The prices paid plus the encouraging feedback which producers of SureCalves® received at last year’s suckled calf sales has prompted Ballymena and Enniskillen Marts to participate again this year and has attracted two new marts to join the programme.
Hilltown and Plumbridge have decided to encourage their customers who sell suckled calves to ensure that they are SureCalves®.
Veterinary Consultant with Zoetis, Aurelie Moralis states that the reports from the SureCalf® sellers last year has encouraged others to join and created interest at the marts.
Quoting some of the comments from sellers and buyers she said: “At Enniskillen eight SureCalves® averaged 220p per kilo, while a private buyer, knowing the quality of these calves and the fact that they were SureCalves® snapped the rest up before they got to the mart.”
She went on to quote a buyer at Enniskillen who admits he paid £30 to £50 more for his calves because he was confident that being SureCalves® they would thrive from the date of purchase saving money in time, veterinary treatment and in helping prevent any loss of performance.
A seller at Plumbridge had similar success with 13 Charolais, three Simmental and two Limousin calves averaging 217p per kilo.
As an added incentive in the programme this year Zoetis will pay an extra £100 to the best SureCalf® in the championship line-up at each mart on the day of their opening show.
Aurelie went on to explain that a combination of the stress of transportation and mixing of calves from different sources increases exposure to new pathogens. This increases the risk of respiratory disease, with the potential for calves to suffer setbacks when they arrive at the finishing farm. Not only does this cost money in treatment and calf losses but it can also extend the time needed to finish these calves - costs that the industry cannot afford in today’s economic climate.
SureCalf® is a pre-conditioning programme aimed at minimising the impact of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) and improving the welfare of calves as they pass through market. There are three schemes within the programme, based on which vaccine is used, age of the animal, and whether or not it has already been through a winter housing season.
SureCalf ® Duo is ideal for calves sold in the autumn prior to their first winter housing period. Calves are vaccinated pre-sale against the three key respiratory viruses, BRSv, Pi3v and IBR. Sellers register their calves at least two weeks prior to sale by calling the SureCalf® Helpline on 0800 668 1886.The information required are the dates of birth of the calves, numbers being sold, the date of vaccination and the batch number of the vaccines used, plus the name of their veterinary practice. They will then receive personalised SureCalf® certificates, with these details.
On the day of sale the seller provides the buyer with this signed certificate showing compliance with the SureCalf® programme. The seller will also receive blue ear tags which can be inserted in the calf’s ear and cards for the calf pens, thus identifying the vaccinated calves for the buyers.
Calves must be over 10 weeks of age, and are vaccinated one to three weeks prior to sale with a single intranasal dose of Rispoval® IntraNasal (against BRSv and Pi3v) and a single intranasal dose of TracherineTM (against IBR). The buyer benefits from up to six months ongoing cover against IBR and up to three months ongoing cover against BRSv and Pi3v ensuring protection going into the winter housing period.
SureCalf® is a free certification programme, which aims to help sellers, who invest in vaccinating against BRD pre-sale, increase the value of their calves at market. It also enables buyers to identify these vaccinated calves.