Suckler calf government during weaning: How can farmers optimise efficiency?

Suckler calf government during weaning: How can farmers optimise efficiency?Suckler calf government during weaning: How can farmers optimise efficiency?

The Beef Environmental Efficiency Scheme – Suckler (BEEP-S) offers farmers a event to boost mercantile and environmental potency of their suckler herd.

The programme targets a weaning potency of suckler cows and calves by collecting a animals’ liveweights; improving a gratification of suckler calves during a time of weaning; and determining portion in adult suckler cows.

Weaning highlight has an inauspicious outcome on a defence system, creation calves some-more receptive to disease, quite pneumonia.

It is mostly compounded by other cultivation practices occurring during a same time such as change of sourroundings (outdoors to indoors), change of fodder diet (from weed to silage), transport/selling, dehorning, castrating, etc.

How can farmers optimise potency during weaning?

1) Parasite control – pre-housing dose

All parasites have a disastrous outcome on a calves’ defence complement and lungworm in sold can repairs a lungs and boost a risk and astringency of pneumonia.

Treatment for lungworm forward of housing allows time for passed worms to be coughed up. The advantage of this pre-housing sip is that all a worms can be private from a animal, and a lungs can entirely redeem from a repairs that a worms inflicted while they are still out in purify uninformed atmosphere and underneath low stress.

Moxidectin (Cydectin®) and doramectin (Dectomax®) offer persistency opposite re-infection by stomach worms (Ostertagia) and lungworm (Dictyocaulus) of 5 weeks from a singular dose. Therefore, animals treated with possibly Cydectin or Dectomax 5 weeks before housing will not need to accept another sip during housing.

2) Control respiratory viruses – vaccination

Viruses such as RSV, Pi3 and IBR can act divided or in multiple to means significant lung and airway repairs shortening a animal’s insurgency to delegate bacterial infection. These 3 viruses are a many critical primary pathogens.

Once a viruses have caused a primary damage, a germ can enter as delegate invaders ensuing in endless repairs to a lungs.

So, by defence opposite a 3 pivotal viruses, we can significantly revoke a series and astringency of pneumonia outbreaks.

For farmers who have practical for a vaccination component of a BEEP-S scheme, a vaccine march should be finished dual to 4 weeks before to weaning, housing or a sale.

For a discerning conflict of immunity, cattle can be vaccinated with an intranasal vaccine. Rispoval® RS+Pi3 IntraNasal protects opposite RSV and Pi3 within 5 to 10 days. Protection from a singular sip lasts for 12 weeks.

Rispoval® IBR-Marker live gives insurance opposite IBR for adult to 6 months. Given intranasally it is stable for cattle during evident risk of IBR (followed by an intramuscular injection 3 to 5 weeks later).

Alternatively, a singular intramuscular injection given 3 weeks before to housing will safeguard cattle are stable via a housing period.

Vaccination plays an critical purpose in defence respiratory health; it shouldn’t however be noticed as a china bullet to elucidate all health problems. Vaccination contingency therefore be total with good plantation government practices like those listed below.

3) Nutritional government before to weaning

If possible, calves should be weaned outdoor in a best probable continue and start introducing concentrates to a calves during final one month before to weaning. They should be immoderate during slightest 1kg/day during weaning time and be fed concentrates after weaning¹.

4) Weaning procedure

Removing cows divided from a organisation gradually causes reduction highlight than holding divided a calves. Up to a third of cows should be private any time with a smallest interlude of 5 days apart. Removed cows should be changed out of steer and sound from a remaining group¹.

5) Avoiding additional stressors

Procedures such as dehorning and castrating will boost highlight around weaning time. These should therefore not be finished during weaning.

Ideally, calves should be disbudded during an early age. If this has not been finished early on, dehorning should be behind to 4 weeks after weaning. Castration is best finished in calves underneath 6 months-of-age or during slightest one month before to weaning.

If a continue allows it, it is good use to check a housing and offered of weaned calves for dual to 3 weeks¹.

What can farmers do to revoke a risk of pneumonia in purchased weanlings?

In a stream mercantile climate, beef finishers can't means any waste as a outcome of bovine respiratory illness (BRD).

A assuage box of pneumonia in a beef suckler calf during 5 to 6 months-of-age can be compared with 72g of reduced daily liveweight benefit per day, or 22kg over a 10-month finishing period².

A serious or ongoing box of pneumonia during 5 to 6 months-of-age might revoke daily liveweight benefit by 202g per day or 61kg over 10 months² and outcome in a body downgrade3, 4.

Based on these facts, a mercantile earnings from defence a box of pneumonia have been estimated during €158 per calf for a assuage box and €314 for a serious case⁴.

Therefore, it is critical to have a complement in place that minimises highlight around purchases in sequence to revoke a risk of BRD and urge a gratification of calves as they pass by market.

Where possible, buyers should squeeze weanlings that have been weaned before to a sale.

With a far-reaching movement in calves flitting by market, farmers are trade in rarely non-static products and hundreds of stressed, potentially immunologically naïve calves are being mixed.

Buyers’ destiny profitability will eventually count on a success of these purchases.

This year, farmers will have a event to squeeze some ‘Blue tagged calves’. These calves are partial of a SureCalf® Programme, a approved pre-conditioning programme directed during minimising a impact of BRD and improving a gratification of calves going by a marts.

SureCalf® aims to assistance sellers, who deposit in vaccinating opposite BRD pre-sale, boost a value of their calves during market, and helps buyers by defence a health of a cattle they are buying.

SureCalf calves can be identified during a outlet by a blue ear tag

SureCalf calves contingency be over 3 months-of-age and vaccinated dual to 4 weeks before to sale with a singular intranasal sip of Rispoval® RS+ Pi3 IntraNasal (against RSV and Pi3) and a singular intramuscular sip of Rispoval IBR-Marker live (against IBR).

The customer advantages from adult to 6 months’ ongoing cover opposite IBR and adult to 10 weeks’ ongoing cover opposite RSV and Pi3 ensuring insurance and shortening a impact of highlight on a calves’ respiratory health.

On arrival, a animals should be placed in a draught-free, well-bedded pen, with copiousness of space and entrance to savoury forage-based feed with prolonged twine and purify water⁵.

Poor respiratory health can impact both expansion rates and feed acclimatisation efficiency, ensuing in waste through, for example, increasing feed costs, increasing finishing times, reduced sale weights, or increasing age during initial calving in tact animals.

Now is a time for farmers to rivet with their confidant on health skeleton before to weaning and housing and equivocate a long-term empty on performance.

Further information

‘For some-more information on SureCalf certification, greatfully pronounce to your medicine provider or visit:

All Cydectin® products enclose moxidectin. All Dectomax® products enclose doramectin. Legal Category: LM. Rispoval® IBR-Marker live contains Bovine Herpes Virus form 1 (BHV-1), aria Difivac (gE-negative), mutated live (attenuated) virus. Rispoval® 3 contains mutated live Bovine Pi3 pathogen and BRSV, with glass fragment containing inactivated BVD pathogen form 1. Rispoval® RS+Pi3 IntraNasal contains mutated live Bovine Pi3 pathogen and BRSV. Legal Category: POM(E).

Use medicines responsibly ( ZT/20/26/1.


  2. Williams P., Green L. (2007) Cattle Practice Vol 15 Part 244-248 (‘moderate BRD’-3 combined lung lobes, ‘severe BRD’- 6 combined lung lobes);
  3. Cost of body hillside @ €0.10/kg;
  4. Cost of Finishing 550 kg animal @ €3.10/day;

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