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.
With warm weather approaching, the risk of heat stress in calves increases. Everyone is well aware that heat stress in adult cattle reduces performance, increases stress and results in increased incidence of disease, and calves are no different. Calves have an upper critical limit of 25°C, however they will start to feel the effects of heat stress at 21°C.
Calf weaning is always a topic of much discussion and debate; it is difficult to filter through advice and figure out what is best for your farm. I have sat around many farm kitchen tables and had the same discussion. As a calf specialist, I would always recommend weaning later, and using a step down weaning method but don’t just take my word for it, let’s have a look at some of the research.
My approach to weaning calves is exactly like getting the biting point in a car – take your foot off the clutch too soon and you will stall. If calves are weaned too young or abruptly, it can have significant effect on their growth.
Introducing Prime Beef
This year has seen the launch of our milk powder that has been specifically designed and formulated for beef calves – Prime Beef.
Prime Beef is a high quality whey based powder, a high 22% protein content promoting good growth rates, and a lower 17% oil rate to drive early concentrate intake.
Calf pneumonia costs the UK cattle industry millions every year and is of huge financial significance. These losses arise from the cost of treatment, reduced weight gain, increased labour and most significantly from calf deaths. Calf pneumonia is one of the most common causes of illness and poor performance in housed calves from one to five months old.
This article will outline the key factors that influence the profitability of suckler beef systems in Ireland. It has been adapted from a reproduced report courtesy of Teagasc.
All too often young calves are housed somewhere that is just either convenient for feeding, or unsuitable for larger cattle rather than in a facility designed for their specific needs. In this blog we will discuss the particular needs of young calves and highlight the importance of hygiene on a milk-fed system.
Many Dairy and Beef producers may ask why it is necessary to test their herd for persistent infection of BVD. After all, they will question, if a Persistently Infected (PI) calf is going to die anyway, won’t things take care of themselves?