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Centenary Lamb feed scoops Supreme Lamb carcass at 2015 Welsh Winter Fair

Congratulations to the Coney family from Lower Town Farm, Lampeter Velfrey, Pembrokeshire who scooped the Supreme Lamb Carcass prize at the 2015 Welsh Winter Fair.

This season they changed to a lamb blend from our Glanrhyd production facility. Kate Coney stated, “the food was obviously good as they went on to win the supreme champion title“.

For any queries regarding our Centenary Lamb products you can contact us here or contact your local representative.

Coney supreme lamb livestock coney supreme lamb coney supreme lamb

 

Fly Control in the Spring and Early Summer

Flies in both cattle and sheep can as a minimum, cause significant production losses but if left unchecked can lead to death in the most severe cases. The reality is that a lot of the issues can be avoided if there is a suitable management protocol in place.

Sheep

Blowflies are the most widespread ectoparasite affecting sheep in the UK, with surveys showing that every year 80% of flocks will have one or more cases of strike. If not properly controlled, this will result in serious welfare problems and reduced profitability in up to 500,000 sheep.

As I write this in mid-April we have already seen the first case of fly strike in Pembrokeshire. We normally expect to see blowfly strike between May and September but with changing weather patterns, lowland flocks are at risk from March through to December. With increasing flock sizes and the need to rationalise labour use to improve profitability, flocks must have a plan that will provide protection during the risk period and fit with the need to control other parasites.

 

Like most suppliers CCF stock a number of products that treat and protect against fly strike. Some have activity against other ectoparasites as well. They have different modes of action and consequently differing lengths of protection so advice is essential to ensure you use the best product for your flock. The products are all different so always read the manufacturer’s instructions on dose rate, storage and withdrawal periods. Check application equipment is working properly and is calibrated. Replenish dips according to instructions and follow all safety guidelines.

 

Good management and planning can help to reduce the risk of strike occurring. Most strikes (over 70%) occur around the breech or tail where there is faecal and/or urine soiling as these are very attractive to the flies. Wet weather can lead to strike on the backs of unshorn ewes and lambs and footrot can lead to strike in the feet.

Tips that can reduce strike issues:

  • Dag to reduce soiling and/or remove dirty wool around the breech
  • Reduce the incidence of soiling by avoiding nutritional upsets causing scouring and have a sound worm control strategy
  • Tail dock the sheep
  • Avoid breeding from sheep that are habitually struck and/or tend to soil themselves due to their conformation
  • Try to keep sheep away from sheltered fields in the high risk periods
  • Reduce the incidence of footrot

 

Cattle

Cattle also have problems with flies although the issue is more to do with production losses as opposed to chronic disease although flies do spread summer mastitis and eye disease.

All types of flies breed in dung and organic material and the development time from egg to adult can be as little as eight days in summer, rapidly producing large populations. Under typical UK climatic conditions, up to 15 generations of flies can be produced in just one year. This means that the peak fly populations are usually in July and August. However, with unpredictable weather patterns, fly problems can start in April and last into October.

By controlling the environment in which flies breed, fly populations on farm may be reduced. Reducing fly breeding sites like muckheaps as well as keeping the yards clean can help. Think about keeping cattle away from sheltered fields in the summer period especially if there is water present.

Chemical methods can also play a valuable role in controlling the fly population by breaking the fly life cycle. As adult flies are only 20% of the total fly population, with immature eggs accounting for 80%, it is advisable to use a larvacide and adulticide concurrently. Larvacides will kill the larvae (maggots) and stop larvae from continuing their development into flies. Adulticides are ‘knock down’ products that kill flies on application which will continue to kill flies after application.

For on animal control of flies, the choices are either insecticide-impregnated ear tags or Pour-on products which are normally synthetic pyrethroid insecticides.

Animal health suppliers can help with product selection but a top tip is to tackle the problem early. Not wait until the flies become a problem.

Fluke issues in the Spring and Summer

Sheep

As Animal Health Suppliers we are often asked for fluke and wormer drenches for the ewes at this time of year. In reality this is a waste of money as most ewes will not be affected by worms and given the concerns with worm resistance currently in Wales is certainly the wrong thing to do in most cases.

