Over the next few weeks attention should turn to trying to build grass covers on beef farms. This will mean spreading some fertiliser to boost grass growth. Spreading 20 units/N/acre will help. Use a compound fertiliser like 18:6:12 if P and K indexes are low.
Silage ground coming back into the rotation will help lengthen the rotation and build covers. Reducing demand through meal-feeding cattle will also lengthen the rotation.
While grazing out tight is good in mid-summer, leaving a little more leaf in the sward now will help regrowth.
Grass management over the next few weeks will go a long way to determine how long you can extend the grazing season this autumn. Given where meal costs are, it’s important to reduce the housing period as much as possible.
Last weekend’s rain and continued warm temperature will likely see an increase in lungworm burdens on pastures. After the long dry spell in July, worm burdens at pasture will have been low, so young cattle will have had very little exposure to them.
A sudden burst in worm activity at pasture will put these animals at a greater risk of respiratory issues. Spring and autumn born calves should be herded closely over the next few weeks for any signs of worm infection.
Lungworm, or hoose, will be more of a problem during damp and warm conditions, so watch out for signs such as cattle panting or the tell-tale harsh cough.
This will be easily picked up when cattle are being moved from field to field or when feeding animals concentrates. If in doubt, calves should be treated for lungworm infection.
Be careful with what product you use. Avermectin based products will give a very fast total kill, and in cases where there is severe infection this can lead to a lot of stress due to coughing up worms for a few days. In some cases this can lead to the onset of pneumonia.
In cases where you think that the infection is bad, a levamisole based drench will be a better option.
While this drench will give a more gradual kill, it won’t be as stressful in cases where there is a high burden of worms. Get veterinary advice on the best product to use on your farm.
The Irish Farmers Journal Thrive Demonstration Farm in Cashel, Co Tipperary (Eircode E25 AK44) will host an open day on Tuesday 9 August.
The day will outline the dairy calf-to-beef system in place on the farm over the last few years, from genetics to calf sourcing and rearing, grassland management and finishing strategies.
The farm rears 150 calves each year and brings them through to beef at between 18 and 22-months of age. The financial performance of each of the systems in place, be it bullocks or heifers or early- or late-maturing breed types, will all be discussed in detail on the day.
We will also discuss how the farm can work towards the new GHG emmisions targets. Farm tours will take place from 10.30am-1.30pm. Free registration can be found at www.ifj.ie/thrive.