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Cows 365 Blog

May 2010 - Posts

  • Drought inhibiting weed control in maize crops in County Cork

    Maize commencing to come up above plastic with current weather. Growing very rapidly.  With a client who has an issue with weed infestation.  Very severe and is associated with the herbicide used in conjunction with weed control. Needs to be activated with moisture with the prevaling dry conditions.  There is insufficient moisture to activate the pellated herbicide and the weed infestation is extreme,  This is in turn is using up essential nutrients needed for growth of the maize.

    Dr Dan



  • Suckler cows with poor body condition score

    On a call in  near North Tipperary this morning. Suckler cows presented with poor body condition score. The only opportunity to synchronise these animals was using a progesterone  device inserted per vaginum. None of the animlas were cycling, Basically poor nutritional management giving rise to an oestrus state which was compounded by the suckling effect. It is hard to understand why people should run  commercial herds of cattle and delay the calving pregnancy interval by nutritional mis-management as the economies of suckling cows are poor enough without compounding it with bad management.

    Dr Dan Ryan


  • Pre-Pubertal state in animals

    Maiden heifers presented today non cycling on many farms. These heifers are in deep pre-pubertal state although they are of age to have normal cycles. They have undergone severe nutritional or environmental stressors over the phase from birth to breeding age and have not come out of puberty. Indeed, some of these animals may have been cycling prior to housing last winter, but because of the mis management over the winter period, they are now in a pre-pubertal state.Treatment in these animals will not work and farmers inject prostaglandin, use intra-vaginal progesterone devices and synchronise oestrus. This is an absolute failure unless the animals are cycling.

    Dr Dan Ryan 

  • Pre Breeding scanning

    In the Dingle area today entailed pre-breed scans of dairy herds which are starting their breeding programmes this week. In this part of Kerry, most of the herds calve in the Spring time from the middle of February onwards.Winters are milder here than in other parts of the country and the grass growth season is earlier. Farmers like to get the cows out to grass as soon as possible after calving to satisfy some of their cows appetite  with grazed grass. It is very worthy to note today, the fact that the percentage of cows  cycling greater than 20 days calved was 90% overall.The average last year was close to 70%. It's noticeable dry weather with good grass covers and good dry matter intakes has resulted in improved in good body condition score of cows and more cows as a result for breeding.

    Dr Dan Ryan

  • Breathtaking scenry in Dingle, County Kerry

    Yesterday May 12, 2010 - heading down to an area west of Dingle, County Kerry, To me this is the most picturesque area of Ireland with mountains, valleys and  climbing over one hill opens up a new vista with fantastic scenery abounding. Dairy farms are small down here, many part-time farmers have gone into suckling. It is not the sheer profit that is made in farming down here that really matters but the love of animals that people have.  However, it is a shame that a living cannot be made from farming in this part of rural Ireland.Farm sizes are generally small, fragmented and because of the existence  at the end of peninsula here, possibilities of travelling to work in the larger urban areas of Killarney and Tralee is not really feasible with farming part of life on a day to day basis. Anyway, the off-farm jobs in the building industry  and other electronic industries no longer pertain for many individuals in rural Ireland. The interest in cows be it beed or dairy is excellent.

    Dr Dan

  • The first sound of summer !

    Scanning cows on a dairy farm  in County Limerick.The silence of the scanning, the cows in the milking parlor and  the piercing sound of the cuckoo bird. I  had not expected to hear the sound of the cuckoo as it is now rather rare to hear her voice in the landscape of Ireland. The young child in the parlor had never heard the sound of the cuckoo before. The parents  had to explain about the significance of the sound to child. The farmer turned around and said  and said to me  it is a sign of summer.The habitat of the cuckoo is down along by the Shannon estuary from Limerick city - a marshy type soil with forestry in the background.

    Dr Dan Ryan

  • Favourable submission rates in East Cork/Waterford area

    Visiting  farms in East Waterford this afternoon. Submission rates according to a local AI technician are alot higher this Spring  compared to last year. Cows are in better body condition score. More concentrates were fed earlier in the Spring because of shortages of silage and poor silages qualities  & with the dry weather for the past 3 weeks.Cows have been outdoors on a full-time basis and heat detection rates are higher because of higher dry matter intakes. However, milk production has increased substantially. The number of herds in the  East Clare/Waterford region has increased with a number of  new herds established  without any quota.attached which will increase the risk of a quota in the current milk production year. Similiar surge in milk production has been reported to me from the Lakeland supply area in the North Midlands in the past week.


