Grazing alone cannot always be relied upon to maximise ewe and ram fertility. We should not be complacent about mineral and trace element deficiencies pre-tupping, which is an important time of the flock reproduction cycle.
As the year progresses, it’s time to start thinking about the autumn parasite challenges, we’ve seen some very high worm egg counts this year which could continue into the tupping season. Continuation of the current warm, wet weather could result in us seeing an earlier fluke challenge too.
Through my love of showing and stockjudging success, I have now had several invites to judge shows. It is an honour to be asked to judge any show whether it is local, county or a national breed show.
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.
In order to increase performance in any flock, it is important to consider regular body condition scoring (BCS) in order to identify any drastic changes in ewe condition not noticeable through observation alone. Through this you can ensure that ewes are on target for the system and the time of year, and in turn will result in improved fertility, increased lamb performance and reduced incidence of metabolic diseases.
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.