July is usually a month that suckler farmers look to get on top of routine herd management tasks. As always, planning out the jobs to be completed makes it easier to prioritise tasks, manage time and make use of family help.

When it comes to planning out such tasks, outlined are five jobs to consider when it comes to managing cattle in July.

1. Worming calves and stores

Make sure spring- and autumn-born calves are up to date with worm control. Gut and lungworms will be the biggest threat to calves during summer.

If left untreated, or dosing is delayed, weight gain will suffer and calves are more prone to respiratory problems.

If calves require their booster shot for a clostridial vaccine, this is also a good time to administer it.

Store cattle in their second grazing should also be included in the worm dosing programme, helping weight gain over the remainder of the grazing season.

  • 2. Tail-painting cows to monitor breeding activity
  • When calves are brought in for dosing, use the opportunity to spray some tail-paint on cows. This will give an indication of repeat breeding activity in spring-calving cows over the next fortnight.

    Simply use a can of livestock spray paint to mark cows on the tail head. While it may seem unnecessary, it is a cheap and effective way to spot cows coming back in heat and a possible issue with the stock bull.

    3. Pneumonia vaccine

    While weaning is a few months away for most spring-calving herds, late July is a good time to give the first part of a two-shot pneumonia vaccine.

    The follow-up shot can then be given in late August, giving plenty of time for a proper immune response to develop before weaning in autumn.

    Late July is a good time to give the first part of a two-shot pneumonia vaccine

    On farms with an IBR problem, this vaccine can be given at the same time. Properly vaccinated animals are at lower risk of respiratory problems.

    4. Weighing stores

    When worming calves and store cattle, use the opportunity to weigh animals. Not only will it allow for an accurate dose to be administered, it will show up if animals are on target for weight gain.

    This will allow herd owners decide if cattle will kill off grass, require housing to intensively finish or would be better off sold live.

    5. Creep feeding calves

    On farms that sell weanlings during autumn, consider introducing the creep feeder around mid-July, or earlier if grass quality is poor and growth is not meeting demand.

    The same consideration should be given on spring-calving herds where male calves are finished as young bulls under 16 months.

    Introducing the creep feeder to bull calves only in mid-July will increase housing weight and shorten the indoor finishing period.

    Read more

    Thrive: keeping calves on target at grass mid-summer

    Beef management: Pay attention to repeat breeding activity