A Northern Ireland livestock farmer has improved profitability by tightening his calving pattern.
Richard Henderson, who runs a herd of pedigree Limousins at Tobermore, says a key to profitability in suckler production is producing a calf every year.
“If a cow is calving down every year, it means you are not losing money on her, she is not standing there stale,” he says.
But the fertility of his suckler herd had been compromised by a shortage of trace elements.
To counter this shortfall, Richard turned to Tracesure Cu/I, a trace element bolus that slowly releases selenium, cobalt, iodine and copper.
“Before we used Tracesure Cu/I we had three cows that were struggling to get in calf. Within one month of bolusing they held to their first AI so I was basically sold on the product,” says Richard.
He boluses the herd twice a year, at housing and at turnout, and reports that cows not only come into heat quickly after calving but their calves are born strong and lively.
“Cows never hold their cleansings. I find that four to six weeks after calving they will be back in heat again and will hold to that AI. The Tracesure Cu/I bolus keeps the cows more productive. Calves are stronger, healthier and up quicker to suckle, they never look back.” Calves are sold at pedigree sales.
Richard was so pleased with the results he was experiencing in his cows that he started using the Tracesure range of Animax sheep boluses on his pedigree Texels and the crossbred ewes that he uses as recipients for embryos.
“Sheep fertility is fantastic, there is a great holding to AI and to the embryos.”
This season his Texels achieved a scanning percentage of 180%. The ewes are bolused a month before AI and one month before lambing with a combination bolus containing both selenium and iodine, and a separate cobalt only bolus. Again the benefit is passed onto the progeny via the blood and then milk once born.
“It is a big factor in terms of lamb vigour, ease of lambing and how healthy the lambs are. They are strong at birth and quick to get up and suck,” says Richard.