VET’S DIARY: Putting the spotlight on toes, teeth and testicles

Another summer has flown past and autumn seems to be here, writes Andrew Sawyer.

Most farmers are happy with plentiful supplies of forage stored for the coming winter, though there are a few still waiting for a good spell of weather for second and third cut silage.

Straw should not be a problem either this winter as long as the wheat can be cut and baled. Much more rain and grain farmers will be tempted to switch on the straw choppers rather than risk sodden straw getting in the way of cultivations for next year’s crop.

We are currently doing a few autumn calvings with cows in fit condition and large calves.

The summer grass has made it difficult to restrict how much these cows have had to eat, but on the plus side their weaned calves tend to be better than last year.

As September approaches, we start to look at rams, checking their toes, teeth and testicles. The next couple of weeks we will test 100s of rams to check they are fertile either before they are sold at the ram sales or to see how many of last year’s rams are still up to the job and how many new ones will need to be purchased.

When buying in any sheep, stock rams, ewes for breeding or store lambs make sure you have a quarantine plan in place to prevent introduction of pests and diseases you don’t want in your flock.

Effective worming to prevent introduction of resistance parasites is important as is treatment for scab, lice and causes of lameness.

When buying in replacement ewes remember abortion vaccines need to be given one month before tupping and often breeding sheep are not properly vaccinated against clostridial and pasturella.

On the cattle side, it will soon be time for pneumonia vaccination and worming for the spring calves.

Some of you are now pregnancy testing early before housing to allow empty cows and heifers to be fattened in the autumn rather than taking up shed space over winter.

This can be done five weeks after the bulls come away from the cows so give us a call if you have time.

There are a busy couple of months ahead of us so let’s hope the weather continues to be kind. It makes such a vast difference to all our lives.