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May 2018

Newsletter Upcoming training courses Trace element status

Lambert Leonard & May First in the field

Ewes News: Lamb Nutrition Caption Competition



contents Upcoming training courses .................................................................................................4 Trace element status ................................................................................................................12 Ewes News: Lamb Nutrition............................................................................................... 14 Caption Competition ........................................................................................................... 19

Lambert Leonard & May

Whitchurch Practice...............................01948 663000 Eccleshall Practice...................................01785 472211 Wrexham Practice...................................01978 280580 Pharmacy...................................................01948 302424 Lancashire Practice.................................01772 866014 Clitheroe Practice....................................01200 545456 LLM Vet Team Charlie Lambert 07974 264272 Bill May 07968 318493 Simon King 07973 271754 Tom Wright 07590 183804 Dan Stevenson 07894 586233 Den Leonard 07970 267494 Mike Christie 07775 561820 Mark Hickinson 07841 919223 Sarah Gibbs 07711 593783 Rob Hall 07889 408092 Claire Whittle 07841 775695


Tom Jackson 07837 291097 Amy Glanvill 07590 183803 Tom Downes 07703 189224 Hannah Batty 07841 919227 Lancashire Vets Ian Cure 07590 225284 Rob Howe 07590 225283 Matt Hylands 07584 684919 Alun Beckett 07850 326432 Roland Millar 07894 406225 TB Team Adrian Dumitrescu 07711 593785

Janka Zaleska 07894 586231 Alberto Alaman 07720 737872 Daniel Ververis 07730 765543 Giulia Vida 07714 770328 Des Leonard 07811 342289 Florin Gaina 07720 740881 Razvan Olaru 07841 459731 ET Team Spike Newman 07921 374036 Becky Arden & Emma Broster (Central ET Admin) 01948 663124

Stan Matthews 07971 118909 VetTech Team Natalie Parker 07841 775697 Rachel Cooper 07834 547832 Danielle Davies 07841 501655 Emily Hallett 07845 817070 Steph Cowgill 07505 443231 Accounts Jan Warrington 01948 663059

A warm welcome to our May newsletter. Some long awaited sunshine has arrived and is shining through the Eccleshall office window as I write this! Let’s hope it’s here to stay and the field work can commence. Great to see so many animals out in the fields already. Talking of weather, we had a very rainy day for the farm walk on the 17th April but nonetheless a great turnout (maybe the weather helped us!) and a great day was had by all. Thank you to everyone at Fairs for putting in such a great effort and allowing us to hold the farm walk at Brookside Farm and also thank you to everyone that attended, it was wonderful to see you all! The show season is now fast approaching and we couldn’t be more excited as the preparations get well underway for a great summer catching up with as many of you as possible.

We will be kicking off the season at the Stafford show on Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st May. We are trying out a new location this year so make sure you come and find us to say hello! We’re on stand W364 through the main entrance on the right. This month we give you the key take home messages from the farm walk, Tom Downes reviews trace elements and Tom Jackson covers lamb nutrition and getting your lambs off to the best start. Enjoy! Clare


Upcoming Training Courses Artificial Insemination Course Artificial Insemination Course 5th – 7th September Time: 9.30am - 3.00pm (all days)

Venue: LLM Whitchurch, Old Woodhouses, Broughall, Shropshire, SY13 4AQ This artificial insemination course provides the necessary qualification for farms to carry out their own AI. It initially discusses fertility and reproductive system of the dairy cow, before going on to describe the artificial insemination technique. Once the theory has been discussed, delegates will be able to gain some practical experience on farm. Please contact the Whitchurch practice if you are interested.



