The wind howls around the house and it has rained all day. The arrival of baby calves is imminent. Somehow it feels almost cruel for them to be born in this weather. The due date of our first calf is 6 February, but with Jersey-cross animals we can expect to have calves next week. Philip and Colm have been busy over the last few days readying the calf shed. All the calf pens were disinfected in September with a product active against rotavirus.

In 2016 we had a severe outbreak. In 2017 all cows and heifers were vaccinated. We still had quite a bit of scour as the numbers built up in the shed. This concerns us because we know it impacts the future growth, fertility and production potential of the cows. This is something we can never quantify on our own farms, but scientific evidence is there to inform us that gut damage has an impact on future production.