SCANNING SUCKLER COWS IN RURAL IRELAND
This week was very mild with grass growth rates in ordinarily high. I have noticed daffodils and snowdrops make a steady rise above the grass carpet on lawns at home. It is a pleasure to drive around the country without the fear of ice and snow. The rural potholes of Ireland are the greatest risk to travel. This is a form of “social discrimination” where city dwellers do not face such warzone obstacles.
Farm calls this week covered the South of Ireland. The focus on winter milk production has declined with milk price for liquid milk less than that for manufacturing milk. Risk of superlevy has also placed pressure on farmers, whereby less focus is placed on autumn calving. With the superlevy year ending on the 31st of March, it is difficult to manage the autumn calving section when superlevy risks are high. Thankfully there has been on English and Northern Ireland markets for dairy cattle.
Outside Cork the primary focus this week has been autumn calving suckler herds, and assessment of donors and recipients for embryo transfer programmes. Many suckler farmers are part-time farmers and we have to organise their calls around their work shifts. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer provide employment in Askeaton. Many farmers in rural areas of North Kerry and Limerick would not survive without this source off-farm income. The off-farm job has created social interaction centered around livestock. Our calls on Wednesday afternoon were all to farmers working in factories around Askeaton. One call linked to five other farmers requesting calls.
Reproductive inefficiencies may be unacceptable in the dairy industry, but there is no true measure of the reproductive problems in the suckler herd. There is a due need for the use of ultrasonography as a preventative health management tool to improve the welfare of cows and thereby maximize reproductive performance.
Remember our motto!
Look after the cow and she will look after you!
Dr Dan and all the team @ www.cows365.ie