Published Wednesday, 23rd October 2013 in SAC Consulting news
What a difference a year makes for farmers! Silage clamps have been filled and hay stores refilled. Meanwhile calves and lambs have performed well, with good grass and the sun on their backs.
But experts from Scotland’s Rural College warn the legacy of the summer of 2012 and the recent terrible winter and spring is still with us. At a free meeting near Moniaive on Tuesday 5 November, organised by staff from SAC Consulting, a Division of SRUC, there will be an opportunity to consider better ways of managing disease and ill health in the beef suckler herds, where calves are born and Scottish quality beef production begins.
According to Ian Pritchard of SAC Consulting, after a seriously challenging 12 months farmers are now more hopeful and better able to plan ahead.
He said: “The better weather and buoyant prices now being received for finished cattle and suckled calves, sold as “stores” for others to finish, has created a more positive attitude amongst beef farmers. But while prices are good they cannot afford to be complacent. There is a lot of scope for improving production in the Scottish suckler herd and that’s what we will discuss at Shancastle courtesy of Klondyke Farms.”
Ian manages the UK-wide Premium Cattle Health Scheme for SAC Consulting. It helps members tackle a range of diseases and conditions that can affect animal welfare, drag down efficiency and cost the business through lost production. He believes that as well as the programme of talks the opportunity to look round the cattle and buildings at Shancastle will interest a lot of farmers.
Shancastle extends to 331 hectares. Suckler cows are the main enterprise and the herd is mainly spring calving, with all the cattle on the holding finished for the beef market. Some of their cattle supply the businesses own retail outlets throughout Scotland and Northern England. Klondyke Farms have a comprehensive herd health plan in place, which is reviewed annually with Nithsdale Vets, paying particular attention to detail to maximise output.
To that Ian has added a programme of leading experts who will present advice and information on topics including the management of pneumonia and other respiratory diseases over the weaning period, dealing with the challenge of liver fluke, the latest information on Johne’s wasting disease in cattle and the threat of midge-borne Schmallenberg disease. They will use on farm examples to discuss weaning management, targeted winter rationing and bull fertility.
The event begins at 10.30am and will finish at 3.00pm and lunch will be provided. While the event, supported by Zoetis, is free, it will help those organising the catering if those planning to attend register with the SAC Consulting Dumfries Office on 01387 261172.
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