Now is an excellent time for all Fonterra suppliers to reflect on the Co-operative Difference Animal Wellbeing Plan completed in conjunction with vets at RVM time. The rationale for these plans is that “customers and consumers increasingly require that food producers demonstrate that animals are healthy, productive, contented and treated with respect throughout their lives”. Thus, the Co-operative Difference is an opportunity for farmers to demonstrate that this is happening on their farm, and to benchmark some standards that can constantly be improved on. Vets are passionate about animal wellbeing, so keep checking in with you vet about how we can help you to keep raising the wellbeing bar.
- Tailpaint is the order of the day – pre-mating heats should be recorded from 35 days before planned start of mating, so most farms should be seriously thinking about this now, if it is not already underway. Your tailpaint plan should make it easy to identify everything you need to (heats/non-cyclers/early-calver/late-calver/mated…etc.).
- Plan your mating – be it heat detection aids, CIDR timings, Why-wait programmes or phantom cow prevention. A repro-ready consult with your vet is a good place to start and these are free for members. Don’t forget to book in your AB techs, especially for CIDR AB days, and train your staff in heat detection.
- Plan your bulls and make sure they’re blood-test BVD free and BVD vaccinated.
- Sort mastitis issues early – milk cultures are the best way to know what you’re dealing with and how to best treat it. Keeping all the machine parts and rubberware up to scratch will reduce teat damage and help prevent infection.
- Check your bulk milk BVD – if your herd has become positive this year, it’s important to remove the infection before mating.
- Bloat treatment should be starting now. For those using Rumenox/Rumensin this will help, but you may still need bloat oil if it’s a bad year.
- Metricheck the late calvers – this is probably the best intervention to help catch them up.
- Scan your autumn-calving cows.
- Draft for preferential feeding. Whether it’s once a day or just a smaller mob with more feed offered, it pays to look after heifers and light cows early to give them the best chance of cycling at PSM.
- Mineral check/pre-mating bloods – Especially coming into the repro season, it pays to make sure your trace elements are on track.
- Lame cows – identify and treat these girls early and appropriately. Lift up every lame foot before giving antibiotics. Our vets enjoy sharing their knowledge of lame cows, so if you or your staff would like more training in this area, please do get in touch.
- Booster vax for 5 in 1 / 7 in 1 / 10 in 1 – four to six weeks after the first vax.
- Dehorn the remainder of the calves.
- Avoid grazing calves on effluent paddocks/sick-cow paddocks to decrease the spread of Johne’s disease.
- Drench calves after they have been on grass for three to four weeks.
- BVD vax, BVD vax, BVD vax – For most farms, the biggest risk of contracting BVD is sending unvaccinated young stock out grazing. Make sure calves are vaccinated before going out grazing, and heifers are boosted before mating.
- Plan your synchro programmes – remember they still need to be well grown and cycling for the best results.
Have a good run-up to mating!