Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 19 April 2018

Probe spring's problems to avoid the same in 2013

Peadar O'Scanaill

With the calves on the ground and the herd out grazing, it's easy to forget about the problems experienced earlier this spring. However, a quick check backwards is hugely helpful when focusing the veterinary health plan.

Scour and joint/navel ill are two of the biggest problems in very young calves on a suckler farm. Tests carried out on scour samples earlier this spring should have given an indication of the causes of scour outbreaks. If those tests were not carried out, but we still wish to know more about the disease, now is the time to do some investigation.

Blood or faecal samples of the most recently affected batch could show raised immunity levels to the offending diseases. This raised immunity may show up on a blood test or some remnants of the virus/bacteria may be present in faeces of the newest calves to guide us to identifying our scour. Before the season moves on too far, it's helpful to plan to avoid those problems next calving season. In the case of salmonella, E.Coli or Rota and Corona Virus scours, a vaccination programme is a vital cog in the prevention wheel.

Although the vaccines won't be used until later in the year, we need to check now to be sure what the challenges are on our farm. Attempting to guess next December what might befall us the following February is foolhardy.

• Check now with your farm vet what diseases were diagnosed over the winter/spring period.

• Tests now may be useful in the absence of any positive results of samples taken earlier.

• Clean out the calving pens and the young stock housing area. Remove all organic matter and power-hose the floors and walls wherever possible.

• Allow the houses as much time as possible to lie in a clean, clear, dry state, without the presence of animals.

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• Note down the vaccines and protocols that will be used next autumn/winter to prevent last year's diseases from causing havoc this coming winter.

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