Irish Independent - Farming - - Farm Management - DrDanRyanisacowfer­til­i­ty­ex­pert and­can­be­con­tacte­dat

at calv­ing time.

The over-con­di­tioned cow has both an in­creased risk of calv­ing dif­fi­culty and meta­bolic disease such as ke­to­sis and fatty liver.

It is es­sen­tial that the calf gets colostrums within the first two hours of life. The qual­ity and quan­tity of the colostrum pro­duced by the cow will be l argely de­ter­mined by tran­si­tion man­age­ment.

Cows which are stressed be­fore calv­ing be­cause of di­ets, hous­ing en­vi­ron­ment or meta­bolic disease will pro­duce poorer qual­ity colostrum. For this rea­son, it is es­sen­tial to have a stock of frozen colostrum avail­able.

The tra­di­tion of group feed­ing colostrum should be avoided due to the risk this poses in terms of spread­ing Johne’s disease. Cur­rent tests for the de­tec­tion of Johne’s re­quire an­i­mals to be four years of age for a high re­li­a­bil­ity of pos­i­tive cases.

Johne’s will de­press im­mune sys­tems to the point where there is pro­gres­sive weight loss, di­ar­rhoea and im­paired re­pro­duc­tive per­for­mance.

Fae­ces is another source of di s ease t rans­mis­sion. It is es­sen­tial that calv­ing boxes are kept clean so that calves do not have ac­cess to con­tam­i­nated bed­ding and feed­stuffs.

This will re­quire ex­tra dili­gence as the calv­ing sea­son pro­ceeds and man­age­ment prac­tices slip.

Why is there such an em­pha­sis on Johne’s man­age­ment when it seems to be such an elu­sive or­gan­ism? Stud­ies have linked the my­cobac­terium avian paratu­ber­colo­sis that causes Johne’s to the polyps of hu­mans with Crohn’s disease.


In the fu­ture, it is likely that disease man­age­ment pro­to­cols will have to be in place to sat­isfy mar­ket­ing re­quire­ments.

A num­ber of our clients in the north of Ire­land have in­tro­duced pas­teuri­sa­tion of colostrum to min­imise the risk of Johne’s disease trans­mis­sion.

It is in the in­ter­est of your busi­ness to have a Johne’s man­age­ment strat­egy as the disease can be spread eas­ily, will re­duce herd longevity and in­creases herd health man­age­ment costs.

Aus­tralia im­ple­mented a Johne’s man­age­ment strat­egy ap­prox­i­mately 15 years ago. De­spite this, they have failed to erad­i­cate the disease and have con­cluded that disease tol­er­ances will have to be ac­cepted for most herds.

Get­ting s uff i c i ent im­munoglob­u­lins into your calves will pro­tect them from the stresses that can re­sult in pneu­mo­nia, coc­cid­io­sis or cryp­tosporid­ium.

As the num­ber of calves in­crease in the house, it is es­sen­tial that ven­ti­la­tion is ad­justed for cold and warm days and vary­ing wind speeds. Coc­cidio- sis and cryp­tosporid­ium re­sult in se­vere set­backs, with sig­nif­i­cant calf mor­tal­ity. Calves may re­cover fol­low­ing treat­ment for pneu­mo­nia and var­i­ous calf scours.

How­ever, th­ese events may have ad­verse epi­ge­netic ef­fects on the an­i­mal's fer­til­ity later in life. There is data that now shows the im­pact of ill­ness early in life on the on­set of re­pro­duc­tive cy­cles and fer­til­ity when the heifers are 13-16 months of age. Phys­i­cally, th­ese heifers will not be dif­fer­ent to their fer­tile coun­ter­parts.

Fi­nally, I would en­cour­age all dairy farm­ers and their fam­i­lies that take pride in what they do to en­ter the Zurich Farm­ing In­de­pen­dent awards. There's a sep­a­rate cat­e­gory for each sec­tor, in­clud­ing dairy­ing, and the ap­pli­ca­tion form should only take about 10 min­utes to com­plete.

It's nice to see com­pe­ti­tions that recog­nise the huge ef­fort that goes into farm­ing and hope­fully this is just the first year of what will be­come an an­nual fix­ture in the farm­ing cal­en­dar. Who knows, you might even win €2,500 in cash, which would surely be a wel­come boost to any house­hold bud­get.

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