Kay O'Sullivan February Update
Monitor egg counts in cattle
- Young stock are most likely to pick up worms and fluke
- A certain level is required to build immunity
- Monitor faecal egg count results to ensure that a high level does not impact performance
Measure grass on the farm
- Turn animals with high energy demands out first, i.e. lactating animals
- Ensure that grass growth is close to stock demand on organic farms
- Graze high covers off to encourage re-growths
Have you considered planting forestry on your farm?
- Are there any suitable sites for planting?
- Options and grants are available and can be discussed with your local forestry advisor
- For existing forestry, consider using the carbon sequestration tool to assess its value
Faecal egg samples were sent for analysis for Kay’s cows. They were negative for rumen fluke, liver fluke, tape worm, coccidia, lungworms and nematodirus. However they showed 50 eggs per gram of strongyles (stomach worms). The cows are rarely dosed on the farm and a certain level of gastro-intestinal worms are required to build natural immunity. The cows currently have access to a shed and to a grass paddock so they will be samples again at the end of March to see what the burden is at that stage. If the egg count exceeds 150 eggs per gram it would indicate a need to treat them.
The weanlings that are at grass will also be sampled again at the end of March. Their faecal egg samples were all clear in early January.
Kay completed a grass measurement for her farm and has an average farm cover of 615 kg DM/ha, with paddocks ranging from 50 to 1900 kg DM/ha. The growth rate was 10 kg DM/ha and the demand is 11 kg DM/ha as there are 24 dry cows/in calf heifers, 54 lactating ewes and 58 lambs currently grazing. Kay is planning to let the remaining cattle to grass in mid-March. Her grass growth is well balanced with the demand of stock, and as grass growth is expected to rise in the coming weeks she should have sufficient grass to keep her stock out full time.
Kay has an herbs and chicory mix ordered for her reseed. She usually gets 2-3 years out of the chicory and finds that when it gradually dies out, the clover takes its place in the sward. She incorporates this mix by reseeding the entire paddock. It doesn’t strike as well by over sowing as the ground can be too dry, there may not be enough soil to seed contact and the grass is thick from the sheep grazing so it can struggle to get established. Kay notices that the cattle don’t graze the mix as tight and cleanly as the lambs do.