Winter housing and feed budgets should be the next priorities
With the longest day of the year now over, the expression, "the year is flying by" is more apt than ever, especially for those involved in the beef industry
The 2014/2015 winter season has been a bad one for the hard-pressed winter beef finishers.
A number of issues that I have been highlighting in my articles over recent months - the need for improved silage quality, correctly balancing the mineral and vitamin component of winter diets, and lowering feed costs and feed efficiency - are all still priorities over the coming winter.
Grass silage that has been harvested in the early part of this month should be in general of excellent quality. Silage dry matter should be higher than normal mainly due to the drier weather we have encountered, but also due to the greater prevalence of tedding and raking machines now been used by most silage contractors.
Higher dry matter silage is always best at the time of feeding as higher intakes are guaranteed.
Having silage analysed for its mineral content and as well as for the standard dry matter, energy and PH is something that should be consider over the coming months.
With silage finished and most houses empty farmers should now be prioritising two key tasks. Firstly, winter housing should be cleaned and prepared for the upcoming winter. The inevitable disease build up in housing and handling facilities should now be dealt with in preparation for the forthcoming winter. All areas including handling pens, handling race, calving pens, sick pens, housing pens, dry feed stores, transport vehicles, and any equipment associated with livestock should all be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
In doing so it greatly reduces the rate of disease and associated matters for the following season.