There was a large attendance of dairy and beef producers from Counties Leitrim, Longford and Westmeath for the seminar hosted last Tuesday, March 27, by Connacht Gold in J’s Hotel, Mohill.
The purpose of the event was to highlight the benefits to be gained by feeding the co-op’s new range of Excel dairy and beef feeds, containing the unique nutritional pack ATP.
Courtesy of his presentation Connacht Gold Technical Advisor Pascal Whyte explained that, when included in dairy rations, ATP served to improve production and cow fertility while, at the same time, reducing somatic cell counts.
Turning then to the new Excel beef rations from Connacht Gold, Pascal pointed out that the Yea-Sacc contained in the ATP component of the ration acted to improve rumen function.
“This, in turn, serves to improve the general health of the animals, thereby leading to improved feed conversions and growth rates,” he said.
Connacht Gold’s Technical Sales Manager Dr John Coleman confirmed to the seminar that a host of diseases are currently acting to significantly reduce dairy and beef cattle performance on farms throughout the country.
These include BVD, Leptospirosis, IBR, Johne’s and Neospara. He also pointed out that the challenge of dealing with worms, liver fluke and, increasingly, rumen fluke remains undiminished.
“Farmers must act to screen for these diseases and then initiate a suitable eradication or vaccination programme. The Connacht Gold technical team will provide appropriate back up and advice to customers on these matters. However, it is also crucially important for herdowners to agree a relevant animal health programme with their vet,” he explained.
Turning to the specific issue of worm and fluke control, Dr Coleman reminded those in attendance that they must dose their stock at rates that are in line with animals’ actual bodyweights.
“Cows can range in weight from 600 to 900 kilos,” he added. “Flat rate dosing is totally counterproductive.”
Trouw Nutrition’s, Paul Mooney, discussed the latest thinking on what constitutes an effective beef finishing system.
“Producers must aim to finish their cattle in 100 days,” he stressed. “This includes a 20m to 30 day warm up, followed by a 70 to 80 day period of hard feeding. Stock maintained beyond this period of time will start to lose money for their owners very quickly.
“Cattle must also be provided with adequate space and comfort within pens and sufficient bunk space so that they have the opportunity to secure the intakes required to maximise daily liveweight gains. Ensuring that all pens have an adequate water supply is also a key requirement.
“Beef finishing diets can be simple or complex in nature. However, ration consistency must be maintained throughout the entire finishing period.
“Chopping and changing diets will lead to numerous problems, all of which can add to the cost of bringing cattle through to their final weights.”
Referring to the specifics of including ATP in beef finishing rations Paul Mooney pointed out that the Yea-Sacc will serve to improve rumen function, in tandem with the unique intake stimulant contained within its formulation.
The final speaker of the evening was beef finisher Andy O’Donohoe. Courtesy of his presentation he confirmed that young bulls on his Walderstown farm had been securing liveweight gains of up to 2 kilos per day while receiving the new Excel Beef plus ATP nuts during the period September to December past.