Taking care of the Farmer and farm problems
Catherine Egan Teagasc Beef Specialist has some very important advice here about taking care of typical problems on the farm. She points out all the ways your Teagasc Advisor can help. After a difficult Spring the Number 1 priority should be to take care of the farmer now. Make that phone call today
As calving draws to an end on most farms it has been a challenging few months. COVID-19 has made the normal demands faced by farmers even more difficult. But, as restrictions begin to ease things will start to become more ‘normal’. This spring has brought its own challenges on farms with difficult weather conditions, possible calving issues or disease outbreaks in the herd. As a result there may be concerns in relation to fodder supplies/grass shortage, breeding season ahead, financial issues or animal health issues.
Now is a good time to address your concerns and see how any of the issues outlined can be resolved.
Poor weather conditions have impacted grass growth on many farms in recent weeks. What fertiliser have you applied to date? Depending on your demand for grass and nutrient management plan you can discuss fertiliser options for your farm with your advisor. It is important where grass is in short supply to avoid re-grazing paddocks too quickly and rotating around paddocks too fast (hold grazing rotation at 20-22 days). Silage or concentrates may be supplemented to reduce demand on the farm until growth increases to help to build grass covers if there is an issue.
Decisions made now will impact on calving season next spring. If you have experienced difficult calvings this spring, it could be due to a number of issues such as sire selection or cow body condition score. Now is an ideal time to address this concern with your advisor/vet/nutritionist to try to alleviate this issue re-occurring next spring. A plan can be put in place to find the source of the issue and actions to find a solution to the problem.
The first step is to complete a fodder budget to see how much fodder you require next winter and build in a one month reserve. Based on how much you require you can consult your advisor to put a plan in place to close silage ground required and make surplus bales. Following up on this plan, you can incorporate other actions on farm to manage fodder concerns for next winter, such as selling surplus stock, culling empty cows or poor performing cows in advance of the winter.
Financial performance of a farm will indicate how well the farm is operating. Cash flow is an important financial measure you should use when completing financial analysis. It’s only when you regularly review financial reports that you are in a true position to plan the future of your farm business. Financial analysis must be based on solid information. Your Teagasc or MABS advisor can help you to analyse your business and have useful tools available to help you keep records. MABS is a free, confidential and independent Money Advice and Budgeting Service.
Find your local MABS Office here
Animal health issues
There are a number of health issues that can arise such as tuberculosis (TB) outbreak, Johne’s disease, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), calf scour of many forms, worm infection, calf mortality at birth and viral diseases etc. There are practical steps and supports farmers can avail of to maintain good herd health and animal welfare. Your local vet, Teagasc advisor and agencies such as Animal Health Ireland offer advice and programmes to support you.
Farmer Stress - Last but not least
For many, work on the farm can be so busy that it is hard to fully recognise that we have an unmanageable level of stress. Some of us try to ignore the problem, some feel embarrassed to talk about it and some of us will actively seek help from a friend, advisor or health professional.
Our mobile phone has become one of the most important tools to help us stay connected in this “new normal”. A simple phone call can have a very positive impact on us and others. It is important that we take the time and use our phones to stay in touch with others.
Farmers are very resilient on a daily basis but at times there can be pressure and stress. Dr. Noel Richardson, Director National Centre for Men’s Health, IT Carlow, has some tips on mental and physical well-being in this podcast here below.
Pause now and take the time to listen. It might be the best 16 minutes you will spend all day.
Further information here
You can contact any of our Teagasc offices using this link Teagasc Advisory Regions here
The Teagasc Beef Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to suckler & cattle farmers every Wednesday here on Teagasc Daily
Catherine Egan issues the BeefEdge podcast also every Wednesday. Keep up-to-date with the episodes and information covered on the Beef Edge by visiting the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thebeefedge