What a difference a season makes

The great weather of spring and early summer is now a memory as we adapt to farming in dry and then wet conditions.

While many dairy farmers have great supplies of silage, we are seeing turnip crops drop from 11 tonnes of DM per hectare to 7 to 8 tonnes. Photosensitivity is also coming through in stock grazing heat-stressed turnips.

For those who are grazing cattle on crops, keep an eye out for Polio. This will present in a variety of ways: blindness, unsteady on their feet, failure to stand, being bullied by other cattle as well as seizures or fits.

To prevent polio, introduce cattle gradually onto the crop and seek professional advice on fertiliser application. Polio is caused by a lack of Vitamin B1; this affects the energy available to the brain, with subsequent death of brain cells. Microbes in the rumen produce the animals’ Vitamin B1 and these microbes are affected by high levels of sulphur; hence the need for good fertiliser advice.

With the recent rain there are three keys areas for sheep: we will have an explosion of gastro-intestinal worms particularly Haemonchus (Barbers Pole) followed by Trichostrongylus. Have your drenching programme well organised.

And with a change to “lush” feed, Salmonella is a risk. Good conditioned ewes will be found dead often near troughs or natural water sources. A watery, green (khaki) coloured diarrhoea containing blood is also typical of the disease; it is not uncommon to lose two to three per day.  Preventative vaccination with Salvexin+B is the key.

Lastly for both sheep and cattle in facial eczema prone areas; spore counts will rise quickly in warm moist conditions following a dry spell.  There are lots of options for prevention - come in and talk with our talented team for more information.

There are lots of options for prevention – come in and talk to our team for more information.


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