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 important to keep a good eye on cow body condition to ensure it doesn't drop too low. 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 dry-off and dry-cow therapy decisions.
- Trace element monitoring - pre-winter is a good time for liver biopsies (either standing or from culls) 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 - as mating progresses continue to monitor plane of nutrition for ewes and rams. Maintain adequate ram ratios and ensure 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. Consider the benefits of iodine supplementation of ewes.
- Mating - keep a close eye on stags as mating progresses. Monitor general health, body condition, signs of lameness, and act quickly at any sign of a problem.
- Vaccinations - 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 - To prevent weight loss supplement with hay and/or hard feed. Check teeth and monitor egg count. Look for signs of rainscald and mud fever. Selenium supplementation helps with skin defenses.