Mineral deficiency in ewes and how to avoid it

Agridirect.ie discusses sheep fertility and the importance of mineral supplementation against deficiency in the weeks before tupping season.

The science of fertility

Tupping season is only a few weeks away now. As I touched on in last week’s blog, late August and September is the time to focus on getting the breeding flock in tiptop shape before putting in the ram. Most sheep farmers will agree that this is an exact science.

While there are many factors that might negatively impact overall flock fertility at this crucial time of the year, mineral deficiencies will always be a key concern for sheep farmers. Obviously, ensuring that your ewes have access to good grazing as we move into September will be a crucial part of safeguarding against the various deficiencies that contribute to infertility. A malnourished ewe will always be deficient in key vitamins and minerals, so remember to get that body condition score up to a healthy 3 or 3.5 before putting her to the ram!

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Clostridial vaccination: have your lambs had their jabs yet?

Lamb Vaccination 001As summer gets underway, Agridirect offers farmers some advice on the prevention of clostridial diseases in sheep, and provides some information about the best vaccines available on the market. 

Here comes the sun!

Well folks, it seems fair to say that summer has arrived, and not before we had need of it. Last weekend saw highs of 21 or 22 degrees in some parts of the country. In northern and western counties, where growth has been abysmal until now, grass is finally on the move. As we move into June, we can almost smell the first cut of grass! Continue reading “Clostridial vaccination: have your lambs had their jabs yet?”

Gastrointestinal worms: how to manage them this summer

Worm treatments for cattleAgridirect offers some advice to farmers on treating gastrointestinal worms this summer.

Peak season on the horizon

As we head towards summer and temperatures begin to rise, farmers will be concerned about the risk of gastrointestinal worms. July is usually considered to be peak season for worms, but with June on the horizon it is not too early to keep an eye out for the first symptoms in your herd. While we generally hold the stomach worm to be an irritant for adult cattle, a bad case can be very dangerous for calves. Weanlings are particularly susceptible to the parasite, which lowers their overall health, and reduces their ability to resist other diseases. Continue reading “Gastrointestinal worms: how to manage them this summer”

Mineral deficiency in calves – know the right bolus

Calf weaning 001Agridirect offers some advice on the best mineral boluses for calves at weaning time.

Weaning calves – what’s all the doom and gloom about?

Some calves start to fail the moment they come off mother’s milk. You put them out on pasture and you notice the change almost immediately. Sometimes weight loss comes with the onset of infectious diseases that set the animal back even further. All too often, calves don’t make it past this stage at all.

We’ve all had to deal with the unexpected loss of weanling calves, time and time again.

And although it is hard not to despair of weak weanlings that seem prone to just about every ailment imaginable, we should also recognize that disastrous outcomes have preventable causes. The sudden removal of milk from a calf’s diet places enormous stress on its young body. Unless grass quality is of an extremely high quality, chances are that your weanlings are deficient in some crucial minerals. Insufficient copper in a calf’s diet, for example, is one of the leading causes of ill-thrift in calves on Irish farms. A lack of cobalt, on the other hand, can lead to a loss of appetite and a range of health complications. Continue reading “Mineral deficiency in calves – know the right bolus”

The 4 Best Supplements for Breeding Cows

Breeding Season 001

As breeding season approaches, Agridirect offers farmers some advice on the best vitamin and mineral supplements for breeding cows.

Calving season is over: out of the frying pan…

Well, calving season is – hopefully – at an end for most of us. Perhaps we can risk a breather, but only a short one. Days of peace, quiet and leisure time do not feature in the farmer’s calendar. With this year’s calves up and running on spring grass, our attention turns, inevitably, to the breeding season.

A cow’s gestation period is around 247 days, so that leaves a very small window of time before cows go to the bull. Farmers who had calves in February will put the bull in shortly. Continue reading “The 4 Best Supplements for Breeding Cows”

Digital dermatitis – do you know your treatments?

Digital Dermatitis 001Hello farmers! This week at the Agridirect Animal Medicines Corner, our thoughts turn to digital dermatitis. We ask what it is, how it spreads and how to recognize it. We will also make some suggestions on the best ways to treat it!

What is digital dermatitis?

Digital dermatitis (DD) is a bacterial disease of the hoof first discovered in 1974. Highly infectious and hard to cure, it causes lameness in cattle and is a scourge for dairy farmers in particular. It is always distressing to see an animal in pain, and when DD starts to spread through the herd, farmers often despair of getting rid of it. Continue reading “Digital dermatitis – do you know your treatments?”

Hypothermia in lambs: causes, cures and prevention

HypothermiaInLambs001

This lambing season, Agridirect discusses the causes of hypothermia in lambs, and looks at preventions and cures.

It’s all lambs, lambs, lambs

In parts of the country this week, you won’t pass a mile of road without seeing fields of lambs. Newborns still wobbly on their legs; stronger ones risking their first playful skips; and some older lambs that were born in a shed in the depths of winter, now grazing with the wisdom of maturity.

Although this site is enough to make us pine for warmer days, the weather seems reluctant to acknowledge the arrival of spring. Wind still sweeps in from the Atlantic, bringing with it clouds heavy with rain. Last week, this fell as snow in parts of the country, especially on high ground. Continue reading “Hypothermia in lambs: causes, cures and prevention”

Cryptosporidium and scour

Calf Scour 001With calving season underway, Agridirect offers some advice on how to prevent cryptosporidium scour in weanling calves

Calving season: exhaustion, joy, and the fear of loss

Calving season is upon us. In fact, we are right in the middle of it. So if you see any farmers walking around with bags under their eyes, or dozing off mid-conversation, don’t worry. It’s an annual occurrence. They’ll be fine again by late April or May.

Continue reading “Cryptosporidium and scour”