Irish Examiner - Farming - - BEEF SECTOR -

Animal health

With spring breed­ing around the cor­ner, use pre-breed­ing heat de­tec­tion, and mon­i­tor cows once breed­ing commences, to help iden­tify non­cy­cling cows.

Cows not cy­cling need to be checked for prob­lems, to im­prove sub­mis­sion rates. Pre-breed­ing vac­ci­na­tion pro­grammes should now be de­cided on. Con­sult with your vet re­gard­ing tim­ings etc. A good prac­tice is to get your vet to take ran­dom blood sam­ples from a pro­por­tion of your herd and do a dis­ease screen to es­tab­lish what you should be vac­ci­nat­ing for. Lepto, IBR and Sal­mo­nella are the main ones to look out for in the suck­ler herd.

All stock

Try to keep high pro­duc­ing stock on good qual­ity grass swards.

Avoid dam­ag­ing pas­tures with stock. If you have fod­der in the yard, de­lay turn-out un­til the land can carry cat­tle. Suck­ler cows and ad­vanced stores are heavy and can do a lot of dam­age quickly, es­pe­cially at turn out, when they tend to do a lot of run­ning. Many will ap­ply fer­tiliser over the next week or ten days as tem­per­a­tures rise and con­di­tions dry up.

What fer­til­izer is most ap­pro­pri­ate for your silage and graz­ing ground?

After all the rain, do you need an NPK fer­tiliser rather than straight ni­tro­gen?

Plan for silage; ear­lier cuts pro­vide bet­ter qual­ity and will re­duce con­cen­trate re­quire­ments next win­ter.

Cuts will in­vari­ably be de­layed this year, but you should still aim to cut as good a qual­ity silage as pos­si­ble and look to take ex­tra cuts where pos­si­ble to re­plen­ish feed stocks. Clean out wa­ter troughs prop­erly be­fore cat­tle en­ter pad­docks for the first graz­ing.


Sup­ple­ment suck­led cows at grass with mag­ne­sium, to prevent te­tany.

Watch re­cently turned out calves to make sure they drink their moth­ers out.

Wean­lings and stores

On grass, en­sure each in­di­vid­ual animal is full and con­sum­ing ad­e­quate grass. if mea­sur­ing grass, en­sure wean­lings eat at least 2% of their body weight in dry mat­ter. With­out these in­takes, sup­ple­men­ta­tion may be nec­es­sary.

After all the rain, do you need an NPK fer­tiliser rather than straight ni­tro­gen?

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