However there will often be a benefit in giving the ewes a flukicide in the Spring in order to prevent some of the pasture contamination that can lead to issues later on in the year. Because the fluke will tend to be older it is an opportunity to use an adulticide which is a different type of flukicide. This should help reduce the dependence on the all-stage flukicides and therefore slow the development of fluke resistance.

Young lambs will not have fluke but potentially they can start picking up fluke when they start to graze. This can lead to condemned livers in the autumn but importantly it will also affect growth rates. However the withdrawal periods with fluckicides can be a problem so on some farms there is merit in using an all stage flukicide early in the summer, well before the lambs go for slaughter. Ask for advice on the best product to use.

Cattle

Abattoirs monitor liver condemnations to fluke and some provide this information to their farmers. Several CCF customers have reported issues over the winter period especially if the animals have not been treated correctly at housing.

Any fluke control programme is aided by preventing cattle grazing the snail habitat or by removal of the snail habitat (through drainage) where possible. However neither of these options may be practical so animals may have to be treated in order to prevent problems such as poor growth rates and lower milk yields.

Advice for farmers on flukicide usage from your animal health advisor will take account of the type and age of cattle, previous farm history, results of abattoir returns, if they are available, and possibly faecal monitoring.

A number of products are available for treating fluke in cattle so they should be used as part of a strategic dosing regime, which means treating the stock in such a way as to limit fluke egg output at critical times of the year, such as spring and early summer. This will help break the fluke life cycle, potentially reducing problems later in the year.

Arable Technology Transfer Day – A huge success

This event held at Dyffryn Farm, near Cardigan on the 23rd of June was a huge success, the day was very much a joint effort, organised by CCF with the HGCA ADAS and Agrovista.

Dr P1060203Jonathan Blake, senior scientist at ADAS and Dr Paul Gosling, research and knowledge transfer manager at HGCA (pictured right) both did an excellent job of showing how ADAS test different active ingredients for both new and existing fungicides, these trials at Dyffryn Farm showed how resistance has caused some of the older fungicides to now alone have very little effect even at higher does rates and also the importance of mixing the newer SDHI fungicides with different actives to prevent resistance and increase the life span of these fungicides.

They also went on to explain the importance of multi site inhibitors such as Bravo (chlorothalonil) and Arizona (folpet)as although these older fungicides because of how they work diseases can’t develop resistance against them. However not forgetting that Bravo can have an antagonistic affect against against others fungicides so in mixtures often Arizona is the better product to be using.
With disease pressure being so high this spring the trials had shown some extremely visible differences. The areas with no fungicide and even single actives at lower dose rates have had such heavy infections of disease there are no leaves left what so ever, severely preventing grain fill.

lyndon harrisLater on in the day Lyndon Harris – CCF’s own agronomist from Agrovista (left), demonstrated how agronomists and agronomy companies such as Agrovista take the trails data on fungicides produced by the HGCA and come up with superior fungicides using these actives that perform even better. For example at Dyffryn farm the HGCA have been testing Adexar (fluxapyroxad + epoxiconazole) as one of the modern SDHI fungicides that works well even at half does rate. However as Lyndon went on to show if instead we use Librax (fluxapyroxad + metconazole) and mix in the epoxiconazole as a separate product. In this case as Ennobe we get a 1.2t/ha yield increase over standard Adexar alone.

Weed control

Also discussed on the day and shown in Mr George’s crops is how annual meadow grass, sometimes seen as the black grass of West Wales doesn’t need to be a problem, and is perfectly manageable even in barley crops, using early residual herbicides.
Berseem Clover – for many people attending the event this will have been the first time they will have heard about using berseem clover as a cover crop on over wintered stubbles. Lyndon Harris explained how it can be used to prevent compaction caused from driving across fields as well as being a green manure fixing nitrogen. Berseem clover has a huge underground root mass applying 2000psi down and 6000psi across breaking up any compaction pans, preventing the need for sub soiling. Extremely applicable in West Wales where many farmers have continuous overwintered stubbles as a means of having somewhere to apply muck and slurry over winter however this causes compaction in many situations.

Precision services

At Dyffryn farm it was announced that CCF are the sole suppliers of the Isaria green area index sensor (pictured below). Chris Harry-Thomas explained to the audience that this attachment allows a fertiliser spreader to sense the green area index of a crop in real time and apply the exact amount of nitrogen to the exact spot in the field. It’s not effected by weather/light, it takes less than 60 seconds to put on and off and is half the price of other similar products.