Colostrum – Monitoring Quality & Prolonging Shelf-life

  Colostrum – Monitoring Quality & Prolonging Shelf Life By Dr Charlie Blackwood A BRIX REFRACTOMETER is the best way to give your calves the best quality colostrums. Read the article below then contact us about buying one. You do need to be shown how to use one. Why do I need One? It is impossible to tell just by looking, how good the colostrums is. High quality colostrums is critical. In the past we have used a Colostrometer to measure quality. Recently a thing called a BRIX REFRACTOMETER has been found to be even better. A refractometer, uses light to measure the quality of the colostrums (and sugar content of grapes, grasses etc in other fields) Advantages of a Brix Refractometer over colostrometer Much more accurate Not affected by temperature Optical ones more robust and compact Using an Optical Refractometer It takes a few attempts, but once you have worked it out, they are easy to use. You put 2 drops of the colostrums onto the glass plate, close the cover, point at the light then look through the eyepiece. You will see a blue line and you look at what number the line is on. The higher the number, the better the colostrums. High readings (>25% Brix) can be a bit blurry to read i.e. the blue-white line is a bit fuzzy. This doesn’t really matter because the low readings are very clear and as long as it’s above 22%Brix, then that is all we are interested in. Prolonging the shelf-life of colostrum In the short-term, if colostrum is not fed within 2 hours of collection it...

Correct Weight Case Study

  Correct Weight Case Study By Phil Keegan Correct Weight is a dairy heifer monitoring program that measures the growth and performance of heifers from weaning to joining. Combined with strategic animal health and nutritional advice, findings and recommendations are made in an easy to read one page report after each visit to the farm. Once weaned from milk, many calves struggle to reach their potential. By not achieving their growth targets, milk production, reproduction and longevity in the herd is compromised. Over many years Warrnambool Veterinary have monitored heifer growth rates. Having heifers reaching Target Weights at joining doesn’t happen by chance, it takes planning. Holding heifers in the back paddock or at the out paddock, checking them for water and moving them once a fortnight is a recipe for small, sexually immature heifers. These heifers are a dairy farmers future herd, they need to be given every chance to achieve their genetic potential, staying in the herd for longer producing high volumes of milk and getting back in calf regularly. Pat & Trish Shanahan along with Trevor & Sarah Shanahan of Toolong operate a medium size dairy farm calving from mid-April onwards with a predominantly Friesian herd with some Xbreds. Their calf rearing system is simple, milk twice a day for 2 weeks then once a day with access to calf muesli, straw and fresh water. Once weaned they continue to have access to some supplements and high quality pasture. In late summer of 2014, after discussion with their vet Dr Charlie Blackwood, they recognized their heifers were not reaching suitable joining weights and were entering the...

Pre-Calving Checklist

Pre-Calving Checklist The following is a list of things that may be useful for you to check off, from when the last calf leaves the shed right up until your next calving season… Download a copy of the list here! Housing ❏ Bedding cleaned out when the last calf leaves the shed ❏ Partitions and walls scrubbed ❏ Partitions, walls and floors disinfected ❏ New bedding +/- shade mesh +/- scoria ordered ❏ Any changes needed to improve ventilation made NOW ❏ Can isolation pens be improved? Records ❏ Record morbidity and mortality rates permanently on computer ❏ Compare to targets – how did you do? ❏ Improve disease recording if needed (eg buy a new white board, new markers) Dry off and vaccination ❏ Plan appropriate vaccine/s schedule (eg which vaccines; 2 shot initial course or annual booster?) ❏ Compile accurate list of cow due dates ❏ Vaccinate cows at appropriate times (see product instructions) ❏ If cows were leaking milk at previous calving, consider teat sealing/assess technique Assisted calvings ❏ Chains, head snare ❏ Pulley/calving jack in working order ❏ Obstetrical lubricant ❏ Calf resuscitator/towels for drying and stimulating calves Colostrum management & newborn care ❏ 7% iodine for spraying navels ❏ New colostrum storage equipment (eg Perfect Udder, juice/milk bottles) ❏ New colostrum feeding equipment (eg Perfect udder bags/tube feeders) ❏ Brix refractometer for assessing colostrum quality –recalibrated ❏ Potassium sorbate for preserving colostrum ❏ New fridge? New freezer? ❏ New jugs for pouring colostrum into feeders Treatment of sick calves ❏ Review of treatment protocols with staff ❏ Box of gloves, special boots & overalls...

