Winter dosing pays for itself in the long run
With all the stock housed and settled in to their new surroundings for the winter, it is time to start my winter parasite control programme.
Fluke and lice are the two major ones on my hit list. The plan is to treat for lice with a pour-on between the shoulders and dose for fluke with a product that covers all stages of fluke. Also, when I am running the stock through the chute, I trim all of their tails.
It keeps the finished stock cleaner and by trimming the cows' tails it will keep them neater at calving, especially if they have to be handled or when the newborn calf is getting its first drink.
I always put great emphasis on the winter dosing as there is little point in feeding expensive silage and meal and having good housing if the stock are not thriving because of a worm or lice problem.
Parasite treatment always pays for itself in the long term.
The weanlings are on 1kg of meal and are doing well. I find feeding a small amount of meal helps when herding them to see if they are all out eating. The ration is a good quality 14pc protein mix with minerals.
Two weanlings were treated for pneumonia about two weeks ago and have recovered well, but just about. It showed that a high degree of observation is still required.
They will also get another lungworm dose as some are still coughing a little.
The beef heifers are thriving well and are on 6kg of meal a day and should be ready by early February. I am also feeding a pen of cull cows but they are old and were a little thin at weanling so they have a long way to go.
I will increase their meal from now on and introduce them on to a high maize finishing ration soon.
Even though the cull cows cost a bit to finish, they offer a valuable alternative income stream to the suckler cow enterprise and can go a long way to financing replacement heifers.
The main herd of the suckler cows are in good condition and are on good quality ad-lib silage. From next week on I will dust dry-cow minerals on the silage. This has worked quite well over the past few years so I will keep doing it.
All is quite on the sheep side of the farm. The rams have been withdrawn from the ewes. Scanning will take place later this month.
The singles and twins will be separated and fed accordingly. The triplets will be feed meal immediately from scanning onwards. The empties will be sold straight away.
I am very happy with the way the year has panned out and the way we dealt with any issue or problem that cropped up. In the next few weeks I will set out realistic targets for the farm for the coming year.
Some will be quite simple or basic, but it's always great to have a plan in place and it focuses one to meet targets during the year.
Another priority has been to encourage all of our employees, contractors and professional people working with my farming enterprises to approach the task in hand with a positive and can-do attitude.
So thanks to all the people associated with Joyce farming for another successful year and a special thanks to all the Farming Independent readers for their feedback.
John Joyce farms at Carrigahorrig, Co Tipperary
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