Breeding decisions: Some planning ahead of breeding can help to make important decisions before the breeding season starts. A cow bred on 1 May based on a 286-day gestation will calve on 11 February, 2021. Ask yourself the question: is this too early for your farm or is it too late? If you are planning to AI, cows should be tail-painted now and heats recorded before the breeding season starts. Sit down and pick out the bulls you want to use and make a list of what cows are to be inseminated to each bull. If this list could be left around the crush area, it could speed up things when the AI technician arrives. Teaser bulls should be vasectomised two months before they are required. Make sure cows are on a rising plane of nutrition (ie good, quality spring grass) and are gaining body condition in the next few weeks. Also make sure vaccinations for BVD and Lepto are up to date on cows and any breeding bulls. Vaccines should be given at the very latest two weeks before commencement of breeding. Stock bulls should be fertility tested prior to turnout with cows to make sure they are up to the job in hand.

BEEP-S: There have been a few queries over the last few days on the pneumonia vaccination option in the BEEP-S scheme. At the outset it’s important to remember that vaccinating calves on its own won’t prevent all pneumonia occurring and management around weaning has a big role to play in keeping calves healthy. You should also have a chat with your vet on what products to use and what protocol best suits your farming operation. There are two options available. Applicants must choose one of the following vaccination protocols: