With the countryside looking a picture at the moment, following on from good rains, all that is needed now is some good spring rains to record a bumper season. Lambs have come down slightly in price as we wait for the new season sucker lambs to start coming through, which wont be far away. This is a good time of the year to be getting ready for harvest, ensuring all your machinery is serviced, and ready for spraying and harvest, as well as a good time to catch up on some fencing, as well as stock work. You need to ensure that your stock are prepared for the green feed coming through.
Green crops and pastures, such as lucerne, forage oats/barley & wheat become predominant at this time of year. These types of feeds can be very successful in terms of maximizing health returns if the livestock consuming them are prepared in both health and nutrition. Here are some tips for your stock for this month.
Prior to placing livestock on green feed, vaccinating stock with a clostridial (5in1/6in1) is extremely important. Pulpy kidney is a leading cause of death in stock that are faced with a sudden change in feed. Changes in feed allow the pulpy kidney organisms to proliferate and produce large quantities of toxins, leading to the rapid death of the
animal. Vaccinating is a very cost effective form of insurance for the health of your stock.
Ensuring your livestock are free of worms before placing them on green feed will maximize the utilisation of the feed. Worm burdens place a large amount of stress on an animal’s immune system, their ability to convert feed to weight and/or milk, if lactacting, is severely impaired this leads to significant feed wastage and productivity loss. However,
prior to drenching it is recommended that you do a worm test to determine the burden and the type of worms present. This allows for a more specific selection of drench (if needed at all) and reduces the risk of developing drench resistance. Three types of worm test kits are available in store at CRT AgriWest, with varying levels of testing capabilities.
On the surface, green feeds and fodder crops appear to contain reasonable quantities of both energy and protein. However, there are inherent problems. If not carefully managed, this can result in a reduction in Feed Conversion Efficiency (FCE), significant wastage of feeds as well as lead to animals showing primary signs associated with scours, bloat and grass tetany, and in severe cases, death. Providing livestock with a source of starch is a very effective method of combating the negative effects associated with grazing lush, green feed. Using specialised starch-based loose licks are a fantastic, simple and very cost effective method of delivering starch & all the required vitamins & minerals to the rumen, while reducing the incidence of green feed related problems. Adopting these few actions will have you well on the way to ensuring your stock don’t just survive but thrive on green feed this winter. For more information, come in and see the friendly staff at Agriwest today.