Summer scour syndrome

I was speaking to a vet this week and she has come across a number of cases of summer scour in calves in recent days.

In the cases in question calves were all out on lush grass and got sick quickly. Calves developed a bad scour and became dehydrated in a short time frame. A number of calves were lost on one farm that didn’t go in early enough with treatment. The thinking is that the calf’s rumen isn’t developed enough to cope with the very lush grass that calves are currently eating on some farms. Calves grazing more stemmy material or rougher pastures don’t seem to be affected.

Calves need to be treated for the scour with rehydration therapies the same as you would with a two-week-old calf with scour. Once calves are better, you need to look at calf management and rearing management to see if there is anything you can do to help rumen development.

Making sure that calves have access to short fibre and concentrates will help to ensure the rumen becomes fully developed and is better able to cope with lush pastures.

BDGP bull requirement

A penalty of 60% to 100% will apply if you miss the 30 June deadline for the stock bull/AI requirement. Anyone who applied for the extra year to the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP I) in 2021 or those who entered BDGP II in 2017 must meet the requirements by 30 June 2021.

If using a stock bull, at least one animal on the holding on 30 June must be a genotyped four- or five-star bull on either the terminal or replacement index (on a within- or across-breed basis) at the time of purchase. If renting a bull for breeding, he needs to meet the same criteria. You must inform the Department of Agriculture you are leasing a bull.

If you are using AI, at least 80% of the bulls used must be from four- or five-star bulls on either the terminal or replacement index (on a within- or across-breed basis). If you use both a bull and AI you must meet the requirements of both. The penalty for not meeting these requirements is 100% for the 2021 BDGP rollover scheme and 60% for people who entered BDGP II in 2017. If you are switching from a stock bull to AI this spring, you need to notify the Department ( as they will see no stock bull on 30 June 2021 and no AI-born progeny born on the holding in 2021.

BEAM deadline

The 30 June deadline for reducing the bovine nitrogen production on your farm by 5% is two weeks away. If you think you are not going to meet the required reduction, you need to apply to the Department of Agriculture via for the new reference nitrogen calculation period of 1 January to 31 December 2021. If you are unsure on your figures or it’s too close to call, you should apply for the new reference period anyway. If you subsequently hit the 30 June deadline the Department will communicate this to you in July and you won’t have to fulfil the requirements of the new reference period. If you are in doubt about what to do, contact your agricultural adviser.