Whether you farm full or part time, there is an affordable way to make this challenging time of the year a lot easier.
Calf mortality throughout calving season is most often caused by a result of dystocia problems or difficulties during labour.
The majority of losses occur with heifers who can tend to have a more stressful first time calving or cows that are in calf to a known difficult calving sire.
Close attention and early intervention where possible are required in order to ensure any signs of complications can be addressed by the farmer when needs be.
From here, you can take the necessary steps in order to pull an alive calf to the ground and give it the best start to life.
According to Teagasc, all farmers need to target their mortality rate to be as low as 2.5% at birth and no more than 5% at 28 days.
However, there are common mistakes that farmers make which can add to their mortality rate unknowingly.
So, ask yourself this: what can I do to improve?
As mentioned previously, most calving difficulties are more commonly observed in heifers than in cows, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance.
Three of the main ways you can give your herd the best chance during calving season include:
1 Feeding management
Research has shown that feeding cows late in the evening can reduce the number of cows calving during the night.
A Teagasc study proved that by restricting feeding time between 8.30pm in the evening and at 10.30am in the morning, night-time calvings were reduced by 9% in comparison with unrestricted access to feed.
The likelihood of an observed daytime calving will be increased, which makes earlier and timely intervention more likely.
2 Frequency of observations
On average, farmers observe their cows at least every two to three hours during calving season, with heifers requiring even more frequent attention.
This is where the likes of the Moocall Calving Sensor would dramatically reduce the amount of time spent, particularly at nighttime, checking cows.
3 Have the correct equipment prepared
As a quick checklist, your calving supplies should always include having a set of good-quality calving ropes, a functioning and easy to use calving jack, a bottle of suitable lubrication gel, a pack of long armed disposable gloves and some iodine solution to spray on the navel in an effort to prevent infection.
Other necessities include a milk feeder bottle, stomach tube and a calving detection aid.
This non-invasive, tail-mounted device is absolutely invaluable when it comes to time management at calving.
It measures the cow’s spinal contractions and tail movements to accurately predict the onset of calving to the nearest hour.
As a farmer, all you need to do is turn the device on and place it opposite the vulva on the cow’s tail.
Moocall will then notify you by text message, app alert and/or email notification once calving activity is taking place.
With over seven years on the market and over 16,000 customers worldwide, the company has proven what a valuable piece of technology its calving sensor is and all the great benefits it can bring to farmers.
Visit www.moocall.com or call 01-969 6038 for more information.