Average calving date forward by a month

This week marked the beginning of the breeding season on the Newtownhamilton suckler farm of the McClenagahan family.

“There are currently 47 cows in the herd, mostly Aberdeen Angus crosses,” Kenny McClenaghan explained.

“They are bred to a Limousin bull in order to produce high quality progeny. This is the last year that we will be using the current bull and it is my intention to keep a number of the current heifer calves as replacements.”

Kenny went on to confirm that the entire breeding herd calved down well this spring with not calf or cow lost.

“The cows also calved down a month earlier than would normally be the case,” he added.

“This will allow me to have bigger weanlings to sell at the back end. The driver for the suckling business is to produce high quality cattle, which will obtain a premium price in the market. Last year a number of the freshly weaned calves made £900 per head in the sale ring. It is also practice on the farm to provide the calves with creep from an early age.”

Kenny attributes the attainment of a consistently earlier calving date this year to the drenching of the cows with Liquid Gold Cattle, from HVS Animal Health, prior to the start of the 2014 breeding season.

Steven Waters, from HVS, takes up the story: “Kenny had made me aware of the Selenium deficiency related issues on the farm.

“I immediately recommended the drenching of the cows with Liquid Gold Cattle as a means of ensuring they got all the important minerals and vitamins they required, and in their most bioavailable form. The drench contains copper, zinc and manganese, made available exclusively as chelates.

“And the results speak for themselves, in terms of the fertility levels achieved by the entire breeding group last year. The cows were also drenched with Liquid Gold Cattle six weeks prior to calving this spring.

“This acts to maximise ease of calving while also ensuring that colostrum quality is optimised. Calves are also born with lots of vitality.

“And, again, the results speak for themselves. All Kenny’s cows have calved successfully this year.”

Kenny is quick to confirm that all the cows had been drenched with Liquid Gold Cattle, prior to the bull being put in with them this year.

“I was very happy with the results achieved in 2014,” he said.

“An additional driver this time around has been the unseasonably cold and damp weather over the past number of weeks. This has hampered both grass growth and quality. Under these circumstances it made sense to make sure that the cows received all of their mineral and vitamin requirements.

“In addition, I drenched all this year’s calves with Liquid Gold, so as to ensure they maintain the highest possible growth rates.”

For further information, contact HVS Animal Health on (028) 44831700.