Optimum herd health on your farm is paramount and it can be maximised through the efficient invention of the farmer.
As we are head into the 2018 calendar, we are hitting into a very busy time on spring-calving farms; a period whereby good management practices are crucial, but farmers can do the bulk of the workload prior to the peak calving season.
In this segment of Beef Round-up, we review animal nutrition and animal health, with a focus on preparing your cows for the season that lies ahead.
An outbreak of calf scour is one of the biggest threats that can take a hold of a herd, being the biggest killer of calves under one month of age.
It is worth considering the administration of a vaccine to the in-calf breeding females, which usually takes the format of one dose, between 3-12 weeks prior to the expected calving date. Consult with your vet to select the most suitable vaccination for the herd.
It is important to seek the advice and expertise of your veterinary practitioner when constructing a vaccination programme specifically tailored for your herd, particularly if your farm has a history of disease outbreaks. This will improve cow and calf health all-round.
Minerals supplements are vital for preventing deficiency diseases and there are many ways which these can be given to pre-calvers. Identify the most beneficial and effective method for your cows, identifying the cost and labour involved. With the administration of a bolus, you ensure that each breeding female receives an adequate share, which may not always be the case with other methods.
You may consider:
- Mineral licks/blocks/buckets.
- Dusting/Sprinkling onto silage.
- Bolus (approximately 10-12 weeks prior to calving down).
- Feeding through the water.
Fluke & worms
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.
It is crucial that you consult with the supplier to ensure that the product you are purchasing is suitable for in-calf cows.
Lameness can also cause issues when animals are housed indoors, with a knock-on effect on an animal’s performance including a loss in condition and a reduction in milk yield. The mantra that applies here is ‘Prevention is better than cure’, so we have summarised some preventative measures below:
- Routine foot care eg,. Paring inspection and footbath.
- Consider slat mats (better performance with increased weight gain, improved animal welfare conditions & environment for the animal)
Top 5 Tips for a healthy cow
- Vaccination Programme under vet supervision
- Ensure your cows get minerals.
- Dose for fluke and worms.
- Monitor hoof-care.
- Record all vaccinations administered.