day's sunshine the cow milks better because she has more feed
The longer the leaf, the greater the surface area available to trap
Hence, the need not to let cows into fresh paddocks until the
Animal healthcare in May
Because of the costs, farmers have gotten careless on
preventative healthcare of animals.
It is cheap, very effective, reduces labour, hassle and expensive
veterinary bills. You should use your vet for this purpose, but the
following reminders may help.
Treat calves for blackleg;
Stomach worms will not be a problem until late June/July;
If using yellow/white dose, no treatment is necessary until
then. I favour this procedure because it builds up some animal
immunity and won't lead to resistance to drugs;
With the ivermectin-type products and boluses, treatment
begins now as per manufacturers' recommendations. If
overdone, the animal may have lower immunity later in life.
Hoose has to be managed differently:
Mild weather in May can lead to an attack. Strong calves will
Using the cheap system, when the first calf coughs, dose all
calves with the cheap dose and this will cure the problem and
convey immunity to all calves.
Young cows (first calvers) that have low immunity may need a
Talk to your vet about a product that has no milk-withholding
To save dosing costs, work on the principle of building up
the animals' immunity from the calf stage.
Magnesium is a must for cows. Make sure they are getting at least
2oz per cow per day.
Meal is very convenient, and some co-ops have mixes that
supply the quantity in 1-1.5kg meal/day. More co-ops and
merchants should do this;
Dispensing automatically through the water supply is very
convenient but expensive;
Many farmers dispense it through a five-gallon drum turned
upside down in the water troughs, and this is working well for
Dusting pastures, a more widespread practice now, at 15lb per
acre (6.8kg) is very convenient, and it works. It can be spread by
hand (on small farms) or with a spinner.
Lameness in cows must be controlled at first sight of tenderness
as it will `cut flesh' off them.
It will seriously reduce milk yield and fertility at this time of
Use the Farm Relief Services hoof-care service;
Foot-bathing with copper sulphate (4kg in 100 gallons of water)
on three consecutive days every month may be necessary;
Check your roadways, but particularly the concrete yard section
where small stones can do very serious bruising damage (they
must be brushed off daily);
Avoid too much movement/hassle in the collecting yard;
Do a locomotion appraisal on the herd good results from this
on green fields.
Stress on cows should be avoided, such as injections, testing,
freeze branding, stray electricity or hassle etc. during the
Fertility will be affected.
Iodine (I), copper (Cu) and cobalt (Co) are important minerals
during the breeding season.
I, which is very important, at 1.2cc per cow per day in water (do
not forget bulling heifers);
Cu in a bolus or meal are your options now;
Co is only a problem on some farms.
Mastitis prevention in May revolves around:
Milking machine working correctly when did you last test it?
Change liners at 2,000 milkings (now, for many farmers);
Milking routine unfortunately, many farmers are causing
mastitis by having bad milking routines. Learn through your
discussion group/Teagasc training courses.
Teat dip may be inadequately done, or not done at all. As it
reduces the spread of mastitis by 50 per cent, it must be done at
15-20cc (even over four teats) each milking. Most farmers don't
apply this amount;
Take out seriously infected cows (known by milk recording) as
they infect other cows This is a waste of money (1,000+ per
cow culled) if you don't address the basic problem causing the
Stray electricity can be a problem on some farms and you
should have it checked by an electrician;