Farmer Focus: New year starts with cow MoTs

The Christmas tree is down and all the turkey has been eaten bringing a sigh of relief on farms up and down the country.

The new year always fills me with expectation and hope of great things to come.

Cows are now having their annual MoT, being clipped, given a bovine viral diarrhoea and leptospirosis booster, a high iodine bolus and being dosed for fluke worm, and this year, rumen fluke.

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During our TB test, we took extra bloods and found to my dismay iodine levels were on the floor and vitamin E was also low, but copper was high.

We found rumen fluke and liver fluke in all follow up dung samples.

They are easily controlled, but you have to find it, so take a few samples.

The beef cattle fared much better having received a long-acting wormer in the ear in April. Their samples showed no need to dose at housing, and are now piling on condition and will be heading down the road soon.

My wee Aberdeen Angus cattle that went last month surprised me and killed out between 290kg and 370kg at 17 months, so the experiment will continue.

In recent days, I have been judging entries for the Danske Bank Grassland Farmer of the Year and it has been a real delight. I have already picked up improvements that I may make.

One is pre-mowing paddocks for better use of grass and another is having a slatted feeding area with no roof or walls where the dairy cattle were performing very well. Have I been too kind here in the East providing too many home comforts? This is definitely food for thought.

As the new year continues, let’s hope everyone can embrace what will unfold before them, bad weather, bad prices and even bad decisions, but above all look out for your fellow farmers. World trends and volatility may lead to worrying times for some.


Sam Chesney
Sam Chesney runs a spring calving herd of 120 Limousin cross sucklers in Kircubbin, Northern Ireland. He was 2011 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year.