry:

  • Lameness, body condition score (BCS) and rumen fill are the most important factors to focus on for optimal transition. However, the data shows 95% of cows and heifers do not meet the ideal targets in these areas!

  • Dry cows should have a BCS of between 3-3.5, with 3.25 being optimum.  Leaner dry cows with a BCS below 3 should be avoided. Overly fit cows with a BCS 3.5 or higher are at risk of milk fever, an LDA, a higher chance of a retained foetal membrane and ketosis.

  • A focus on cow comfort should extend to into the fresh period. Access to clean, comfy beds, good quality fresh food and clean water as well as minimal stress and good ventilation is crucial.

  • Overstocking dry and fresh pens can impact rumen fill, impacting both metabolic disease and yield.

The original TMS service will be moving to an online system this autumn – becoming TMS Pro. The system will be available for a small fee and offer many of the benefits the previous TMS service offered. We’re confident users will still benefit long into the future as the data can show users where making just minor changes during the transition period can help farms to achieve optimal results.

TMS user case study

Scottish dairy farmers, John and Stuart Harvey, have been using TMS with their 300-head herd since 2017. John highly recommends the service and will continue to use the new TMS Pro.

TMS has been pivotal in providing the Harvey’s with accurate data of their herd’s transition management status. Since using TMS, their focus and awareness of the cow’s body condition and the drying off period has increased.

John Harvey has reported that since signing up to the programme they have noticed transition improvements year on year, including an increase in milk yield.

As he says, “If you don’t gather data, you can’t improve.”

TMS award winner 2019 - John HarveyOverall Best TMS Performance 2019 award winner John Harvey (centre) with (L-R), Louise Minchin (awards host), Holly Dyer & Dr Donald Lawson (feed advisers), Sir Ranulph Fiennes (VIP speaker) & Dr Andrew Pine (Premier Nutrition).