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DECEMBER 2019
Management Hints
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
52
lameness.
Money well spent.
Mortellaro has become more common recently.
It is a virus condition around the feet resulting in the
foot being badly swollen (not hot) between the claws
with a bad smell.
An Alamycin spray every day for a few days will clear
it up, using the following procedure wash, dry, spray
and dry.
In more severe cases a footbath of Lyncomycin,
Tetracyline, or Opticide will cure the problem, but do
not overuse antibiotics and alternate these products
to prevent resistance developing.
Consult your Vet.
Walk cows through ordinary footbath (4 litres Formalin
or 4-5 kgs bluestone or zinc sulphate in 200 litres of
water) on three consecutive days, morning and evening,
every month is useful where lameness is a developing
problem.
You must remove the cause of the problem before any
treatment becomes eff ective.
Replacement Heifer Management
Heifer target weights on 1st Dec and quality of silage
drive the decisions:
Weanlings should be 43% of the cows' mature weight;
235-245kg
Incalf heifers should be 83% of the mature weight;
455 470kgs.
Between 1 Dec and 1st April is 120 day. Animals should
now be 220 kgs and should be 320. Therefore, they need
to gain 80kgs weight or 0.67kg/hd/day.
Only 75% DMD silage comes near that gain.
With 65% and 70% DMD you will need to feed 2kgs
or 1.4kgs meal (16%P) ration respectively.
Small weanlings (less than 220 kgs) should be on
1-2 kgs meal (14-16% protein) with good silage,
Strong weanlings need no meals so that they are not
heavier than 340kgs on 1st May; otherwise conception
rate will be poor.
Have lice returned?
Treat again if necessary.
Walk through your pens (carefully) weekly and check for:
Mildly lame heifers being slow to go to feed (take
them out).
Adequacy of lying space and using cubicles.
Adequacy of meal/silage feeding space.
Heifers must be fed regularly.
Same time every day for meals and silage.
Move in silage to feed trough so animals do not have
to stretch or struggle.
Dry cow minerals should be introduced in late Dec
for early Feb calving heifers.
Avoid stress causing poor fertility in 1st calvers by mixing
cows and in-calf heifers now rather than after calving;
They must have a cubicle for each cow, plenty of
silage feed face, adequate room at the standing area
where feeding silage and easy access points to the
silage feeding.
To ensure your contract rearer achieves target weights
on 1st May 2020 discuss the following with him:
Present weight relative to targets, with particular
emphasis on animal under and over target.
The quality of the silage and its potential to achieve
target weights on 1st April it must be analysed for
DMD and minerals.
The housing; overstocked animals grossly under-
perform.
Feeding Silage Care
Pit management greatly infl uences the "freshness" of
silage.
Remember air rots silage, so, you must manage the
pit face to minimise air penetration.
Use a shear grab or saw to cut down or remove silage
from the face.
Only disturb small areas of the pit at each feeding.
Do not leave layers of tossed silage exposed to the air.
Prevent water running down the face of the silage pit
by rolling back the polythene.
But weigh down this polythene tightly on top and at
the sides.
Too many farmers pull down the polythene over the
face of the pit.
This is wrong, as it causes the glass-house eff ect, results
in quicker rotting and fungal growth.
Nothing could be worse for silage intake.
Research has showed the following:-
Cows spend 6 hours per day eating silage.
Cows have three feeding activity peaks, viz- sunrise,
feed placement and feed push-up.
Cows will generally only spend 10 minutes queuing
for silage and then get "fed up" waiting.
Severe wind and rain on exposed feeding area
reduced silage intakes by 4 kgs DM per head per day.
Cows housed in groups of 24 eat 1 to 2.6 kgs DM per
head per day more silage than those in groups of 8,
because they eat faster, more frequently but spend
less time eating.
The implications may be worth applying, and remember
thousands of euros are lost annually on poor pit
management.
Financial plan for 2020
Financial management on most dairy farms is at an all-
time low. Farmers just don't want to do it with the result
decisions are made in the dark and motivation is lacking
to become more effi cient.