Potential animal health issues, tasks to consider and reminders for May include...
- Drying off - although feed may not be such a limiting factor this season it is still important to keep a good eye on cow body condition to ensure it doesn't drop too low. Also be aware of falling production levels and potential increased risk of inhibitory substance grades.
- Herd testing - Bulk milk somatic cell count will likely be rising as lactation progresses and cows are beginning to be dried off. Consider investing in a herd test to gain valuable information to assist in making both dry-off and dry cow therapy decisions.
- Trace element monitoring - pre-winter is a good time for liver biopsies to ensure levels of copper, selenium and cobalt are adequate.
- Leptospirosis vaccination - autumn is a perfect time to boost your herd prior to winter, being the period of greatest risk. Ensure that young stock are included in this programme and that the interval between annual vaccinations never extends beyond 13 months.
SHEEP and BEEF
- Mating - continue to monitor plane of nutrition for both ewes and rams. Ensure adequate ram ratios and that rams are active, sound and in good general health.
- Planning for winter - consider timing of winter shearing, when to book in your scanning, prepare an autumn/winter feed budget and relate it to body condition score, and consider the benefits of iodine supplementation of ewes.
- Mating - keep a close eye on stags as mating progresses. Monitor general health, body condition and any signs of lameness, and act quickly at any sign of a problem.
- Vaccinations - now is a good time to make sure all your horses are up-to-date with all their vaccinations, particularly mares that are in foal.
- Worming - autumn is a good time to drench horses of ALL ages with a product containing the active moxidectin (for example Ultra-moxTM) to control cyathostomes which inhibit over winter, hiding from the immune system, and can cause colitis/colic.
- Planning for winter - regular hoof care will help decrease the risk of foot abscesses and timely dental checks will help, particularly in older horses, ensure maintenance of condition through winter.