Ruairi Cummins January/February Update
Herd health precautions
- Bulls have been treated for lice
- Cleaning and disinfecting the calving area
- Pre-calving vaccines to prevent scour in calves
- Mineral results from the haylage being fed to the cows are low for macro and micro minerals
- Feed a balanced pre-calving mineral for at least 6 weeks pre-calving
- Weanlings are being cut back on ration before turnout to grass
- The finishing bulls were weighed and are performing very well
- They are 56kg heavier than the same time last year
- Ruairi is planning to sell the yearling heifers in the next month
Lice has been an issue in the slatted shed, particularly with the bulls, but Ruairi treated them and this has since resolved it.
Ruairi will be power washing and disinfecting the calving area this weekend before calving starts on 20th January. The cows will be moved over then according to their calving dates. To help prevent any scours in calves, the cows are vaccinated against rotavirus and coronavirus 3 to 12 weeks before they are due to calve. However in order to receive the antibodies, it is essential that the calf gets a good feed of colostrum (~5% of its body weight or 2L for a 40kg calf) in the first hour after birth. Its ability to absorb antibodies starts to decline after birth and ceases after 24 hours.
The annual herd test is falling on 17th January.
The mineral results from the hay that Ruairi is feeding to the cows shows that the macro and micro minerals are quite low. The hay was made from a GLAS meadow which was growing for over 3 months as per the scheme requirements. The fertiliser allowances for the traditional hay meadow action is reflected in the low phosphorus and potassium results.
He is now feeding a well-balanced pre-calving mineral to the cows at present, at a rate of 120g/head/day, split twice daily, for 6 weeks before calving to address these deficiencies.
The weanlings are getting 2kg of ration/head/day which will be reduced gradually as they come closer to turnout to grass.
The finishing bulls are on 6.5kg of a 14% CP ration which is being split into 2 feeds. They are gradually being built up to 8kg/head/day.
Ruairi weighed the bulls (16) on 27th December and they weighed 507kg on average, having gained 1.33kg/day since 25th November. They are 56kg heavier on average than the same time last year, which Ruairi is attributing to RSV and Pi3 vaccines given last spring and the successful forward creep grazing of the calves ahead of the cows this year.
Ruairi is planning to sell the yearling heifers at the end of January and will keep 13 bullocks for grazing over the summer.