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Cows 365 Blog

  • Grass supply limited

    Farmers in Co. Limerick told me that grass supply has been limited by the availability of aftergrass subsequent to the second cut silage. Many second cuts should have been harvested 2 to 3 weeks ago. The quality of second cut silages can be expected to deteriorate. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • Mould contamination in bales of silage

    On a farm visit in Co Offaly today a client complained about mould contamination in purchased bales of silage.He had to purchase baled silage for his herd of Brown Swiss cows due to feed shortages. He claimed that he had no problems with mould contamination when he insured that 22 wraps of silage encased his silage versus the standard 16 wraps. This issue is more pertinent to high dry matter silages. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • Fattening cull cows not justified at current cattle and feed prices

    Visited a client outside Delvin, Co. Westmeath where I scanned cows for fattening. The client wanted to identify those cows pregnant and who would not suit the fattening period of 100 days. He informed me that he is now planning to buy cull cows for fattening this autumn on the basis of cattle and feed prices. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • Scanning reveals multiple ovulations in dairy cows.

    Visited 2 farms in Co. Limerick today, where we diagnosed a cow carrying triplet heifers which were 85 days old, and a cow with 5 ovulations. The latter cow has previously had twins, Quins, and Quads. In her previous 3 parities. In my opinion this is a record for natural births by a bovine Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • River Bride bursts its banks

    Traveling from Fermoy into Co. Waterford this morning. The river Bride bursts its banks rich farmland and crops of maize are flooded. This can cause devastation for the farms in question and indeed feed shortages. Heavy rain and gale force winds overnight, has now left ground saturated. Poaching of grazed pastures will become a problem if this continues on waterlogged land. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Neospora has an extremely negative effect on reproductive performance.

    Visited a client outside, Doonbeg, Co. Clare. This client informed me that 37 out of 80 of his dairy cows, tested positive for Nespora. Last Autumn a number of cows aborted. The post mortem diagnostics on the foetii did not identify Nespora, rather blood samples identified the disease. The client identified that lawn clippings were the source of infection. The dog is the intermediate host for Nespora. Dog faeces on the lawn were mulched with the grass clippings, which inhibited the cows selecting against decontaminated faeces.
  • Simmental Cross Friesian cow back in calf after 6 days calving.

    Scanning cows in Carlingford, Co. Louth, reveals the shortest calving to pregnancy interval ever recorded. With our new system for recording scanning events. We have a system which incorporates a passport for every animal. The system provides me with information pertaining to days calved and days served and parity of the animal. In a case study on a farm in Carlingford today, a Simmental cross Freisian suckler cow was presented for scanning. The cow calved 38 days previously. I was in shock as was the client, when he asked me to recheck the animal when I announced that she was 32 days pregnant. I recorded video footage of the pregnancy and the tag to the animal as substantial evidence of my observations. Generally early ovulation from Day 10 to 15 post calving is associated with delayed uterine involution. High incidence of silent ovulation. This in my opinion is equal to a foal in heat and never recorded in my vast experience over the past 20 years. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • 1985 silage

    On calls in Co. Derry today, where a client told me that silage was getting very scarce during the cold spell in April and May. He informed me of a farmer who makes and sells silage on an animal basis. Over the years, the silage pit was never emptied and was replenised on an annual basis with new season silage. With the demand for silage this year, they had reached the back of the pit where silage had been made in 1985. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • Bleeding calf syndrome

    On a farm visit to Co. Limerick today a client revealed that he lost 5 calf's to bleeding calf syndrome. A number of clients revealed the same to me, over the past 6 months. This has been associated with a B.V.D. vaccine which has been removed from the market. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • Witty Kerry farmer

    Visited a dairy farmer outside, Listowel, Co. Kerry, today. Dawn had just broken and we started to scan a herd of cows baled up in self-locking barriers. Half of the cows were baled up outdoors, where a harsh cutting wind swept in over our bodies. I made a comment 'This is a harsh November morning'and the client replied 'This is going to be a long winter'. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • Pre Breed Scanning of Dairy Cows

    Farm visits today entailed a series of dairy farmers throughout the Dingle peninsula in Co. Kerry. A range of reproductive problems were encountered and targets were set for dairy farmers to maximise submission rate over the following three week period. Breeding programmes are just about to begin on these farms with a preference for calving from the 15th of February 2013 onwards. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • Difficult Grazing Conditions In Co. Limerick.

    Calls today centered around the Golden Vale in Co. Limerick. Both dairy and suckler cows are back indoors on alot of farms, grazing conditions have become very difficult and grass growth rate diminishing rapidly resulting in feed shortages. This combined with a milk price drop has left moral very low. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • No Anal passages

    On a farm visit in Co Kerry visited a Pedigree Holstein breeder who informed me that he had 6 calves born this year with blocked anal passages. The calves died within days after birth. I contacted a friend in the veterinary profession, who informed me that the incidence of the condition has increased with no explanation, as to the occurrence of the problem. At present their is a large post mortem study of calves being undertaken in Moorepark, Fermoy, co. Cork. A significant number have presented dead calf. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.ie
  • Rearing beef calf Using Either Jersey Cross Or Holstein Freisian Bull Calves.

