Worming Ewes at Lambing

Worming Ewes at Lambing

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Why?
During late pregnancy a ewe’s immune system becomes weakened, therefore the worm burden that is usually kept subdued can flourish and an increased number of worm eggs can be released onto the pasture. This is referred to as ‘peri-parturient rise’ or spring rise. This increased contamination can threaten the lambs grazed on this pasture throughout the season. Multiple factors can affect when the spring rise will occur, including; lambing date, age of ewes, litter size, nutrition, and condition. Nutrition
in the lead up to lambing can be particularly important as protein is essential for the immune system. Faecal egg counts (FECs) are the best way to identify when the spring rise will occur.

The restrictions?
The majority of a farm’s worm population are found inside the ewes at lambing time, this means that worming at this point is at risk of selecting for resistance. As only resistant worms will survive, only resistant worm eggs will contaminate the pasture.

The solution?
To avoid selecting for resistance:

  • Do not treat all your ewes.
  • Select if possible 10% of each group to leave untreated, these ewes should be under the least pressure i.e. older ewes and have a good body condition score.
  • Do not use the same anthelmintic group year on year
  • Avoid using long acting wormers (Moxidectin) if turning to low risk fields and late in the spring rise (e.g. post lambing / turnout)
  • Timing— use FEC to help determine when or if needed.

When to use your FECPAKG2 system?

  • Start testing either at housing or 3/4 weeks pre lambing (e.g. with clostridial vaccination)
  • If FEC count is low, test again at lambing (FECs can increase even if they housed). Decide if turnout dose needed.
  • Test all groups/mobs separately; ewes with multiples / thinner / younger ewes are at more risk of an increased worm burden.
  • The ewe’s full immunity to worms should return 8 to 10 weeks post lambing. Continue to monitor your ewes up to this point and treat if necessary. Don’t forget to start FECs for your lambs!
  • Avoid treating more than once during the spring rise if possible.
  • Getting the timing right is more difficult for outdoor lambing flocks.
  • Some clients have found only about 40% of ewes needed worming at all and the timing has changed significantly!

Regular FECs helps to control worms!!

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Fluke

Liver Fluke- know the facts!

Liver FlukeLiver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, is a highly pathogenic parasite which causes severe liver damage, especially in sheep, and can result in the sudden death of previously healthy animals. Millions of pounds are lost every year by livestock producers due to liver fluke with the cost of disease per affected animal noted as £6 per lamb and £90 per calf.1

Fluke life cycle
All three stages of liver fluke damage the liver and can cause clinical disease and production losses. The lifecycle of the fluke has a portion outside of the animal and involves a mud snail which thrives in wetter areas.

It is therefore unsurprising after the prolonged above average weather experienced this summer that current guidance from the NADIS August parasite forecast predicts moderate risk in the north and west of Scotland, and low risk in all other regions. However, this doesn’t mean that there will be no, or limited, fl uke across the country in autumn, so it is important to still remain vigilant.

Consider local factors

Control programmes should always take into account the farm history, topography, geographical location and the prevailing weather. Even in years where disease challenge may be lower than normal, vigilance is still important, and special consideration should be placed on fixing any leaky water troughs, fencing off wet or boggy areas in fields and maintaining effective drainage to reduce snail habitats.

For more information please contact your Wynnstay Animal Health
The four elements of sustainable liver fluke control are:
1. Pasture protection – to prevent liver fluke eggs reaching the pasture when snails are active
2. Pasture management – to reduce snail habitats and therefore reduce snail numbers
3. Grazing management – to avoid grazing high risk pastures with susceptible animals at high risk times of year
4. Strategic treatments for at risk animals – controlling the right stage of liver fluke, at the right time, using the right product.

 

For more information please contact your Wynnstay Animal Health Specialist or SQP in-store.

Extending Depleted Forage Stocks

It’s been a difficult season to say the least! The drought of 2018 has had a drastic effect on forage stocks  which have been reserved for winter feeding with Dry Matter (DM) yields of grass on farm estimated to be down up to 50% compared to 2017.

This, coupled with the wet and cold spring, when last year’s forage stocks were depleted, many farmers have fed a quantity of their winter forage as a buff er over the summer. Forage stocks are going to be tight this winter, therefore, a strategy needs to be set in place early to manage them.

How much forage do you have?

