November 2014 Fertility and Breeding Notes

Doreen Corridan MVB MRCVS PhD 
Munster Cattle Breeding

Liver Fluke Dosing

Have you got Liver Fluke?
If you are on the Munster/Dairygold herd health testing you will know your
• Level of Liver Fluke
• Level of Kill achieved in winter of 2013/2014

Munster/Dairygold herd health testing helps determine your Liver Fluke control programme

If not take some dung samples. The following is a very effective way to take dung samples:
• Scrape the yard clean.
• Let the cows stand in the yard until you have 15-20 dung pats.
• Take a teaspoon of dung from each dung pat and put all into a single screw cap container.
• Stir well and take into your vet to check for Liver fluke, Rumen Fluke and worm eggs.
• Repeat this procedure for both the in-calf heifers and calves.
• You will have results in a few days.

Effective Liver Fluke treatments in dairy cows are as following
The most effective treatments licensed for dairy cows are those containing Triclabendazole e.g. Fasinex 240/Endofluke, these kill the adults, immatures and the early immatures. Maximum results are obtained when cows are houses 2-3 weeks prior to treatment. One dose is usually sufficient.

Other Liver fluke treatments are Zanil and the albendazoles e.g. Albex and Endospec. Both these products only kill adult Liver Fluke and therefore need to be used at the start of the dry period and 8-10 weeks later.

Issues I see in ineffective Liver Fluke control.
1. Herdowners not using products correctly.
2. Herdowners underestimating the weight of in-calf cows, not allowing for some dosing loss both from the cow subsequently dribbling or gun filling or calibration.
3. Some cows not being dosed at all, as they were not dry when main herd was dosed or being milked through the winter and not dosed.
4. Herdowners having dry land and therefore believing they have no Liver Fluke.
5. Herdowners renting land for the first time or contract rearing and not knowing the Liver Fluke status of the land grazed by the in-calf heifers or calves.
6. Product getting frozen.

Fertility Season 2015-BEGINS NOW
This autumn we have two issues that could potentially cause difficulty next spring for the breeding season. Firstly some cows will have a longer dry period than usual, and may be grossly over fleshed at calving (difficult calving, retained afterbirths etc.) unless managed from the start of the dry period. Their diet needs to be diluted with straw for the entire dry period.

Dilute dry cow diets with straw if dry period is too long

Secondly due to favourable weather and good grass growth rates, in-calf heifers and the 2014 calves are being kept outdoors to graze this off without any supplementary feeding. This may result in some animals under target weights not being divided out from the main bunch and fed to reach target weights.

In-calf heifers that are under target weight need to be divided out from the main bunch and receive supplementary feed now. Weigh your calves now, group them by size and feed accordingly. These animals need to grow therefore they need to be fed a high protein ration of 18-20%.

ICBF have a weighing service in your area, call now for details on 1850600900. Weigh your 2014 calves, incalf heifers and your cull cows for sale.  The cost is €122.50 for 50 animals or €185 for 100 animals.