With the Christmas and the New Year celebrations behind us, our attention is back to the farm and what jobs need to be completed over this month.
If not done so already, the following are some of the things you should shortly be getting ticked off your to-do list.
Vaccinate against scour
Calf rearing on farms can be very labour intensive, particularity if there is a scour outbreak. Rotavirus is the most common cause of calf scour, which usually affects calves when they are between five and 14 days old.
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Where it is an issue, or if there is a risk of it becoming an issue, a one-shot vaccine can be given between three and 12 weeks before calving, which ensures that the cow’s colostrum contains antibodies that protect against three of the main causes of scour – rotavirus, coronavirus and E. coli.
Take soil samples
Now is an ideal time to take soil samples. Anyone who doesn’t have a set of up-to-date soil samples should be taking samples presently or in the near future.
It is important to note that soil tests should be no greater than five-years old. Some farmers will take samples more regularly than this, but all should aim to take samples every three-to-five years.
Once soil sample results are returned, a fertiliser plan for the coming year can be drawn up. This will take the guesswork out of the amount or type of fertiliser to purchase in the spring.
Get calving season ready
There is not long left until calving season kicks off on many spring-calving dairy farms; so it is time to get your ducks in a row.
By now, all calving and calf sheds should be cleaned out and disinfected with any necessary adjustments to sheds made. While ensuring that you will have enough space for all your calves at peak.
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Also, if not done so already, a list of supplies that will be needed for the calving season should be made with these being purchased or ordered in the near future.
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In addition, not only should you be getting ready for calving, you should also be getting prepared for grazing.
Is your grazing infrastructure up to the task? If not, use this time between now and the start of calving to ensure nothing, with the exception of maybe the weather, will prevent you for turning cows out in this spring.