Listeriosis crops up every year in younger cattle and animals being fed indoors. It is an infection of the brain of cattle and sheep caused by Listeria bacteria present in soil.

If the silage harvester picked up bits of soil during harvesting, it can indicate poor fermentation and the presence of Listeria. It usually affects animals under three years, as it is associated with tooth eruption.

During tooth emergence, Listeria organisms can gain entry to the nervous system via the tooth canal and, from there, travel to the brain.

This bacteria can also cause miscarriages in pregnant cows. Symptoms include dullness, drooping eyelids and head tilts. Animals can have partial paralysis in the head area.

Early treatment with antibiotics, e.g. oxytetracycline or penicillin, will be effective in most cases. A long course of treatment is usually necessary as relapses can occur.

In severe cases, it is often recommended to continue treatment for up to one week after the clinical symptoms have disappeared. Housing and giving plenty of fluids is an important part of therapy.

Animals that cannot swallow will need to be stomach tubed with water and electrolytes to give them more time to respond to antibiotic treatments.

Avoiding feeding any silage that is soil contaminated should help reduce incidence. Consult your vet in all cases.

Housing Space

Housing dates are coming closer, especially where ground conditions have deteriorated over the last week. When housing bull weanlings destined for slaughter this winter, pen them based on their final liveweight.

Bulls on ad-lib diets will be gaining 1.3-2kg/day, so over a 120-day feeding period they will have gained 156-240kg of liveweight.

Assuming a group of eight bulls are housed together now at an average of 450kg liveweight and gaining 1.5kg/day for 120 days, there will be an extra 1,440kg of liveweight in the pen by the time they are ready for slaughter – the equivalent of having three extra bulls in the pen at the start of the feeding period.

Space will be limited and animal performance can suffer due to overcrowding.

As these bulls get older they become more aggressive. Removing bulls for regrouping can result in fighting, injury and can be a real health and safety issue unless facilities are very good.

Feeding space for finishing bulls, steers and heifers should be 2.4m2. On straw this should increase to 5m2 for bulls and 4m2 for finishing steers and heifers.

Tullamore Farm Heifer Sale

Tullamore Farm will hold it’s 5th annual in-calf heifer sale on Wednesday 26 October in Central Auctions Roscrea at 8pm. The 30 heifers are all homebred, with some having three to four generations of AI bulls in their breeding.

The majority are in-calf to easy calving AI Limousin bulls, with some in calf to a Salers stock bull. All heifers are genotyped and eligible for the BDGP scheme. All heifers are vaccinated for BVD and Leptospirosis.

For a sale catalogue, message me on Whatsapp at 087 1218734. Online bidding is available via Viewing can be arranged at any time before the sale by contacting Tullamore Farm manager Shaun Diver on 087 2175486.