GIVING CALVES A SOFT LANDING
IT is a scary thought, but spring calving is less than 90 days away, so now is the time to start making plans for what is the busiest time of the year on many farms.
Many farms routinely vaccinate against rotavirus, coronavirus and e-coli.
This is one of the more expensive vaccines on the market, but when you think of the potential cost of an outbreak of scour, the benefit far outweighs the cost.
Housing facilities for calves is becoming a big issue on farms of late.
Herds are expanding and in many cases, there is little provision being made for the inevitable increased number of calves needing to be accommodated.
If an outbreak of scour occurs in houses that are very much overstocked, the spread of disease will be much quicker and ultimately, the cost of the disease outbreak will be much higher.
Similarly, too many calves sharing the same airspace results in ideal conditions for the spread of pneumonia-causing viruses and bacteria.
Straw is both scarce and costly this year, so many farms having much less of it in stock.
I have heard of some people discussing the use alternative products such as peat to bed calves this coming spring.
It would be very much worthwhile to seek advice on the pros and cons of alternative bedding products before making a purchase.
It would also be useful to carry out an audit of your calf houses now.
Ventilation, space required per calf and drainage are all things that you can assess.
Now is the time of year to do this so that if required, changes can be made to help prevent problems in the spring.