Farm Ireland

Friday 23 March 2018

Immunise your sheep flock in order to prevent disease

Flock immunisation can prevent disease.
Flock immunisation can prevent disease.

Tom Staunton

Pasteurella pneumonia and Clostridial diseases are a constant threat to sheep. Especially when the immune system of an animal is run down.

Changes in weather can cause animals to become stressed due to reduced intake levels and reduced energy intake.

If the immune system is not functioning properly this gives bacteria and parasites etc an opportunity to develop within an animal.

Certain soil types contain the clostridial bacteria which cause conditions such as blackleg or pulpy kidney. These diseases are almost always fatal and, for this reason, preventing them or vaccinating against them is on the agenda.

The ewes were vaccinated before lambing and some level of antibodies would have been passed via the ewe's colostrum to the lambs. All breeding stock on the farm is vaccinated.

The ewe lambs and rams that I intend to sell will be vaccinated twice.

This provides the sheep with protection on the farm but also the farmer who purchases the sheep.

This week I sold some ewes that lost lambs and some who had mastitis during the spring and couldn't rear lambs. These ewes were in good condition and I am waiting on kill-out results.

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The ewe and lamb trade has held up until now with ewes making between €2.40-€2.50/kg and lambs making between €6.10-€6.30/kg. The lamb price is ahead of this time last year. But lamb thrive has taken a hit in the last few weeks. This is due to the change in weather and the increase in rainfall.

During the few days of fine weather in the last few weeks, I got the chance to spray the ground that is taken up for hay.

I have more spraying to carry out in the coming weeks where some rushes have reappeared.

I believe that controlling weeds is important in any production system as, if weeds are present, they are in an area where grass could be growing.

Meanwhile, the proposal to include the Grassland Sheep Scheme with the Single Farm Payment could cost me €1,300 a year up until 2019.

Farmers campaigned for this scheme a number of years ago and if the proposal is carried through it will have a negative effect on sheep farming.

Tom Staunton farms at Tourmakeady, Co Mayo

Indo Farming