With this year’s lambing season just around the corner, we look at the best way to manage your surplus lambs in 2017. Exploring environmental and economic factors that could provide you with the advice you need to make the most of this year’s lamb crop.
I was very honoured and privileged to be chosen as one of 19 people from the UK to be presented as a Nuffield Farming Scholar for 2017, in Newcastle in late November last year, at the Nuffield Annual Conference.
A comprehensive dosing regime at housing is critical to remove worm and fluke infections, ensuring freedom from disease and maximum productivity of animals throughout the winter housing period. In addition, lice and mite burdens are removed, preventing rapid spread to others during close contact when housed.
Sheep scab is caused by Psoroptes ovis, a non-burrowing, surface-feeding mite, costing the UK sheep industry annually around £8.3 million, including £0.8 million in reduced animal performance .
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?
Gatelands Farm, near Penrith, is owned and farmed by Andrew and Angela Barraclough and their two children James and Alysha.
It is a 300-acre farm and the business is comprised of 150 milking cows and replacements. In addition to the milk business the family also rears veal calves and fattens cattle for Lake District Farmers, which supplies the best restaurants in London. Most recently its veal has featured in the final of the Great British Menu!
Unlike a human baby which is born with antibodies passed on through the placenta, a new born calf arrives without such protection and relies entirely on colostrum to receive those crucial antibodies.
Farmers want a high lambing percentage to increase profits, but poor planning can lead to poor performance. For success in tupping season, plan for healthy pregnancies: adopt a he
althy nutrition plan and assess the body condition of ewes. This will encourage higher ovulation rates, twin and triplet births, and lower rates of aborted pregnancies.
Throwing down a challenge to beef rearer-finishers, the Scottish Rural University College (SRUC) has reported that cattle killed after 12-15 month of age “eat their own profits”. Based on data from seven abattoirs over 12 years, they found that reducing slaughter age would improve beef profitability, regardless of breed. Savings on feed, bedding and labour costs made significant contributions to the figures.
Whether rearing beef cattle or dairy heifers, maximum weight gain during the low cost grazing season is clearly vital in the current financial climate, according to Zoetis vet Dave Armstrong. “So preventing performance losses due to roundworm burdens, or worse still deaths later in the season due to lungworm, are clearly sensible priorities,” he suggests.