Weanling sales will get under way in the coming weeks and presenting animals in the best possible condition will increase buying interest.

Farmers who sell in this market every year know how to maximise the value of weanlings. But for farmers dipping their toe in this market for the first time, outlined are some steps to get ready for sale.

1 Have animals wormed and vaccinated

Buyers want healthy weanlings as they are at less prone to problems such as pneumonia and will thrive once they arrive on their new holding.

Make sure all routine treatments for internal and external parasites are up to date and have the auctioneer announce this when selling.

Calves that are properly wormed and vaccinated for respiratory problems tend to be more presentable when sold.

2 Creep feeding

Calves destined for sale this autumn should now be on creep feed to maintain weight gain. This will also reduce the calf’s reliance on milk from the cow, breaking the bond with its mother.

3 Forward creep grazing calves

Allowing a calf to creep graze ahead of cows will gradually weaken the bond with its dam. This reduces the stress of weaning. Calves that are under less stress are more saleable.

Start by fencing off a corner or headland of a paddock. This means calves are within sight of the cow, keeping animals settled and less inclined to break wires.

Raise the electric wire at the points where it meets the boundary fence of the paddock. Once calves are used to creeping forward, the area for grazing can be increased.

4 Tidy up horns

If calves were missed when dehorning back in the spring, tidy up the horns now. This gives time for the buds to heal up again before animals are sold in autumn.

5 Clipping cattle

Clipping cattle a day before selling or the morning of the sale can help to improve the appearance of weanlings.

Run the clippers up and down both sides of the calf’s spine, down the hindquarters and tail if soiled. Some farmers like to clip the top of the head also.

Cattle that are clipped will be able to regulate body temperature better when housed, making animals less prone to pneumonia. Again, this is one less task for buyers and can increase buying interest.

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