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Polite Notice – Pharmacy Deliveries Please could we ask all clients to be mindful when placing med orders to go on the delivery run, particularly if you have a vet heading your way for a visit. Our drivers have a vast area to cover daily and we need to make sure this service is cost efficient in order to enable us to keep offering free deliveries. Some smaller orders (ie. just one item) can be tricky to fit in, in a cost effective manner. We know this service is valued and, as always, appreciate your cooperation in helping us maximise the efficiency of these free deliveries. Unfortunately, if we cannot resolve this issue, we may have to look at implementing the delivery charge again for small orders. Thank you, Rosie 6

LLM Team Triathlon

Hannah, Sarah, Den, Simon and myself will be taking part in the Cheshire Triathlon in Nantwich on Sunday 20th May. The course consists of a 500m swim, a 21k cycle and a 5k run – just to finish us off! They are aiming to raise £1000 for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution or R.A.B.I. If you wish to donate, please visit the website LLM-Team or alternatively, let one of the team know you would like to make a donation. Also, if you wish to come along (to laugh at us or otherwise!) we will be very happy for the support on the day. Please read on to find out a bit more about the work R.A.B.I do. Thanks in advance for your support, Claire R.A.B.I is farming’s oldest and largest welfare charity. R.A.B.I provides financial help to people of all ages in hardship. Most who seek the charity’s support are elderly and disabled – receiving regular, ongoing allowances

and/or one-off payments to help with things like fuel costs, disability equipment or essential household items such as white goods. However, an increasing number of working farmers now turn to R.A.B.I for help through the tough times, often due to such things as illness, injury, animal disease, extreme weather or cash flow problems. The main source of R.A.B.I’s funding is voluntary income, including donations from individuals, businesses, charitable trusts and fundraising activity by supporters. The charity is fortunate to have voluntary fundraisers in most counties, who work with staff to raise money through a variety of events. All voluntary income goes directly towards helping families in financial need, while investments underpin the charity’s running costs. Another important source of income is legacies which, on average, represent around a third of annual income.


Paul Burrows, R.A.B.I CEO, said: “Providing financial support to farming families is at the heart of what we do, but there’s a lot more to it than simply sending out cheques in the post. Our welfare officers understand farming and its issues. They take the time to visit people, build relationships and talk through problems and possible solutions.


“Many people contact us when they have nowhere else to turn. We work with them to give them renewed hope and tailor our support to suit their needs.” Anyone who has worked in farming and is in need of help should call R.A.B.I’s confidential Freephone Helpline 0808 281 9490 or email

Targeting Peak Performance - Farm Walk First off, a massive thank you to all the attendees who made it out for the farm walk despite the grim weather. It was great to see so many faces, both old and new! Also a huge thank you goes out to Richard Fair and Peter Cope for hosting the event at Brookside Farm and their team for all the effort and assistance in preparing for the walk and answering a myriad of questions on the day! We kicked off with Bill May and Mark Hickinson talking about maintaining health and maximising performance. They covered fertility, mastitis and managing infectious disease on your farm. Their key take home messages from the day were:

Fertility •

Fertility is a major component of farm profitability.

• Use a mix of indices to best describe herd fertility performance and be clear when benchmarking to ensure indices from different units are calculated in the same way. •

The Holstein breed has seen a decline in fertility related to increased milk yield.

Managed fertility programmes can work well but should be tailored to the individual unit.

Mastitis •

Mastitis remains the most common and costly disease of modern dairy cows.

Current focus on a reduction in the use of antibiotics on dairy farms will impact mastitis management, not least the increasing adoption of ‘Selective (non antibiotic) Dry Cow Therapy’.

• Incidence rates are usually measured by the 12-month rolling number of cow cases per 100 cows per year (sometimes expressed as a percentage). • Aetiology of mastitis has changed and environmental pathogens are now more problematic than contagious pathogens. •

Many factors influence the incidence of mastitis - control depends on identification of the critical control points on each farm.


Managing infectious disease •

Uncontrolled common infectious diseases (such as Lepto) in the herd have a significant impact on herd health and hence production and profitability.

Vaccines are available but often are not optimally used on farm. Thus, even when vaccines are used, the respective disease may not be well controlled.

• Tailored vaccination programs based on routine herd monitoring (such as Quarterly bulk milk checks) optimises control for each individual herd. •


Healthy cows make healthy profits.

