Breed­ing prob­lems ahead for ‘thin’ cows

Vet’s guide to keep­ing prob­lems at bay What will you pay this year? Fod­der cri­sis may have another costly knock-on ef­fect as vets warn of fer­til­ity trou­bles

Irish Independent - Farming - - FRONT PAGE - LOUISE HO­GAN

CON­CERNS are be­ing raised over the fast-ap­proach­ing breed­ing sea­son as farm­ers con­tinue to deal with the fall­out from the weather woes.

Farm­ers will be count­ing the costs of mount­ing feed and for­age bills for months to come as they fi­nally get a re­prieve with a marked pick-up in grass growth over the past week.

How­ever, vets and AI tech­ni­cians look­ing to­wards the breed­ing sea­son for cow herds have warned there may be a costly knock-on im­pact.

Glan­bia Ire­land’s Jim Ber­gin said he had con­cerns as lower pro­teins in re­cent weeks were in­di­ca­tors of con­di­tion.

“In ac­tual fact, it is next year that that will come through; it is not just a one year thing,” said Mr Ber­gin.

“We would have con­cern with the calv­ing date next year,” he added. “It is very hard to say that you’ ll have com­pact calv­ing next year.”

Tip­per­ary-based vet Ea­mon O’Con­nell said that in some cases cows were “thin”, and that a good body con­di­tion score was vi­tal ahead of breed­ing.

“We are ex­pect­ing a lot of re­peats from the first ser­vice. It will af­fect com­pact calv­ing; there will be more empty cows and later calv­ing,” he said.

Tea­gasc ad­vi­sor Ge­orge Rams­bot­tom said de­layed turnout on farms across the coun­try would have a knockon ef­fect on fer­til­ity.

“Where cow con­di­tion is poor, I would rec­om­mend they go on once a day un­til they are bred. Im­prov­ing BCS will re­sult in an im­prove­ment in fer­til­ity,” he said.

Grass growth has picked up strongly across the coun­try, with 41kg DM/ha/ day recorded in the south and 39kg DM/ha/day in the west.

Fod­der stocks

Mr Ber­gin said that Glan­bia was care­fully mon­i­tor­ing fod­der stocks and it was un­likely it would be im­port­ing much more.

How­ever, he said sup­ple­men­tary feed­ing was likely to con­tinue for the com­ing weeks as grass growth gets back on track.

“The emer­gency is prob­a­bly over but the re­cov­ery is only start­ing,” he added.

In the west, Aurivo stated de­mand had de­creased and they had no more im­ports planned. Tea­gasc, mean­while, con­firmed that calls over fod­der short­ages had slowed, and its reg­is­ter of those in need now al­most matched the vol­umes of fod­der on of­fer.

How­ever, Tea­gasc’s Siob­han Ka­vanagh pointed out that while ris­ing soil tem­per­a­tures had aided the grass growth, there were still dif­fi­cul­ties for those on heav­ier ground. She said those with par­tic­u­larly sod­den land in parts of Kerry, west Cork, Mayo, Sligo and Lim­er­ick were still be­ing af­fected as they try to get stock out.

Dairy feed sales are con­tin­u­ing at record lev­els, with mills run­ning 24/7 and mer­chants through­out the coun­try re­port­ing sales up­wards of 30pc.

Kerry Group said the sit­u­a­tion had im­proved, but in cer­tain “pock­ets” there was still a need for ad­di­tional fod­der. It con­tin­ued to im­port large bale maize and grass silage from Bri­tain over the week­end.

“We will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion,” a spokesman said.

Kerry Group re­ported last week that milk sup­plies were back by around 9-11pc in re­cent weeks, with year-to­date sup­plies down 3pc over­all.

Dairy pro­ces­sors are mov­ing to re­vise down­wards milk pool fore­casts for the year, af­ter many re­gions saw col­lec­tions re­duce in re­cent weeks.

Glan­bia said they now ex­pected 3pc growth in col­lec­tions this year, com­pared with an orig­i­nal pro­jected growth of 8pc.

See more page 8

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.