Potential animal health issues, tasks to consider and reminders for August include…

Dairy

Calving will be well underway on most farms and hopefully your transition plan has minimised the occurrence of any “down” cows. This season we are facing a shortage in supply of magnesium oxide. Have a talk to your veterinarian about alternative forms of magnesium supplementation.

The optimal time for detecting and treating cows with endometritis is between eight and 21 days post-calving.

Hygienic calf management is essential throughout the entire season. Picking up calves twice daily in clean trailers and spraying their navels with iodine is good practice. All calves should be receiving 10% of their body weight of first milking colostrum within six-12 hours of birth.

Sheep and Beef

Close observation of ewe health, especially those carrying multiples, is recommended. Increasing feed levels in the weeks coming into lambing are key to improved lambing performance. Restricting feed does not prevent bearings and is more likely to precipitate metabolic problems such as milk fever and can compromise lamb survival.

Administer clostridial vaccines two weeks prior to lambing to ensure antibodies are in high concentrations in the colostrum. If you vaccinate too early with standard 5-in-1 vaccine, the peak of antibodies will have come and gone before the udder is actually producing colostrum. If you have scanned out your lates, consider vaccinating them later.

Young cattle and light cows will benefit from a spring drench with a product containing a “mectin” active ingredient to safeguard against type II inhibited ostertagia.

Deer

Deer farmers will be well aware that the standards for harvesting velvet are being lifted this year. If you haven’t managed to attend one of the local shed meetings on this, get in touch with your vet to discuss how you can modify your velveting set-up to remain compliant.