Agridirect.ie discusses some of the best homegrown alternatives to feed concentrate for livestock during the housing season.
Transitioning from feed concentrate
When it comes to winter feed for cattle, most of us are content with the old reliable strategy: a combination of good quality silage plus a feed concentrate tailored to our animals’ age, size, or breed. However, with concentrate prices on the rise, more and more farmers are looking for cheaper, home-grown alternatives. Over the last year or two, I have spoken to several farmers who have either started to supplement feed concentrate with various root vegetables and beans, or have replaced it completely with a combination of these.
Agridirect 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”
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.
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”
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.
Agridirect discusses how in-person marts were an important social outlet for Irish farmers, and argues for their post-pandemic return.
A comic strip on page 2 of last week’s Irish Farmers Journal caught my eye. In the foreground of the scene, Taoiseach Micheál Martin engages Agriculture Minister Charlie MacConalogue in conversation.
An Taoiseach:Could we reopen the marts just for the over 80s, Charlie?
Minister MacConalogue:They’re all vaccinated Taoiseach, it could work!
Off to the right, in the background, elderly farmers queue up for what looks like a late bar or nightclub. But the sign above the door reads “MART”. Another sign, at the top of the queue, sets out the entry requirements: “Over 80s only”. A tuxedoed bouncer wearing dark glasses stands in the doorway, checking IDs, ready to turn away anyone not yet an octogenarian.
With 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.
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”
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”
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