Up next was Hefin Richards (Rumenation). Hefin is an Independent Nutritionist and a key part of the team at Brookside Farm. He gave us some top tips for transition and his key points are summarised below: • Manage heifers to calve by 24 MONTHS • Manage body condition in late lactation cows and in calf heifers. • Maintain body condition when dry. • Understand the impact of - Diet - Environment - & social stress on dry matter intake around calving • Identify bottlenecks - manage and measure incidences. • Don’t let the ‘abnormal’ become ‘normal’.

Finally, Hannah Batty and Claire Whittle discussed how to secure a successful start for your heifers by looking at pinch points around calving time and the interaction of housing environment, calf immunity and disease. •

Feed intakes will drop in the pre-calving cow. Ensuring adequate feed space (90cm/ head), lying space (10- 12.5m squared) and water availability (10cm/ cow) is essential.

• Post calving/ Fresh checks should include rumen fill scores, temperature and smell checks. •

Prompt detection and treatment of any post calving issues can reduce the risk of further complications.

Routine Johnes surveillance can aid in the detection of infected cows prior to a clinical presentation.

• Johnes is transmitted via infected faeces being ingested by calves. The calving area is the KEY risk area for Johnes transmission.

Colostrum – Quality, Quantity, Quickly and Cleanly.

• Understand what diseases are present on your farm in order to control them effectively. • Consider vaccination. Prevention is always better then cure! • Measure growth rates periodically in calves and monitor them in order to manage problems. Our Vet Tech service can help you with this. •

Don’t lose out on growth rates in cold weather – if you need a coat, your calf probably needs one too!

As usual, thank you for all the support from our Sponsors on the day – Boehringer, Elanco, Dechra and Norbrook.

• Johnes positive/ high risk cows should be calved separately, calves should be snatched and fed stored colostrum.


Elemental tips for success.

Trace elements are dietary substances that are essential for ruminants but are

only required in very small amounts. They include selenium, cobalt and iodine. Youngstock, lactating animals and pregnant animals generally have a higher demand for trace elements and are most at risk of deficiencies. Natural availability of trace elements in grass or forage is very varied and can be affected by numerous things including weather, soil type, geology, pH, drainage and plant type. Consequently, trace element status is very farm specific and can even vary from year to year.

Generally, trace elements are reliably supplemented to cattle/sheep whilst they are indoors but once turned out cattle/sheep are often dependent on pasture as their major (only) source of minerals and trace elements. Providing a reliable supplementary source of trace elements at pasture is a challenge, especially if livestock are not

buffer fed or receiving supplementary mineralised feed. Any class of stock (dairy cows, beef cows, youngstock etc.) can be at risk of trace element deficiencies and consequential production losses but we most often see issues with heifers between mating and calving. Traditionally many people have relied on mineral licks or in water

Most farmers are aware of trace elements and their potential impact on productivity; but often mineral status of cattle is overlooked or it’s assumed that they must be fine because there is no history of known issues and of course “this is what we’ve always done”. Here Tom Downes runs through the importance of trace elements in your herd.


supplementation however, whilst they are undoubtedly beneficial, uptake has been shown to be variable which can leave some animals “falling through the gaps�. Instead, we would advocate the use of slow release ruminal boluses - such as the Oligovet Super Grazing range. These have the advantage of providing consistent long-term supplementation and remove the risk of variable uptake. They are also extremely cost effective adding just a few pence per animal to the daily feed costs. When considering trace element supplementation it’s important to do it in consultation with your nutritionist and/or vet as over supplementation can have a detrimental effect. Nowadays we are increasingly encountering copper toxicity as opposed to deficiency often because animals are supplemented from numerous sources. We would recommend the use of diagnostic sampling to characterise

trace element levels within your herd/ flock. For many trace elements this can be easily done by blood sampling a small selection of animals from each management group. However due to both copper and cobalt being stored in the liver it is best to use liver tissue samples alongside samples to build a more complete picture. In cattle, liver samples can be quickly, easily and safely obtained using a biopsy needle. Recently, we have been doing some sampling on spring calving herds and have identified deficiencies. With mating coming up and off the back of a cold wet spring, cows that are out are going to need every bit of support for breeding to be a success. If you want to discuss trace elements on your farm in more detail or you want to do some testing then please get in touch.


