Over 1,000 dairy farmers attended the first five of a series of seven CalfCare events held over the last two weeks in counties Wexford, Kilkenny, Waterford, Laois and Kerry.
Animal Health Ireland (AH) and Teagasc, in conjunction with Glanbia, Kerry Agri Business and Aurivo and supported by Volac are teaming up to deliver the CalfCare events in January. According to AHI these events are a timely refresher for dairy farmers as the first of almost one million calves begins to arrive on spring calving dairy farms.
The events focus on five key areas:
- Colostrum management;
- Calf nutrition;
- Managing the scouring calf;
- Calf Performance – weaning to mating; and,
- Biosecurity and managing Johne’s Disease at calving.
Speaking at the event on the farm of Thomas Cahill near Ballyroan, Co. Laois, Teagasc’s Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer, Dr. Tom O’Dwyer said Teagasc research shows that successful rearing of replacement heifers begins from birth.
“The weight gain achieved during the first three months carries through to breeding and heavier heifers are more likely to go in calf and to calve earlier the following year. The partnership between Teagasc and AHI at these events has allowed us to put together a programme for farmers that addresses the management of both nutrition and health in the critical early days of the calf’s life,” he said.
Representing Animal Health Ireland, Grainne Dwyer said AHI is very pleased to be involved in these CalfCare events.
She said the speakers on calf health are involved in the AHI CalfCare and Biosecurity Technical Working Groups and, as part of their work, have access to the latest research and science.
“Using this information, they present best practice advice which, if implemented, will be of enormous benefit to the farmer in ensuring that the calves born this spring are as healthy as possible.”
Large numbers of farmers are expected at the remaining events scheduled for the coming week on the following farms:
Wednesday, January 28 – Martin Gilvarry, Killala, Co. Mayo;
Thursday, January 29 – Olive and Richard Gregg, Convoy, Co. Donegal.