Management Hints cattle farmers buying their calves. Therefore, dairy farmers will need to “sell the concept” of profitable calf to beef from dairy stock to neighbouring cattle farmers: Guarantee him calves with adequate colostrum, good calf care during those early days by showing him your set-up. Also inform of the potential for profit based on Teagasc figures. X Teagasc have a number of published booklets on “Dairy Beef Systems” (Consult their web page) X What are the pros and cons of a dairy calf to beef system as outlined by Teagasc? Pros: f Dairy calves are cheaper than suckler weanlings. f not have the need of having a suckler cow in the Do system, f Better control of animal performance when calves are purchased from an early age. Cons: f Calves need to be reared to weanling (automatic/ simple feeders overcome this challenge), f Greater potential for losses, f Volatility in calf prices, concentrate prices and beef price. f Purchasing calves from multiple sources can bring disease risk. Potential Profit: f month finished steer at €70/calf purchase price 23 gave a projected profit of €254/ha (doesn’t include SFP). f Even Jersey X’s, based on older data left a little lower profit (Calf €30) f think calf prices will be less than these because of I supply and demand and I know dairy farmers will be only too glad to sell “in–the-yard” which ‘takes care’ of two of the cons, namely; volatile calf price and buying from multiple sources. f gather in a recent dairy calf to beef trial in Grange I that Holstein Friesians (calves bought from 4-5 highest EBI bulls) when compared with AA from the dairy herd performed as well but finishing a month later (mid Dec) being 20-25kgs carcase heavier. X Spend time in January talking to potential cattle farmer who might purchase your calves. “LEAN” MASTITIS RISK PREVENTION Mastitis causes severe financial losses and frustration during milking. X The last two weeks before calving are key to avoiding mastitis during the first 21 days post calving. Mastitis is prevented by having: f Clean environment f Good milking machine. f Good milking routine. f Good cow immunity. X This is the month where the cow’s immunity decreases – last months of pregnancy and the influence of the dry cow drug wears off. f Scrape yards and cubicles at least twice per day. f Avoid overcrowding (1 cubicle/cow) Move shy feeders and cows that lie in passages onto a straw X JANUARY 2020 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com bedded area with plenty of feeding face. X X X 7 days, indicates that they have been exposed to stress and/or dirty bedding in the last few weeks of pregnancy. If that has happened you in the past put solutions in place. Milking machines are the cause of 40 per cent of mastitis problems f Get it serviced now by a qualified technician. Make sure to get a print-out and act on the recommendations. If your technician isn’t up to scratch get a new technician. f milking and wash up is taking 2-3 hours morning If and evening, consider the addition of a dump line, an automatic bulk tank and milking machine washer. f you are milking more than 8 rows consider adding If a few more units to your machine, if possible. f These suggestions should be seriously considered if you are paying a lot of tax or if you are expanding. Poor milking routine is the cause of 30 per cent of mastitis on farms. f Unfortunately some farmers think they have a good milking routine but they have never learned the correct routine. And more unfortunate they are teaching employees/family their own incorrect methods. f is something that must be re-learned and It practiced. f Padraig O’Connor, Teagasc Grange, does a very good milking routine training course. Ketosis, acidosis and lameness are very much associated with feeding regime: f cows could get ketosis, Fat f Introduce diet changes gradually after calving to avoid acidosis, f Daily walk through the cow, checking for lameness/ tenderness, listlessness, coughing, runny nose and other indicators of poor health. f Heifers calving down or getting mastitis in first 62 “LEAN” CALVING PLAN? This is the last month of pregnancy. Crucial for ease of calving, health of calf, deficiency problems post calving, fertility etc. X Are your cows in good condition? They must be in a body score of 3.25 to 3.5 at calving. If thin, feed them well in early lactation rather than now. X Late calving cows, being fed poor silage, that are thin should get 1-2 Kgs of meal from now until 1-2 weeks before calving. So, go out and assess the body score of your cows and take action. X Calving boxes must now be clean, disinfected and gates must be in good working order. X Check all the expected calving dates of your cows and know exactly which cows are due when. The ICBF print out is very helpful. Divide them out accordingly. A ‘maternity ward’ for 9-10 calvers, due to calve in next few days, is a great idea. X Prepare and have ready all equipment necessary for a successful calving, such as ropes, calving jack, disinfectant, iodine etc X