Growing Lambs: when to wean? Lamb Nutrition With the first half of this year’s lamb Lamb nutrition can bethoughts fairly simply crop on the ground, are split intoturning two parts – the and already to the nextEwe stage of the Lamb. year. TomWeaning Jacksonis talks us our sheep a crucial through the basics… period for both lambs and ewes, with health and growth depending on our The Ewe management decisions at this time. During the firstAlun six weeks of life a of lambs This month gets ahead the growth is provided almost entirely by game by thinking through some of the ewe’s milk, so is influenced by a the factors involved in weaning. number of factors including the milk yield of the ewe, the number of lambs When to wean? There is no fixed suckling and the ability of an individual answer for this question, as it is lamb to compete for its share. influenced by many factors such as ewe body condition score (BCS), feed availability and lamb growth rates. Continually assessing the ewe BCS and lamb growth rates can give a good indication of the ewes’ milk supply and group health status. The latest AHDB Beef and Lamb ‘stock-take’ survey suggests that the majority of lambs are weaned between 12-14 weeks of age.

A sensible time to start thinking This demand thatweeks the energy about weaningmeans is eight after requirements of the ewe can increase the mid-point of lambing. Use the by upcondition to 70% from latetopregnancy to body of ewes asses how early lactation. It is vital to safeguard they are coping with the increasing ewe body condition scores (BCS) in demand that growing lambs put on order to maintain milk production. This their energy reserves. If ewes are is particularly important for Ewes that looking a bit on the lean side two have two or three lambs at foot and months after the midpoint of lambing are subsequently at a greater risk of it may be prudent to wean earlier, body fat mobilisation and post-partum thus giving the ewes sufficient time problems such as ketosis and metritis to regain the required condition to hit if not provided with adequate nutrition. the target condition score for tupping. It is generally accepted that it can take seven to eight weeks for a ewe to gain one body condition ‘score’ on unrestricted grazing, and ewes that are tupped at the correct BCS tend to have more lambs during the following lambing season

Target Body Condition Score for different breeds of ewe.

Hill ewe

Upland ewe Lowland ewe

BCS at Weaning




BCS at Tupping




Aim for 90% of ewes to hit target.

12 14

This can be achieved by feeding highquality ad lib forage and by using a concentrate containing up to 20% rumen undegradable protein (such as rumen protected Soya). Having said that, be careful not to use excessive amounts of concentrates as this can decrease forage intakes and increase your total costs. Concentrates should be fed for the first three to four weeks of lactation before being gradually decreased to zero by six weeks. Aim to have 90% of ewes at target BCS, and strive to avoid any BCS loss greater than 0.5 points during lactation. The Lamb From birth to roughly 35kg liveweight, the protein requirements of the lamb are met solely by milk which bypasses the rumen to be directly digested in the small intestine. Following this point, forage should take over as the primary source of protein to fuel growth.

Up to eight weeks, growth rates should exceed 250g per day (predominantly from milk); if growth rates dip below 200g per day this should trigger weaning. Plan to wean lambs at 1214 weeks old, and wean on to high quality pasture with a sward height of 6-8cm and a low level of parasitic challenge. Weigh all lambs and sort in to three groups, monitoring fortnightly. Bear in mind that a growing lamb eats 4% of its bodyweight as dry matter every day (eg a 30kg lamb on decent forage consumes 1.2kg dry matter per day) Research into different feed types has shown that exposing growing lambs to varying sources of nutrition (such as Red Clover, Chicory or cereals) can help them to perform better when they are placed on these food sources post-weaning. It can take the rumen up to three weeks to adapt to a new feed so take care when changing onto a new diet.


