Lice treatments: The unseasonably mild weather over the last two months has meant lice have been an issue in sheds.
Older-type sheds with poorer ventilation have been especially problematic in keeping lice at bay.
The active ingredient in some dosing products lasts for just six weeks so if cattle were treated earlier in autumn or early November a second treatment may be needed.
Clipping will help decrease the amount of sweating and should help keep lice infestations down. If there isn’t hair on an animal’s back, it will be hard for lice to survive.
Opening doors and increasing ventilation will also help. If dosing for a second time don’t forget to record the dose and adhere to the withdrawal period for the product used.
Out-wintered stock: Out-wintered weanlings and young cattle are more susceptible to worms and fluke.
Lungworm can continue to be an issue in the winter, and with cold and wet weather, pneumonia can occur rapidly.
Where calves are coughing, pay close attention to them in the days after treatment. Calves coughing up worms can become stressed quickly and this can lead to a high temperature.
Where calves or weanlings have been housed on stubble ground, on kale or rape for more than eight weeks, they can receive a fluke dose.
Most of the fluke should be at an adult stage and a high kill rate should be obtained.
Brassicas are high in protein, but low in dry matter and minerals and cattle need to be supplemented.
Take care where feeding animals outside that you don’t run into cross-compliance issues with poaching. Move feeders and troughs regularly to avoid penalties.
An animal (1LU) must have access to 1ha of land at all times when being out-wintered on order to avoid breaching cross-compliance regulations.
Slurry: The slurry spreading season is just around the corner again. It’s around this time of year that smaller tanks become full and slurry needs to be moved to other tanks.
Always try to mix tanks if you are moving slurry from one tank to another.
Taking out water is a short-term solution and can lead to huge problems mixing tanks later in the year.
If agitating tanks, try to wait for a windy day to disperse slurry gas and never enter a shed when agitation is taking place.
Try to agitate when there is another person around the yard or at least alert someone that you are agitating. Remove all animals from sheds before agitating tanks.
The spreading period opens on Thursday 13 January in Zone A, Sunday 16 January in Zone B, and 1 February in Zone C.
Farmyard manure is also included in these dates. In order to comply with cross-compliance and environmental regulations you cannot spread chemical fertilisers, livestock manure, soiled water or other organic fertilisers when the land is waterlogged; flooded, or is likely to flood; frozen, or covered with snow; or if heavy rain is forecast within 48 hours (you must check the weather forecast prior to spreading).
You cannot spread organic fertilisers or soiled water via a rain gun or other device from a road or passageway, even if the road or passageway is on your own holding.