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”

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”

The 4 Best Supplements for Breeding Cows

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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?”

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”

Grass tetany worries? Here’s some advice

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As the spring grass begins to grow, Agridirect reminds Irish farmers to watch out for grass tetany in lactating cows and ewes. 

A touch of spring

On the weather front, February has been a very mixed month. Last week, Ireland lay in the depths of winter. On some nights, temperatures dipped as low as minus 4. Many water systems froze up. Frost, thick ice and heavy snow offered little hope to farmers who are anxious to free up housing facilities, and get lambs and calves out on pasture. Continue reading “Grass tetany worries? Here’s some advice”

Vetinerary Corner: Do you know how vital Colostrum is?

blog colostrum

This week Vet Sarah Ryan continues her advice on calving by talking  through how vitally important colostrum is to the new born calf.

Colostrum

So hopefully at this point we have a healthy calf on the ground, delivered safely! The most important thing on the list now is of course colostrum. I will say it again: colostrum.
And once again for good measure colostrum! Continue reading “Vetinerary Corner: Do you know how vital Colostrum is?”

Veterinary Corner with Sarah Ryan- Calving Part 2

Vet corner blog 2 001Vet Sarah Ryan

I outlined a few things to keep in mind before calving in my last article. Its time to talk about the main event: Calving itself; and Importantly when to intervene, and when to call the Vet. Like I have mentioned calving facilities should be clean, well bedded, have lighting and above all, safe. The use of individual calving boxes is preferable where possible but well managed group pens are just as good.
We get asked a lot of questions about timing and where it varies from animal to animal. Of course, you yourself will have animals you know are slow to calf and others that like to get down to business. When it comes to calving, the one thing I always say is progression. If things are progressing normally and within reasonable time limits, then things will generally look after themselves. Continue reading “Veterinary Corner with Sarah Ryan- Calving Part 2”