The Spring That Keeps On Giving

by Andrew Cribb (Cribby),

Cribby is the Director/Veterinarian at East Coast Farm Vets

Well, from a spring that was very hesitant to start, we have hit late spring / early summer with the some of the best grass growing conditions in a very long time.

Grass is in abundance on the hills and the flats, as well as across the majority of the North Island. Prices for lamb, beef and venison are all high. A great position for breeding operations to be in, possibly not so great for the finishers looking for a bargain on the store market!! No doubt, lambs from the high country stations will start coming on to the store market as weaning begins, but they should be in hot demand.

The rain has created conditions, which are perfect for grass growth, but also great for parasites, fly, facial eczema and fleas. It is critical that we have a plan in place to prevent unnecessary production loss.

  • Sheep, especially lambs, need to be covered for parasites. Not all products are the same – talk to your vet for more info.

  • Treat tail end ewes as well, whether that be a drench and/or draft and feed better.

  • All sheep will need some form of fly protection as fly pressure at the moment is high. NOTE: If you are applying product through a jetter the length of fly protection is proportional to how much chemical is applied to the animal. The more you get on the greater the length of protection. If a product says “... up to 12 weeks protection” it means 2 litres of fluid has gone on the animal with the correct amount of chemical in it. In my experience this very rarely occurs!!!

  • Monitoring for facial eczema is under way on a few farms. Current results have been low but this will change due to the rain. The fungus will sporulate (reproduce) and it is these spores that are toxic to the animal. As with last year we are running a free facial eczema monitoring service. All we need is 60g of grass, about a bread bag full. Start with your indicator paddocks, which are your north facing, easy contour paddocks. If these paddocks get high then we can implement a full farm monitoring plan.

  • Finally don’t forget about your dogs!!! Fleas and ticks are already a major problem and the dogs really do need to be treated. Come in and talk to us about cost-effective options for controlling these parasites.

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