Coastal farming in warm weather throws up a few challenges work wise, but it’s built into the annual plan. Some years you’ll have to feed bales in summer and other years you won’t. The cows got three bales last week just to keep them content and slow down the rotation.
The proximity to the ocean means temperatures aren’t as high as other parts of the country have experienced and moisture in the form of coastal fog helped on a few mornings too. There’s an added bonus of a swim to finish the day.
The calves were in the yard for their blackleg vaccine booster last week and the focus on improving docility has made the job much easier.
Dung samples taken beforehand revealed low worm egg counts, so there was no blanket dosing of stock. Less than 10% of the calves have received a worm dose to date. Lack of thrive or dirty behinds were the deciding factors on whether they were dosed.
Perhaps it was a coincidence but three of the calves requiring treatment were all born a few weeks prematurely. One also had a bad dose of coccidiosis so got another treatment for that. She either slipped through the net when all the calves were treated for it initially or had an extra high infestation to begin with. It was the first year where it appeared in calves but, luckily, it was spotted early and all calves were treated at a young age.
Regarding worming, there won’t be any other dosing until just before weaning begins unless an animal shows any visible symptoms. The same applies to the 2020-born heifers. Only two were treated this year, both have underlying issues and the worm egg count for the group was low.
The aim to reduce wormers isn’t done on a whim based on a social media theory. My vet suggested I try it in an effort to reduce the chances of anthelmintic resistance developing on the farm. The practice has evolved over time and is done in conjunction with strategic use of faecal egg counts.
Strong run of prices
I took advantage of the strong run of prices for cull cows and sent a pair to the mart recently. With trade on fire, it made no sense holding on to them until the autumn. A factory price in excess of €3.80/kg would be required to top what they made.
Calving season finally came to a close before the end of June. With five cows left, I was on course to have intervention at calving in single figures. A bit too much condition on those saw three cows, including a set of twins, requiring some rope work. Early May calving works OK as we start late but June is a step too far.
Efforts are well under way to make sure that happens. The heifers had the bull removed five weeks ago. He was brought home to the older group of cows that had finished a month of AI.
Last week, he was removed from that group along with the late-calvers and he was put with a small group of late-calving cows that will get another chance. I was lucky with the timing as all were bulled since he joined them.
I just have to hope that the heat of the last week doesn’t have any negative impact. If they do remain in-calf than they should be due at the beginning of May next year, which will tidy up the work load significantly.
Scanning will tell if the plan works.