Acute Bovine Liver Disease

Acute Bovine Liver Disease By Dr Charlie Blackwood Acute Bovine Liver Disease (ABLD) is a relatively recent condition that we are still learning about. It is currently notifiable as the DPI are trying to collate as much information about this condition as possible. With the relatively mild summer and associated growth, and warmth and moisture around, it is possible ABLD could arise on farms this year. What is it? ABLD was previously known as phytotoxic hepatitis, is a disease of beef and dairy cattle. Outbreaks have been recorded in South Australia, SW Victoria, Tasmania and NSW. The actual cause of the condition is unknown, but it is associated with the presence of the native grass Cynosurus echinatus (Rough Dogs Tail). However, it is unknown whether the plant is directly involved or whether it is merely an “indicator” of some other factor. Cases of ABLD are usually associated with the introduction of cattle onto less fertile paddocks (or parts of paddocks) which have dry feed containing Rough Dogs Tail still standing from the previous spring/summer and with green grass growing underneath. It seems together with the correct weather conditions, this creates the right environment for the disease to develop. Signs of ABLD may be observed within hours of introducing cattle to the affected paddock, or may not develop straight away. Signs of the Disease Signs are variable – but as the name suggests are related to liver disease. Signs seen include: Death of cattle - this may occur suddenly or occur take as few days. Often only a few cows are affected. In the worst cases, 30% or more of...

Perennial Rye Grass Staggers

Perennial Rye Grass Staggers By Dr Erica Schmidt Perennial Rye Grass Staggers (PRGS) is a common condition of cattle, sheep, camelids, and horses in Victoria and New South Wales. It occurs in late summer and autumn and is caused by a fungus found within the rye grass plant. Unlike annual ryegrass toxicity, which is seen in spring and early summer when grasses are long, PRGS is seen when pastures are short and dry, with stock grazing closer to the base of the plant. Signs of PRGS in livestock can also be more subtle, while annual ryegrass toxicity results in severe signs including sudden death. What causes PRGS? Perennial rye grass staggers is caused by toxins produced by the fungus Neotyphodium lolii. N. lolii is an endophytic fungus, living within the cells of perennial ryegrass plants. The fungus does not harm the plant, and in fact has many known benefits including increased resistance to insects and drought. N. lolii is most concentrated at the base of the plant (see illustration), which is why signs are usually seen in livestock only when pastures are short, in late summer and autumn.   How can I identify affected animals? Stock grazed on pastures containing N. lolii may exhibit signs of perennial rye grass staggers within 7-14 days of exposure, with younger animals more severely affected. Identifying affected animals may be tricky, particularly when observing livestock from a distance. However, when the animals are put under physical stress such as herding, clinical signs become obvious. A stiff gait and lack of coordination may progress to tremoring, staggering, and collapse. Signs may also be exacerbated...

Artificial Breeding – New Service Offer

  Artificial Breeding – New Service Offer Warrnambool Veterinary would like to advise all our clients that we now can offer artificial breeding services. Matt Barnes, our Key Account Manager, is an Accredited Artificial Breeding technician with many years and thousands of cows experience, working for Genetics Australia as a DIY training instructor as well as being a senior technician at Timboon Herd Improvement. Matt can offer his services for any fixed time program or general assistance with DIY technicians/farmers that just need someone to help on busy days. Matt will be supported by Dave Cranwell who is also an accomplished technician. So if you are after consistency from a team that care about your herd’s fertility from start to finish, then give the Warrnambool Veterinary Farm Desk a call on 5561 7666 or Matt on 0499 022 114. Your Herd’s Fertility is our...