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.

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.

Wynnstay Turbo Start

As part of our ongoing research to ensure that our customers get the best returns from their calves we are introducing a new milk powder – Wynngold Turbo Start


turbostart

protein      Turbo Start is a high quality calf milk powder designed to give your calves the best possible start in life. Turbo Start has been specially formulated to comply with the ‘LifeStart’ concept. Based on previous and ongoing research into how to get calves growing quickly and healthily, this concept is one that we feel can allow you to finish your calves faster than standard milk powders. Alongside specific management protocols, this milk can help you achieve your goal of raising  profitable animals; maximising the return on your investment.
Turbo Start is a highly digestible whey based milk powder with excellent levels of oil needed to supply your calves with essential energy. This milk powder also has the additional benefits of high levels of Vitamin E to support immune function along with Greenline, a synergetic blend of ingredients designed to support optimum health and animal performance.

Specifically designed to be fed as part of an accelerated growth feeding program with a delicately balanced amino acid profile, this milk will allow you to safely feed at higher rates. Turbo Start is the perfect choice for anybody looking to unleash the genetic potential of their future herd.

For further information regarding this new milk powder, please speak to your Wynnstay representative or local Wynnstay country store.

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