Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

Who needs a gym when there are Limousin cattle to TB test


Four year old Riley Byrne from St Josephs Dublin 8 gets to meet the donkey, at the opening of the IFA live animal crib at the Mansion house in Dublin. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Four year old Riley Byrne from St Josephs Dublin 8 gets to meet the donkey, at the opening of the IFA live animal crib at the Mansion house in Dublin. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
John Joyce

John Joyce

The most recent item on the farm's agenda was the annual TB test. It is a big job for any farm, especially when it involves two days. I find this time of the year suitable for the job as all stock are housed, cows are weaned and are still not too heavily in calf so they travel easily through the chute.

The herd was not listed for Brucellosis, which meant one less job.

All cattle showed a clear result, so that is one less worry about restricting animals movements in or out of the herd for another year.

All ran smoothly except that a few cattle gave us a run around for a few minutes -- who needs a gym membership when one has Limousin cattle on the farm.

With all the cattle now housed, the next job is treating all the animals for winter parasites; fluke and lice being the most important to kill.

It is important to spend time and money to kill off these parasites, especially with the cost of housing animals over the winter.

Now that stock are inside and not picking up worms off the pasture it is the ideal time to crack down on parasites but you have to wait long enough for all worms to mature. That's why I gave them four weeks indoors first.

A simple lice pour-on will also be used. With the weather being so mild I can see that the animals are licking themselves in the shed already.

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The tails of the weanlings and the finishing cattle will be trimmed to keep them cleaner. The cows' tails will also be trimmed to keep them neater at the calving time if they have to be handled or when the new-born calf is getting its first drink.

The hook dosing gun will be called into acting again as I am going to use oral dose to treat for the fluke in the cows.

Levafas Diamond is the product I have chosen since this will kill both liver and stomach fluke.

The weanlings have settled well into their new surroundings and will get one more lungworm dose before getting a simple fluke and worm dose in two weeks' time.

With the dry weather continuing I decided to take advantage of it and concrete more of the farmyard. While the farmyard improvements are always expensive, concrete has never been so cheap.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime job which lasts for years, it's clean and it helps keep the farmyard looking tidy.

Last Tuesday we got the ewes scanned just at the right time which is about 90-100 days after the rams has been introduced.

They scanned out at 1.75 lambs per ewe. That is nothing to write home about but I was happy with them. Like scanning the cows, the job pays for itself. The ewes will be segregated into singles, doubles, triplets and empties and all fed accordingly.

The weather is far too good to house the sheep yet and they are getting excellent quality hay outside.

The stubbles have also been sprayed with Round Up during the good weather. The plough has been oiled and greased up in a bid to getting the ploughing done before the new year.

The reason for ploughing now is that the ground will be easier to till next spring, hence burning less diesel and also its a slow job that will be out of the way for the busy spring.

On the Macra front, we are stepping up our campaign for the re-introduction of the Installation Aid for the young farmers.

It has been suspended now for just over five years, Macra believes it is the right time to reintroduce the scheme.

Any new package could be an investment-led scheme and could be funded from Pillar II of CAP with a theoretical 50pc co-funding from the Government.

Happy Christmas to all readers, especially those who give me feedback each month - it's all really appreciated.


John Joyce farms at Carrigahorig, Nenagh and is agricultural affairs vice-chairman with Macra na Feirme. Email:

Irish Independent