Animal Health Best Practice showcased in Pembrokeshire
At the end of May the Crymych Branch of Clynderwen and Cardiganshire Farmers held an Animal Health best practice day at Maes y Felin Farm near Whitland hosted by the Williams family. There was an excellent turnout from both local farms and as well as some from further afield.
At the start of the day Paul Williams spoke about the sheep system he has at the farm. The flock at Maes y Felin consists of just over 1200 mainly Welsh Halfbred ewes lambing to Texel and Hampshire rams. The target for the first batch of lambs is to reach 18kg deadweight at 12 weeks solely off milk and grass, whilst the remainder are finished without any form of supplement within 24 weeks of age with them all grading within the R3L bracket.
The first session was a dosing and pour on demonstration by Sean Finn from Elanco Animal Health. Focus was on Gun calibration and maintenance, dosing to the correct weight as well as correct nozzle selection and application technique for fly pour on’s. He pointed out that even if the best product is being used it is wasted if not given or applied correctly.
There was a quiz during the lunch break and something that was apparent from the results was the wide variety of weights guessed for the 4 different lambs marked. This reinforced the need to weigh animals before dosing as some would have been under dosed by as much as 25% if those guessed weights had been used. This has the potential to speed up the onset of resistance on any farm dramatically.
In the afternoon there was a presentation and a practical demonstration by Ieuan Davies of Agrimin on the new Smartrace Lamb Bolus. He spoke about the importance and the production benefits of having the correct minerals available to growing lambs. A number of lambs had been blood tested prior to the day and were showing a lack of essential minerals.
Poor mineral profiles can adversely affect growth rates in lambs so it is important to correct this. Of course if there are problems in lambs it is likely that the whole flock on a farm will have problems such as poor conception rates at tupping. Using a bolus like the Agrimin Smartrace range is an easy way to ensure the balance is maintained.
However whilst a trace element deficiency is often blamed for poor production, rations short of energy or the presence of gut parasites or liver fluke, are often more common causes of ill-thrift. The classic clinical signs associated with trace element deficiencies can be slow to develop. Leading up to this, the only signs may be lighter weights or poorer lambs at slaughter.
Therefore a deficiency state should always be confirmed by independent testing and advice before supplementing stock with extra trace elements.