Patrick and Sean Kelly

Patrick and Sean Kelly milk 120 cows just outside Nenagh, Co Tipperary. The Kellys’ herd performs to a very high level, with 580kg of milk solids from 7,300kg of production.

Calving starts on 15 January and 92% of the herd will be calved within six weeks. With an average EBI of €192, the herd is in the top 1% in the country for both EBI and fertility and has supplied genomically tested bulls to the several Irish AI breeding programmes.

Sean states: “When it comes to animal health, being proactive is the cheapest way. We’ve worked closely with our vet Eamon O’Connell of Summerhill Vets in Nenagh on integrating proactive protocols for reducing milk fever, Johne’s and incorporating selective dry cow therapy.

“If you’re lifting, you’re losing. Milk fever is just a nightmare, it just costs so much in terms of lost performance, vet bills and, worst of all, time. It hits at the busiest time of the year, so it’s just one problem we don’t want to have to deal with.”

Sean continues: “We’ve tried everything when it comes to trying to prevent milk fever. We’ve been using calcium boluses for the past fi ve or six years and found that while they were a step forward, we were still seeing cases of cows going down.

“Early last season we had three older cows that got calcium boluses go down on us and I asked Eamon if there was something better out there. He suggested we try using the Irishmade Cow Start bolus.”

Eamon explained that calcium status is not the only challenge that cows face at calving. Immune status and energy status are also big challenges for cows. Cow Start was designed not only to support calcium status but also to boost immune status and energy status in early lactation, Cow Start is the next generation in fresh cow supplementation.

With its superior specification, Cow Start delivers 50% more calcium than any other fresh cow bolus supplement. Uniquely, Cow Start also supplies magnesium to help get the cow to mobilise her own calcium faster and also supplies rumen-protected Selenium and Vitamin E to help uterine recovery.

Irish research proves that Cow Start is the only fresh cow supplement on the market that tackles the three key fresh cow challenges of calcium, immunity and energy status and which delivers higher milk volume and component production levels across the lactation.

Sean concludes: “Since starting with the Cow Start bolus we haven’t had any cows go down and they certainly seem to be getting off to a better start in lactation with fewer issues. If it takes the hassle out of calving and sets the herd up for a better lactation, I’m all for it.”



Owen Galvin with his children Fionn and Eoghan on farm in Finuge, Co Kerry.

Owen and Conor Galvin

Owen and Conor Galvin milk 450 cows with their father Gerry just outside the village of Finuge, Co Kerry. Herd performance is exemplary, with annual production of 7,200kg of milk delivering 600kg of milk solids per cow, combined with excellent herd reproductive performance with 82% of the herd calving within six weeks and an empty rate of 6.0% to 6.5%.

Owen explains: “Over the years we’ve put a lot of time and focus with our vet and nutritionist into improving cow performance at calving and reducing levels of clinical milk fever and the more effort we put in, the better our results have been.

“Whilst we felt we had made great strides in terms of tackling clinical milk fever cases, we felt that we still could have been getting the cows off to a better start in lactation.

“It was during a discussion last year with our nutritionist Seamus Callanan that he introduced us to Cow Start. Seamus explained that Cow Start offers the freshly calved cow a much broader range of benefts compared to a standard calcium bolus.

“He said that whilst calcium status is a key issue at calving, immune status and energy status are also key challenges for cows. Cow Start has been uniquely formulated and proven to boost calcium, immune and energy status in early lactation, whereas most calcium supplements only support calcium status. Essentially, Cow Start is the next generation in fresh cow supplements.” Cow Start is the only fresh cow supplement to have been published research on Irish spring-calving herds and the research results shows that cows supplemented with Cow Start get off to a better start in lactation with better calcium status, fewer retained placentas and uterine infections, better body condition score and energy status over the first three months of lactation.


As a result of this better start to lactation, an increase in milk production of 1.3kg/day across the lactation has been recorded when compared to cows given no supplementation at calving or cows given a calcium-only bolus supplement.

Owen continues: “From what I can see after using Cow Start this past spring, I think the performance of the cows matches what the research results are showing.

“The cows really have gotten off to a better start to lactation, they have come to their milk quicker and produced more over the whole lactation but not only that, they have as a group held much better condition and as a group were much more consistent in their body condition throughout the fi rst three months of lactation.”