EXTENDING DEPLETED FORAGE STOCKSIf you haven’t done so already, you need to evaluate the forage you already have stored. Although later cuts of silage haven’t come into the clamp yet or the maize silage harvest, it is essential to act quickly and estimate stocks which haven’t been harvested yet and adjust calculation after harvest. Be reserved on estimated maize silage harvest as crops are very variable and thinner than usual. A study by Cornell University in 2016 showed that maize silage grown under drought conditions has a lower lignin and uNDF content meaning the plant is far more digestible, we need to take this into account whilst rationing.

Calculating forage stocks on a DM basis and evaluating requirements of forage DM from now until the spring to include the milking herd along with any other stock on the farm including dairy young stock and beef animals. Working on estimated DM intakes for the winter we will be able to have an estimated requirement for forage to give us an idea of the shortfall and be able to sway management decisions early.

There is no room for passengers this year, although the price of cull cows has dropped, these cows are eating valuable forage and should be culled early. Culling any poor performing, lame and high SCC cows is critical to do now. Reducing stocking rates can increase overall feed efficiency, due to a greater rumen balance and less slug and aggressive feeding. Any excess dairy youngstock or beef animals on farm, should be considered for the sale depending on how your forage stocks are looking.

It is going to be important to target your best forage to the cows that need it this winter, so grouping cows based on performance could be an option. However, we need to ensure that we do not loose condition on late lactation cows and do not underfeed the cows through the dry period, or milk yield will be depressed going into the next lactation.

Clamp management will be more important this year as we cannot afford waste, keeping a clean level surface on the face of the pit is important to minimise wastage and spoilage. Although tempting, any spoilage on the shoulders and top of the clamp should not go into the mixer wagon and should still be discarded.

Purchasing forage may be an option to extend forage stocks but, with stocks low and prices rising, what could be the alternatives to feed to extend forages? Everything needs to be costed out on a DM basis with the quality of the raw material taken in to account. Moist feeds are in short supply with loads being unreliable.

High fibre/ forage extender dry blends are an option, premixing with water the night before feed out at a rate of 1:1, will give you a 45% DM moist feed which can bulk up the diet but also add moisture to many dry forages being fed this winter.

The cows’ health and rumen function is critical, running low forage diets can put the cows at risk and unbalance the rumen. Working to figures such as 21% NDF for forage and 0.25%
bodyweight of uNDF is critical to ensure rumen health. New NDF analytics coming from Cornell University can be essential to understanding out forage and fibre this winter.

Adding hay or straw to diets can be a great option to add fibre to diets, although prices can be expensive. NIS (nutritionally improved straw) can be a great tool in increasing uNDF and slow pool NDF without affecting intakes and performance.

Due to a possible early maize silage harvest, thinking of sowing westerwolds, italian ryegrass or forage rye after the maize and harvest in late April/early May could be an option for forage in
late spring or as a buffer next summer when rebuilding forage stocks will be a clear focus.

Any management decision or purchase needs to be calculated with the return on investment in mind. It is going to be an expensive winter with higher feeding rates likely in line with higher raw material prices. Purchased feed costs, including forage, per litre will need to be monitored, this could be 2-4 ppl higher this winter due to higher raw material costs, higher feed rates and purchasing forage. Rising milk prices will help cover this cost, but depending on your own personal situation, looking to reduce stocking rates further and culling more cows may be a financially better option if there is no forage available.

Please contact a member of the Dairy Technical Team to assist you in your forage management this winter. Click here to find your local specialist.

Eradicating BVD in Welsh Herds

Support from the Welsh government to eradicate BVD in Welsh herds

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) continues to negatively impact herd performance and productivity across many Welsh farms and is estimated to cost beef farmers £45 per cow per year. Support is now available by the Welsh Government to reduce the financial burden of BVD as they launched a new scheme on the 1st of September 2017 that will run for three years. Free blood sampling will now be available for youngstock during routine TB tests in order to identify infected herds with additional financial support of up to £500 available for herds found to be infected.

Wynnstay Reviva 80/20

Restoring calcium and energy balance post calving

With the autumn/winter calving season upon us, it is important to consider ways to keep cows healthy at this crucial time. There are many challenges during the transition period but the biggest challenges can be the result of the metabolic changes that occur around calving and as the cow transitions into lactation. The main challenges are; trying to maintain hydration when water intake is reduced; mobilising calcium for colostrum and milk production; maintaining energy intake when dry matter intake is reduced.

Simmental Cow Looking

Managing parasites for productivity during housing

Housing provides an opportunity to address the range of parasites picked up over the grazing season, to maximise cattle health and productivity over the winter.

The questions of which flukicide to use and when to treat can be challenging, complicated further by the increasing concerns over triclabendazole resistance. Understanding the properties of available flukicides is key to making informed treatment decisions.

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