Why there's been a rise in number of dairy calves starved of oxygen at birth
A worryingly higher number of calves in dairy herds were starved of oxygen at birth this year as farmers struggled with high workloads, a Teagasc expert has reported.
Jonathon Kenneally said the lack of viewing at calving was worrying, as figures show a third of calves in unobserved calvings died from anoxia or lack of oxygen.
"It probably was higher this year as with herd expansion, numbers are getting bigger and labour is a big issue out there as well," he said.
The figures were compiled from 6,000 cows in 38 Munster dairy herds this spring.
Farmers reported 260 dead calves, with post-mortems and lab tests performed to definitely identify the causes.
In calvings identified as 'hard' or difficult, the wrong presentation was blamed in 40pc of the deaths, 'anoxia' in a further fifth and defects in 12pc.
Mr Kenneally said the biggest issues they found was the wrong presentation and a lack of observation at calving. Earlier intervention would have saved a lot of the calves in cases of wrong presentation, he said.