With pastures now dried off and stubbles that in many cases have a bit more feed value in them than normal due to the abnormal growing season, animal management challenges can be experienced.
Nutrition: dry feed is still a valuable feed source; the challenge is that protein is lower & it is harder to extract the best nutrition as it is now in a dry hard form.
It is important that the microbial flora in the ruminants gut is maintained. As these feed on protein, which is now lower and harder to access, this population starts to die off. To keep this population high, we either supply the protein by feeding grain, or stimulate the existing population by supplementing a NPN (non-protein nitrogen) source. NPN can be delivered by various methods, but the simplest way is via a dry form provided in troughs/tubs, or a block form. For rates and advice speak with your local store.
Note: supplementary feeding on dry feed needs to start early when drying off first starts. Once the sheep or cattle start “eating” the supplement, they are telling you they are hungry and it is then time to start introducing hay & grain.
Health: Pulpy Kidney (PK) is a common disease in both sheep & cattle. The bacteria that causes PK is present in the gut of healthy sheep & cattle, even ones that are vaccinated. Sudden change to a diet can cause them to start producing toxins. Its impact is rapid with deaths appearing with little or no warning. Moving livestock onto a stubble can cause such an impact, just as moving them from a “dry” situation to a green feed can do the same.
It is recommended that livestock be treated with a Pulpy Kidney vaccine 14 days before dietary change. If animals are unvaccinated, a primary treatment will be required 6 weeks before that.
Worm Management: Barber Pole worm is a worm we see in many of our drench tests across the Fleurieu. In most cases an effective treatment program will keep it a bay. Summer rain can cause this worm to become very active. Numbers breed up quickly and sudden death is often a first sign unless good monitoring in happening. Certain parts of the Fleurieu seem to be worse than others; stay alert.
Worm Management: at writing of this newsletter, we are brave enough to say that this January is the driest we have seen for 2 – 3 years which presents us with a great opportunity to implement an effective summer drench treatment.
Get a test done, discuss your farm drenching history, use an effective combination drench, plan your pre-lamb treatment at the same time, and see the benefits across the next 12 months in ewe and lamb health.