Longford Leader Farming: Managing your weanlings this autumn to comply with BEEP-S

Luke Clogher

Reporter:

Luke Clogher

Email:

newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Farming

As autumn approaches, the performance of spring born calves must be a priority.

As autumn approaches, the performance of spring born calves must be a priority.

 

With weather conditions deteriorating, some farmers may already be thinking about weaning. However, this year BEEP-S scheme participants must remember they have new measures to consider before weaning takes place.

Weighing

BEEP-S participants are required to weigh both cows’ and calves before weaning and input weights on to the ICBF database. A registered weighing scales must be used. Calves should be on average 5 months old at weighing. And this task must be completed by the 1st November.

Vaccination

In consultation with your vet, vaccination programmes as part of the scheme should also be completed prior to weaning and/or housing also, for farmers who selected that option.

Meal Feeding

Farmers who chose the meal feeding option are required feed their weanlings for four weeks before weaning and two weeks after weaning. Table 1 below illustrates examples of the six-week window. For instance, with many weanling sales taking place in October, meal feeding must begin as soon as possible. It is vital that farmers plan weaning and selling dates to comply with scheme conditions.

Feeding a 15-16% crude protein ration will reduce stress and help animals thrive. 1kg/head/day is sufficient but well grown bull weanlings could be fed 1.5kg to 2kg daily. Meal must be purchased from a Department of Agriculture approved supplier and dockets must be kept for inspection purposes.

Table 1 - Example dates for BEEP-S scheme

Liver Fluke Faecal Egg Testing

Faecal egg testing will be carried out to show the level of liver fluke infection in 10 adult suckler cows. Samples will be required to be taken and submitted to approved labs before 1st November 2020. All faecal samples collected must be fresh. The applicant must contact a Department approved laboratory to request the sampling pack. The list of approved laboratories and veterinary practices can be found on the Departments website.

Whether in BEEP-S or not weaning methods will vary from farm to farm but it is common for cows and weanlings to be housed in a slatted shed and separated. However, this is a stressful method for weanlings.

A new environment and diet combined with the sudden separation causes huge distress for a weanling, potentially leading to health issues such as pneumonia.

Avoid abrupt weaning and try more gradual approach like forward creep grazing and/or restricted suckling. Some farmers will remove 2-3 cows from the main herd every couple of days and house them.

Their calves are still familiar with their surroundings out in the field and with other cows and calves which will help minimize stress. Always wean the heaviest calves first and remember that farm safety with livestock is very important when separating cows and calves.

Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. They have offices based in Longford Town (Tel: 043 3341021), Roscommon Town (Tel: 090 6626166) and Castlerea (Tel: 094 9620160), You can find us online at on Facebook @Teagascroscommonlongford and twitter @teagascRNLD.