Yes, we need more clover. Here’s why!

Agridirect.ie outlines the primary benefits of promoting white clover on our land.

A member of the bean family, white clover (trifolium repens) is native to Europe and Central Asia. Traditionally, it has thrived in the temperate oceanic climate of Britain and Ireland, providing excellent grazing for the ruminants of these islands. After World War II, however, market forces began to target the three-leaved plant. As petrochemical herbicides developed during the war era hit the shelves, the chemical industry started to depict white clover as an unsightly weed that its products could deal with. Predictably, the global clover population took a serious nosedive.

Continue reading “Yes, we need more clover. Here’s why!”

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”

Do you know your grass seed? We look at Teagasc’s improved Pasture Profit Index

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Agridirect discusses the benefits of grass reseeding and Teagasc’s improved Pasture Profit Index for seed varieties.

Well folks, it’s time to talk about grass seed. Now I can already anticipate loud scoffing from some small farmers, who think that reseeding is the luxury of the big dairy man.

But that’s no longer the case. Numerous studies have documented the benefits of reseeding for dairy and beef production. As previous authors of this blog have pointed out, intelligent reseeding can have enormous long-term economic benefits for farmers. In essence, improved sward quality helps to improve output and save costs.

That said, it is important to know what you want from your reseeding. You need to consider whether you are reseeding for silage production or for pasture, as this will have a bearing on what grass seed mix you decide to go with in the end. Continue reading “Do you know your grass seed? We look at Teagasc’s improved Pasture Profit Index”

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?”

The Environmental Cost of Brazilian Beef

Agridirect takes aim at the EU-Mercosur deal, which has sparked the opposition of farming groups and environmentalists alike.

The environmental cost of Brazilian beef

Right now, in Brazil, loggers are hacking away at the Amazon rainforest. The machines of industry rumble through the rainforest, felling trees and plants, displacing animals found nowhere else in the world, and condemning entire species to extinction. Humans are immediate victims, too. Among the displaced are the rainforest’s indigenous peoples, who suffer daily intimidation and the assassination of outspoken leaders. Continue reading “The Environmental Cost of Brazilian Beef”

What will wormer regulations mean for Irish farmers?

Wormer Regulation

Argidirect discusses the government’s plans to introduce animal wormer regulations, and asks what it will mean for Irish farmers!

Wormer regulation: what’s the story?

At this stage, it looks inevitable. Come next year, farmers will need a veterinary prescription to buy antiparasitic drugs. The Department of Agriculture has decided not to exempt fluke and worm doses from new EU regulations, which were adopted in 2019 and will come into effect on 28 January 2022. Continue reading “What will wormer regulations mean for Irish farmers?”

Keeping Milk Fever At Bay

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As calving season progresses, Agridirect offers some advice on how to prevent and treat milk fever in lactating cows. 

Looking for the home stretch:

We are on the threshold of April, and exhausted farmers stumble onwards, powered through the endless sleepless nights of calving season by adrenalin, caffeine, and pure love of the job. Perhaps the finish line is not yet in sight, but it will be after another bend or two in the road, another couple of hills. Like long-distance runners approaching the home straight, positive thinking can get us a long way. The key to negotiating the last steep inclines is to maintain rhythm, ignore the pain, and focus on the prize waiting at the end! Continue reading “Keeping Milk Fever At Bay”

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”

Agridirect Veterinary Corner – Sarah Ryan on Spring Calving

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Veterinary Corner

The Agridirect blog is delighted to launch our new collaboration with Veterinary practitioner Sarah Ryan, from DKD Veterinary Services, a mixed practice in Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Sarah is a second-generation vet, with her Father John Dixon setting up DKD Veterinary services in 1980.

Sarah graduated from UCD and joined her fathers’ practice in 2009. Since then she has been visiting farms in the locality, to help with everything from births to lost causes and everything in between. We are delighted to say she has agreed to become a regular contributor with us. Sarah will be offering advice on all aspects of animal health and husbandry, while also sharing her own practical experiences. Continue reading “Agridirect Veterinary Corner – Sarah Ryan on Spring Calving”

Calf Investment Scheme: Do you know what’s required to Avoid the Pitfalls?

Calf invstment scheme blog

The Department has announced the details of the new Calf Investment Scheme (CIS). On the surface it seems like a great opportunity for farmers to invest and expand. However, as usual there is a lot of technical jargon hiding the important information! It appears that the proclaimed 40% isn’t quite as it appears! Here at Agridirect we have taken the time to sift through the excess information and give you whats important. Hopefully it will help some get a better idea of what will be expected of them before signing up. Continue reading “Calf Investment Scheme: Do you know what’s required to Avoid the Pitfalls?”