Creep feeding is something that can play an important part in lamb growth under certain circumstances, but does not necessarily always make economic sense! Reasons for creep feeding: • To increase suckling lamb nutrient uptake • To maintain growth despite inadequate grass supply • To meet target weight for a specific high-price market, for example, Easter

When home-mixing creep feed, whole barley plus 15% Soya bean meal should provide 12.5 MJ of metabolisable energy per kg of dry matter. For longterm use, including a lamb suitable mineral at 2.5% is advisable (no added Copper, Magnesium or Phosphorous). Take care to introduce concentrates to older lambs gradually in order to reduce the risk of gorging and acidosis. Creep feeder design: • Easy access for lambs but not ewes

• To decrease the risk of gastrointestinal parasitic infection

• Sheltered

• To allow an increased stocking density without adversely affecting growth rates

If a good amount of grass is available - sward height greater than 5cm – then creep feeding will not necessarily improve performance but will certainly increase costs! As an alternative, forward creep-grazing can reduce the need for creep feeding by giving lambs access to the best pastures before the ewes follow on. On restricted grazing (sward height less than 3.5cm) creep feeding can be profitable; Lambs with a limited amount of creep feeding will gain 1kg live weight per 5-6kg of creep feed when compared to un-supplemented lambs.


• On hard-standing to avoid poaching Keep surroundings clean and dry to decrease risk of transmission of coccidiosis (apply lime if necessary)

Mineral and trace element deficiencies occur reasonably commonly in sheep. If you suspect a deficiency is affecting performance at any point, discuss with your vet and consider taking blood samples to identify and rectify the potential cause. Following supplementation, monitor performance to confirm a positive response.

Sources: Hybu Cig Cymru / Meat Promotion Wales – Practical Sheep Nutrition 1 AHDB Beef and Lamb - Sheep BRP Manual 5 - Growing and Finishing Lambs for Better Returns

In the news… Some of you may have picked up on Mark appearing in the Farmers Guardian and Farmers Weekly a few weeks ago talking about fly parasites (if you haven’t, the articles are online and were in the print publications on April 20th). We did this as part of a push on integrated fly control following some really great success stories and testimonials we had received from clients already using the parasites. What we didn’t expect was the sheer interest in this form of fly control from the media (flies don’t normally provide the eye catching headlines they are after!) as they had not heard of this approach before. Some of the benefits we have picked up from client case studies included: • Reduced chemical insecticide usage (up to 8 x less on one farm – equating a £700 chemical spend reduction per year)

• Improved working environment • Reduced vector-borne disease levels (summer mastitis, new forest, etc.) • And reduced stress levels in cows (and workers) It isn’t too late to start with fly parasites this year, so if you are interested in trying them please speak to one of the vets or call the office. As part of application and our recommended integrated approach, we offer a free fly parasite visit from our VetTechs who are trained in the application of the flies and can give you farm specific advice on application location and frequency


Future Farmers! Sarah got this snap of John and Jane at Crewe Hall with their favourite cow, number 51 who was born in 2001! At the grand age of 17, it’s safe to say she gets the V.I.P. treatment now!


Caption Competition! Last month Dan hijacked Jess’s horse riding gear! The winning caption this month is from Alan Ackerley ‘LLM’s late entry into the Grand National’. He is the perfect jockey stature after all!!’


Lambert Leonard & May Old Woodhouses, Broughall, Whitchurch SY13 4AQ Tel 01948 663000 Fax 01948 871385 Lambert Leonard & May (Lancs.) 136 Whittingham Lane, Broughton, Preston PR3 5DD Tel 01772 866014 Fax 01772 860993 Lambert Leonard & May (Eccleshall.) Unit 19A Raleigh Hall Industrial Estate, Eccleshall Staffordshire, ST21 6JL Tel: 01785 472211 Lambert Leonard & May (Clitheroe.) Unit 2 Deansfield Court, Link 59 Business Park Clitheroe, BB7 1QS Tel: 01200 545 456 Lambert Leonard & May (Wrexham.) Unit 24, The Bridgeway Centre, Wrexham Ind Estate, LL13 9QS Tel: 01978 280580

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LLM Farm Vets Newsletter - May 2018  

In this edition we take a look at lamb nutrition as well as trace element deficiency for cattle at grass.

LLM Farm Vets Newsletter - May 2018  

In this edition we take a look at lamb nutrition as well as trace element deficiency for cattle at grass.