  • Love of the land and animals

    Visited a farm outside Millstreet, County Cork yesterday. Sad case here with an elderly batchelor farmer  who got a stroke and has gone blind as a result of it. He can no longer see his stock and can no longer see his land. His nephew got me to scan his suckler cows and unfortunately most of the herd will have to be sold because there is no one to take care of them or the land. The batchelor farmer is now in a nursing home as he is unable to take care of himself. It is a sad way to end life from the freedom of the land and the beautiful views that he encountered each day of his farming life from the hills in Millstreet. Unfortunately since the man became ill, some of the young stock became pregnant to other weanlign stock stock bulls on the farm and were in calf too early in age,As a result they were stunted and reproductive life was destroyed because of calving difficulty and poor involution post calving.

  • preparation of belgian blues for superovulation and embryo transfer

    visited a farm outside Portaloise today breeding belgian blue cattle.The farmer has a belgian blue cow that calved last December and wanter her lined up for  Superovulation and embryo transfer to surrogates. Investigated both the potential  donor cow and the  suckler cows as potential surrogates for embryos. The donor had two previous Cesarean sections and had shown no evidence of this from the fertility assesment.However, the cow had not a previous oestrus and was just in heat today.  Further assesment of the animal as she walked around the yard indicated that the main problem associated with delayed involution post calving ws that the rear legs of the cow were very poorly set relative to the body of the animal and the client claims this was associated with the fact the cows were on slatts for the winter months. This may explain part of the problem but the belgian blue breed would have a very high incidence of stock with poor legs giving rise to poor reproductive performance. My recommendation to this client was to ignore the current oestrus cycle, prepare the animal for embryo collection by putting her outdoors on grass for approx 6 weeks  and to introduce a diet with minerals & fatty acids designed around embryo collection.

  • The importance of Diet management

    Visited a farm outside Donohill, Co Tipperary. This farm has 60 Holstein Friesian cows approx. We had visited this farm about 6 weeks ago and the BCS of the cows was poor and rate uterine involution in the cows was poor. A nutritionist was brought on board, diet management  was adjusted for dry cows and cows that were calved. On todays visit ,we saw a dramatic improvement  in BCS and improvement  in the rate of uterine involution. The number of cows that have been submitted for AI and the  number of cows pregnant to 1st service period for the first 10 days of breeding, in excess of 60% of cows presumed pregnant, were pregnant. This is a good example of a diet management program giving results in terms of herd health  & reproductive health. The client in question is planning to facilitate a cow with a higher genetic potential for milk production.The client is also part of a discussion group with farmers of like minds with a high production type cow and low production.

    Dr Dan Ryan

  • Broadband

    Visited a farm outside Scartaglen in Co Kerry which brought home to me the impact of Broadband availibility in Rural Ireland. This family farm and the use of Broadband for them has transformed their access to information and  enclose info from the farm to agencies as required. They could register calves calves-on-line,complete application forms as needed on line and gain access to informationat the touch of a button. This was removed suddenly from them because they were not in the Broadband catchment area. They will need to wait another 6 months before they will gain acess.This is a major issue in rural Ireland.Some areas have no access to Broadband  and the dial up system is  not very satisfacory as it is very slow.We have a profile generated for these customers on which cannot be accessed by them to view or to add new photos. They would need to go to the Library in the nearest town which is approx 10-15 miles in distance.

    Dr Dan Ryan

  • Uterine involution

    On a farm visit to Scartalgen in County Kerry to a holstein dairy herd for a pre breed reproductive examination. A very high incidence of cows resulting in mastitis which was not observed by the client and this is explained by the fact that the early ovulation prior to uterine involution results in delayed completition of involution and the establishment of an uterine infection which does not present itself as a discharge to the general environment of the animal. Animals in an anoestrus state do not present with this condition and from our experience, the animals do not present with an overt oestrus early post calving. This is also identified where MooMonitors are in place to detect oestrus, that early post ovulation oestrus is not modelled by an increased level of activity giving rise to an overt oestrus and an increased activity picked up the activity monitor.

    Dr Dan Ryan

  • Flying herd

    Visited a a herd outside Ballydesmond, Co Kerry with what is termed a  flying herd.whereby customer purchases young holstein friesian cows that are not pregnant and runs them with a stock bull. Those that are confirmed pregnant, he sells them again. thi system works well for him with Spring calving herds where those that are empty are purchased by them,housed and a stock bull put with them. They calve in the Autumn time and then resold. It is surprising  of the cows purchased , 90% consistently go in calf over a 13 week period, as these animals would have been deemed infertile based on a previous program.



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