Be mindful of soil contamination in silage when feeding cattle, particularly where fodder was harvested in difficult ground conditions during the summer.

Silage that has been contaminated with soil should not be offered to cattle, or sheep, as there is a potential that animals will develop listeriosis.

The risk of listeriosis will be higher where low dry matter grass was ensiled, a common occurrence in 2023. Low dry matter grass will result in a poor fermentation of forage.

The knock on effect of listeriosis causes in-calf cows to abort, as well as affecting the nervous system.

A tell-tale sign of cattle affected by the illness is animals constantly circling. Treatment with antibiotics will work if picked up in good time.

When offering silage, check along the feed passage for signs of soil contamination and discard any suspect pockets of fodder.

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