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Sunday 18 November 2018

Beef farmer on why many hands make light work of the dosing

Silage stock is reducing. File photo
Silage stock is reducing. File photo
John Joyce

John Joyce

The extra help available over the Christmas break saw us complete the winter parasite programme.

Fluke dosing was the first job tackled. All animals were treated as they have been housed for over two months and all fluke would be at the adult or mature stage.

Some parts of the farm are wet so I always put a big emphasis on the fluke programme. This is a great time of the year to control it as the animals are not picking up more eggs.

I used a product called Endofluke which has the active ingredient triclabendazole - this covers all stages of fluke. I used the hook drench gun as I have for the past number of years.

It is a useful tool but as labour gets increasingly harder to source, I might have to rethink and change to injectables or a pour on product.

All the animals were dosed with the same product including the suckler cows, weanlings and beef cattle.

The weanlings were also injected with an Ivermectin product for the final treatment of lungworm since housing. They are now settled in well to their winter accommodation. I used a product called Taktic to treat lice.

It can be used for cattle, sheep and pigs. It comes in the form of a dip or concentrate and one litre is mixed with 250 litres of water.

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I used it last year for the first time and found it an excellent product. I used the quad bike sprayer to spray the cattle as they were passing through the crush after dosing.

One treatment is usually sufficient and shaving the backs and tails of the cattle also seems to have helped a lot with the lice problems as well.

At this time of year I always put a big effort into the treatment of the winter parasites.

There is little point in trying to make good quality silage and feeding expensive concentrates if the animals' gains are eroded by a fluke, lice or lungworm problem.

All this dosing sounds like an added cost but basically it is only the price of one bag of meal per animal when you add up everything.

The suckler cows are in adequate condition, but due to reducing silage stocks they have been taken off ad lib silage. I have decided to restrict the diet to prolong the silage.

They are now seven weeks out from the start of calving and I have started to dust the silage daily with a pre-calver mineral. This is an easy way to administer the mineral.

It definitely pays for itself with hardier calves and little or no retained placentas.

This year I left my order a little late and it turns out there are shortages at the moment.

The mix contains high iodine with calcium, magnesium and phosphorus as the next highest ingredients. It comes with a daily recommendation feeding rate of 70gms per head per day.

Lambing

On the sheep side of the farm the ewes were scanned in late December with a scan rate of 1.79 lambs per ewe so I was very happy with that.

They are now housed and have been separated into batches of singles, doubles and triplets and will be fed accordingly.

They are still over six weeks away from lambing and have been on a haylage diet with meal being introduced this week.

Only 20 of last year's lambs remain on the farm and these are being fed fresh meal twice a day in a bid to finish them.

With farm safety always in mind I received a head lamp as a Christmas present. At first I thought it might be a bit clumsy but now I think no farmer should be without one.

It is rechargeable and has a 70 metre head beam. The farmyard is well lit up, but it shines exactly where you are walking or working.

John Joyce farms at Carrigahorig, Nenagh, Co Tipperary

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