In the third installment of the thatsfarming.com beef roundup, we give you all the information you need for a happy and healthy herd.
As many cows will now be entering the latter stages of pregnancy, it is not only the cow that must be kept healthy but her calf also.
If calf scour has been a problem in previous years it may be wise to consider administering a vaccine to the cow, usually one dose, from between 3-12 weeks before expected calving date which if it is a problem in previous years can help to reduce stress on both man and beast. Saying this doesn’t mean that any lapse in good calving management in regards to cleanliness can be allowed either.
If deciding to vaccinate against scour remember that the antibodies created by the cow can only be passed on in the cows milk so 2-3 litres of colostrum on the first couple of hours of life are essential for that so many other reasons.
A serious affliction on cows in general, either sucklers or dairy, is infectious abortion which if unchecked can wipe a full year’s production.
Having a proper vaccination programme in place as well as a high health status of the cows, will all help to combat this particularly serious health problem for cows.
The main causes of infectious abortion in Ireland are salmonella, leptospirosis, IBR and BVD, even though in recent years the Department of Agriculture and the marine (DAFM) have declared war on BVD and possibly to a large extent have eradicated it, but does it ever really go away for good??? Since the start of the scheme incidences of PI herds has gone from 9500 to 4500.
Having a proper vaccination programme, which if part of the knowledge transfer scheme, is formulated with an approved vet is something which will pay dividends for calving and all round cow and calf health.
Something which could be overlooked for in-calf cows is minerals.
However you like to administer minerals as most cows would not be consuming a large amount of meal at this stage, be it a bolus around 10 to 12 weeks prior to calving or having access to a lick.
Administering a bolus would guarantee no cow would be missing out on essential minerals as trying to leave a lick in the shed provides its own challenges at this time of year of year.
As usually the most mature animals on the farm, the cows have the most resistance to fluke and worms but it still doesn’t mean that you should not dose for them at this stage. One important point is to regularly change the dose for the cows so resistance is not built up.
NB Check with supplier that it is suitable for pregnant cows
On that cows are inside on slats lameness can be a problem on some farms and the consequences of lameness include a loss in condition, fall in milk yield and failure to come matching.
While prevention is always better than cure, a few simple ways to prevent the vast majority of lameness
-Routine foot care eg,. Paring inspection, footbath.
-Clean tidy yards.
-Consider slat mats (coincides with a better performance)
Top Tips for a healthy cow
- Vaccination Programme under vet supervision
- Vaccinate if a problem in other years.
- A bolus for minerals
- Fluke and worms. Change the dosing product regularly so as not to build up resistance to its effectiveness
- Good hoof care and early intervention if not.
- Record all vaccinations administered.
- Ensure that anything administered is suitable for pregnant cows.