    Visited a client in Co. Limerick. The client informed me that he had set up a trial on his farm last year whereby he had 31 Jersey Freisian and 31 Holstein Freisian bull calves. The average cost of Jersey cross calves is €40, while it is €140 for Holstein Freisian bull calves. At 12 months of age there was a 70 kg liveweight difference in favour of the Holstein Freisian calves. This more than compensates for the extra costs of the Holstein Freisian cross. However, a major management issue arose when the calves were turned out to grass last April. Jersey crosses started fighting which was exacerbated with inclement weather. Pastures were destroyed and the Jersey crosses had to be brought back indoors. Electric wires had to have been installed overhead, to prevent bulling. Grassland management is also difficult. He now has excess grass and he will need to purchase extra cattle in order to improve grassland management. In conclusion the negative value of the Jersey bull calf is not fully Bourne out as well as the beef value associated with E.B.I. Dr Dan
  • Zerograzing in the dairy herd

    A client in Co Laois informed us that he was zerograzing his dairy herd by night time. Grass was brought in from an outside farm, as the grazing platform was too small on the home location. He remarked that a load of grass weighted 2 tonnes during the recent dry spell, whereas that increased to 4 tonnes during wet weather last week. This has to impact negatively on dry matter intakes. Dr Dan
  • Induced calvings in dairy herds

    At this time of year a common feature observed in relation to a number of cows presented which have been induced to calf, prior to their due date, to enhance milk production from grazed grass. This is not without complications, as uterine infections are a common feature, which is compounded by early ovulation post calving. Dr Dan
  • Estrus Synchronization In A Batch Of Maiden Heifers

    This time of year, a major focus of breeding programmes entails estrus synchronization in maiden heifers. Diagnostic ultrasonagraphy is an excellent tool, to identify the stage of the estrus cycle, group heifers for estrus synchronization, identify heifers unsuitable for breeding, such as freemartins, and those in pre-puberty. The approach of blind synchronization, using hormones, creates both welfare issues and wasteful use of hormones. Dr Dan
  • Pre breed scan in a large dairy herd

    Scanned over 250 dairy cows outside, Mallow, co. Cork. Whereby cows were divided into several reproductive classifications, to maximize the opportunity for high selection rate during the first half of the breeding season. I identified 25 cows for A.I. The following 48 hour period. Many of these would have gone undetected, it costs €250 with missed heats. The overall cost of scanning the herd was only a fraction of the opportune costs. Dr Dan
  • Scanning reveals abnormalities in a fetus.

    Visited a client outside Ennis, co. Clare today. He told me that I had previously scanned a cow with an abnormal fetus. The calf was born with a clef palate and twisted front legs. The calf is alive today but requires continuous management to supply it with milk. Dr Dan
  • Superlevy effects on cows and calves

    Early April with the advent of a new quota year. Milk supplies far exceeded quota available in the Glanbia and Dairygold regions. This will result in a superlevy being imposed on many dairy farms. At farm level, many cows were nutritionally compromised, which will have an adverse effect on the calving to pregnancy interval. An immenient breeding programme where calves that were overfed old milk are now facing the sudden shock of milk withdrawal. Dr Dan
  • when is a bull past a useful life as a stock bull

    Visited a client in Co. Kerry today. This client had a serious fertility problem with his dairy herd, he questioned vitamins, and minerals. When we discussed the stock bull he announced that the stock bull was 10 years old. Considering the problems he had, I advised the client to remove the stock bull as he was infertile. The client looked at me and said 'Sure we will chance him anyway'. Dr Dan
  • Coffee for twisted stomachs in cows.

    On a farm visit in Co. Derry this morning. I was scanning a cow, when I saw the client empty a cup of coffee into a litre jug of water. He then drenched the animal with same. He told me he was doing this to avoid surgery for same. There is a scientific explanation supporting this procedure, however another client visited in the area dismissed this procedure as unsuccessful on his farm.
  • Selecting recipients for an embryo transfer programme

    Our first call this morning was to a pedigree Simmental breeder in North Cork. He had previously flushed a Simmental cow, which had given 16 embryos, 4 were superfertilized and 4 were frozen. In the meantime, he purchased 11 embryos for an embryo transfer programme. 11recipients were scanned, 2 were diagnosed as freemartins and 1 had abnormal uterine tone. Scanning also revealed the ipsilateral horn had matched the stage of development of the embryo the size of the CL measured today. Therefore late morla's and blastocyst's are to be transferred to recipients with larger cl's and early morla's to those with smaller cl's.
  • How useful are sires with short gestation lengths

    The EBI System in Ireland places a large emphasis on the sires delivering short gestation period. How useful is this?. The majority of AI with proven sires is used in conjunction with cows that calf early in the calving season or is used within the first 6 weeks of a breeding programme, whereby a short gestation is of little benefit to subsequent reproductive performance. Shorten gestations would definitely be beneficial towards the end of a breeding programming. Dr Dan
  • Redwater in a dairy herd maybe linked to subsequent reproductive performance

    Visited a dairy herd in Co. Limerick today where we scanned a herd of cows on an autumn calving programme. 16 of the cows presented had succumbed to redwater prior to calving last September. 10 of this group of 16 were not pregnant today, 3 had dead embryos present in the uterus and a further 4 animals had inflammation of the uterus. All of these cows had a 90 day opportunity to establish pregnancy to a minimum of 90 days gestation. Dr Dan
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