Father and son team Gordon and Neill Frazer milk 70 cows at Drumgaw on the outskirts of Armagh City.
Over the last number of years, they have developed the herd from one which was made up of predominantly black and white cows to the current milking group, comprising mostly Montbeliarde crosses.
“The herd is currently calving all the year round,” Neill explained. “Our aim has been to breed cows that will produce good volumes of high quality milk while, at the same time, having the health and fertility traits to remain in the herd for a long number of lactations. We breed all our own replacements with heifers and surplus cows not used for producing dairy stock crossed with a Limousin bull.
“Our aim is to calve replacements at twenty four months,” Neill commented.
“And achieving that target means ensuring that calves remain disease-free throughout the entire rearing period.”
Four years ago the Frazer’s encountered a major problem with most of their calves encountering a significant scour challenge four to five days after birth.
“All of the calves born on the farm get more than sufficient colostrum as soon as they hit the ground.
“And we keep the calving pens meticulously clean. So we were pretty perplexed, given that we couldn’t put our finger on what was causing the problem in the first place,” he added.
Irvin’s farm Supplies sales advisor Maurice Wylie has been a regular visitor to the farm for any years and, on hearing about the scour problem, suggested that they could effectively boost calves’ immune system with C-Guard Calf Booster.
“We took his advice and found that it had an immediate and beneficial effect in terms of reducing the scour-related problems on the farm.
“Following on farm feedback it is now policy to include 2.5 Mls of C-Guard Booster in the Calf’s milk morning and evening for the first ten days of life resulting in huge benefits.”
Robert Mollan called in with Gordon and Neill earlier this week
“C-Guard acts to prevent pathogens from attaching to the gut. It is made in Ireland by Mervue Nutrition and has been used extensively in veal production units throughout Holland,” he explained.
Robert went on to confirm that C-Guard can also be used to boost the immune system of bought-in calves.
“Simply dose each calf with 10 mls of C-Guard on arrival and then repeat the process five days later. It is a very straightforward routine that is working on farms the length and breadth of Northern Ireland.”