Worming Ewes at Lambing

Worming Ewes at Lambing

Image result for fecpak

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!!

Related image

Tel: 01970 821918
Email: uk@techiongroup.com

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.

Bringing your beef calves home

In my last blog we discussed how to choose the correct beef calf for your system. Today we will have a look at some hints and tips for bringing those calves home.

Firstly, before the calves arrive on farm, it is important to have a strict bio security regime in place.

These young animals will be stressed from the travel and change of environment, good bio security practices in place prevent the introduction and spread of disease within your holding.

Ensure pens for new arrivals have been prepared in advance, pens should be well bedded – allowing the calves to nest and keep warm.

Nesting Score

well ventilated but free from drafts. Quality bedding is crucial to reduce the amount of heat lost from lying calves.

Top tip: Calves will lie along the side of pens – if these are concrete walls it is worth covering them with stock board to stop the calves getting a chill, alternatively some small straw bales propped up against the concrete walls work well as something for the calves to nestle up to.

Calves do not respond well to stress, when calves arrive on farm, unload them quietly, move them into clean pens that are well bedded, administer 2L of electrolyte per calf and allow them to rest. New arrivals should be quarantined for seven days.

Top Tip: batch these calves according to source, size and age. Do not commence milk feeding for at least 2 hours after calves have arrived on farm.

Research has shown the first 90 days are the most efficient time for calf growth – we want to maximise this potential and minimise stress and setbacks.  Offer the new arrivals an electrolyte drink in two litres of warm water and ensure fresh drinking water is always available.  Do not put the calves through any procedures in these first few days on farm, allow them time to settle then think about an ideal time to castrate and disbud if necessary.

Before the calves arrive on farm, work closely with your vet to develop an appropriate vaccination and disease control programme.

Fail to prepare…

Now is a good time to draw up some plans for managing the calves; everyday routines, weekly and monthly jobs.

Daily: Milk feeding, Water changing/checking, Solid feeding, bed down, Cleaning & disinfecting feeding equipment (if using automatic feeders – changing teats)

Tip: Handle and feed sick calves last – this will avoid indirect disease and bacteria transfer.

Weekly: weighing calves, Cleaning and disinfecting pens.

Tip: If you are using an automated feeder, remember to schedule in regular recalibration, cleaning and maintenance, ideally calibrate the machine with every new pallet of milk powder.


Eimear Diamond
Calf Specialist
You can follow Eimear on Twitter @diamondcalf1 or contact your local calf specialist here.

Beef Calf

Sourcing Beef Calves : Choosing The Calf

Increasing numbers of dairy x beef calves are opening up new avenues for beef farmers, but how do you decide what will best suit your system?

The margin between profit and loss with calves is very fine, sourcing the correct calf can have a huge impact on your bottom line.  Purchasing calves from one source is the best way to minimise disease risk, procuring calves from multiple units can lead to an increased risk of bringing disease on to your farm. However, with sensible buying and good biosecurity plans, the risk can be managed.

Colostrum intake is something which we have to consider, unfortunately this tends to be an area where we have less influence (unless you are buying from one source and have a relationship with the farmer) It’s good practice to have some idea if a calf has received adequate colostrum, especially as there is a proven link between colostrum intake, immune status of the calf, and subsequent performance.  Calves that have had inadequate colostrum intake at birth don’t perform as well as those that had the recommended 10% of birth weight.  Have a look at the calf checklist below for what to look out for.

Top tips

ZST Test: A simple blood test carried out in the first week of life that measures immunoglobulin levels – speak to your vet about the availability of this

Transport: Calves do not like stress! The shorter we can keep the length of transport the better for these young calves

Electrolytes: Once calves have arrived on the unit, it’s a good idea to administer 2L of electrolyte per calf

Calf weight: Calf weight is a great indicator of health and future performance – but only if we take the calf age into account. Being sold an 80kg calf sounds great – not so great if you realise it’s four months old!  Before you buy your calves, have an idea in your head of what weight you will be happy with bearing in mind their age.

Buying / sourcing calves checklist

Is the calf alert?

Does the calf have clear eyes?

A dry navel

Ensure there is no swelling of joints

No signs of scour or pneumonia

Bright and shiny coat

Weight to age correlation is correct

keep good records of calf returns and disease – this should enable easier future sourcing


Remember………….a healthy calf is a profitable one!  

Eimear Diamond
Calf Specialist
You can follow Eimear on Twitter @Diamondcalf1 or find out how to contact her directly by clicking here.

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.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.