Lamb producer ‘couldn’t farm’ without this long-acting cobalt bolus

A lamb producer who farms land with an extreme cobalt deficiency says ewe health has improved so much since he started administering a new long-acting bolus that the flock’s weaning rate has increased.

Bertie Mannion’s land at Co. Roscommon and Connemara has exceptionally low levels of cobalt and this was threatening productivity in his sheep enterprise.

The impact on ewes that graze mountain land at Connemara was so great that they were sometimes too weak to be rounded up for routine treatments.

“Some lagged back and weren’t able to come into the pen,’’ recalled Bertie, who farms with his wife, Kathleen, and sons, Alan and David.

‘Technological leap forward’

That all changed when he was introduced to Cobalt Master, a bolus developed by Mayo Healthcare which delivers 2mg/day of cobalt over a 12-month period – in contrast, competitor boluses deliver 1mg/day over six months.

Mayo Healthcare sales manager Leo Forkan says Cobalt Master had been specifically developed to meet the needs of sheep farmers on cobalt deficient pasture.

“Irish research has shown that ewes grazing cobalt deficient pasture require additional supplementation of 2mg of cobalt a day,’’ he pointed out.

Bertie runs a flock of 325 Scotch Horn ewes on his land at Connemara. A mixed flock of 300 mules, Charollais-cross and Scotch Horn are kept on the home farm 70 miles away in Co. Roscommon, where he also has a cattle enterprise.

The lambs born at Connemara are outsourced for finishing a target deadweight of 20-21kg and sold to Kepak.

Bertie describes Cobalt Master as a “technological leap forward’’ that he uses to his flock’s advantage.

“I couldn’t farm without it,’’ he insisted. “Since we started using this bolus the ewes are so healthy that we have higher conception rates and we are weaning a lot more lambs.’’

Weaning rate has increased from 80% to 90% in the mountain flock; the weaning percentage in the home flock has also increased.

“We have better health in the ewes and their lambs; the lambs have a lot more vigour.’’

He gives the bolus to ewes and replacement ewe lambs at weaning and this provides them with 2mg of cobalt every day for the next year.

Cobalt Master also contains long-acting zinc to protect foot health and selenium to support the immune system.

“We have fewer lame sheep since we have been bolusing,’’ said Bertie.

In addition, lambs for finishing are given an All Guard Lamb 4 in 1 bolus prior to weaning, a supplementary bolus that supplies lambs with cobalt, selenium, iodine and zinc.

Further information

For more information on Cobalt Master, go online to: www.mayohealthcare.ie; or simply click here