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Alerts Archive

  • 06-Oct-2016

    Lamb Carcase Classification Lamb carcase grades during September have been poorer than previous years following wet conditions in August and September. Despite plentiful supplies of grass on most farms, performance has not reflected this due to the poor nutritional content of the forage. As a result, farmers are encouraged to carefully select lambs for slaughter to avoid penalties which may affect the profit margin of the enterprise. Concentrate supplementation is becoming more important during Autumn and Winter months, as the quality of grass continues to fall. The protein content of the diet can be used to manipulate the quality of the lamb carcase. Feeding concentrates will increase the overall protein percentage of the diet and help to increase the daily live weight gain (DLWG) of the lambs while controlling the fat deposition. By manipulating carcase quality, and achieving E and U grades, lambs will be paid up to 30p/kg above base which can increase profit by up to £6.00 per lamb.

  • 06-Oct-2016

    The importance of high quality silage - Silage quality can greatly impact upon the profitability of any livestock enterprise. It is important to get a silage analysis carried out to evaluate the quality of your forage which will allow you to calculate how much meal is required to maximise daily live weight gains and also to assess the specification of meal to purchase. The targets for a high quality silage are 12MJ ME, 25-30% dry matter and 14-15% crude protein (CP). By feeding a high quality silage to finishing cattle, a daily live weight gain of 0.9kg-1.0kg/day can be achieved with 2-3kg of 10% C.P concentrate. Poor silage will require up to 5-6kg of 16% C.P concentrate to achieve the same daily live weight gain, leading to a higher cost of production and a reduction in the profit margin for the beef enterprise. Silage is the cheapest feed stuff available and as a result it should be utilized to maximise profit. In previous years farmer’s aimed to maximise yield while research has showed quality is now more important. Meal is one of the highest variable costs for any beef production system and good quality silage can reduce this cost by up to 50%.

  • 11-Jul-2016

    Is finishing off grass the answer to beef farm profitability? Farming systems need to be both economically and socially stable in order to compete with other industries. Grass is the lowest cost feed, estimated by the Scottish Agricultural College at 5.7p/kg DM while concentrates cost at least 25p/kg DM and beef production systems should aim to increase animal output from grazed grass to increase their sustainability. Grassland management is a key component to finishing cattle at grass. Paddock grazing systems have the potential to achieve the highest quality swards for grazing and optimum daily live weight gains if - • Cattle are turned out when the grass reaches the 3 leaf stage as the grass has a higher D-value and a greater nutritional content. • A 21 day grazing rotation is implemented with cattle grazing each paddock for 3-4 days. • The 18 day rest for the sward between grazing allows for increased yields. • The sward coverage is approximately 2,200kg DM/ha pre-grazing and 1,200kg DM/ha post-grazing. The use of a plate meter can help to access the density of the sward. As the grass quality begins to fall from July onwards, the ME content of the grass becomes poorer and the D-value of the sward falls leading to an energy deficiency in the diet. As a result, performance is affected and target weights may not be reached when expected. • Concentrate supplementation may be necessary for beef finishing cattle to maintain the expected 1kg gain per day. • Research indicates a supplementation of 0.5kg concentrate per 100kg bodyweight. • There is a carcass growth response to feeding finishing cattle concentrates in late Summer and Autumn when the quality and quantity of the grazing sward available falls. • Feeding concentrates at this stage of production will not only help to meet optimum carcase weight but it will also improve conformation.

  • 24-May-2016

    Excess Grass Growth - The late spring has meant that grass growth has got ahead of livestock. Now is the critical time to evaluate grass management to take a cut of silage from excess grass growth to increase grazing quality later in the year. Any field which has been grazed should be topped as soon as the livestock move to ensure rejected tufts of grass don’t become ‘stemmy’ and wasted. This practice will reduce re-growth time and allow new growth to be of a higher quality.

  • 26-Apr-2016

    Nematodirus Warning in Sheep Due to mild weather last winter, a Nematodirus warning has been issued for 2016 NI lambs. Eggs from 2015 lambs will have remained unhatched throughout the mild winter and will undergo mass hatching from mid-April throughout May as the temperature increases. Exposure to this high level of eggs will leave this year’s lambs at risk to infection, lambs between 6 and 12 weeks are particularly at risk. Clinical signs occur two weeks after ingestion and can lead to death as clinical signs are confused with Coccidiosis. For accurate diagnosis and treatment it is recommended to consult your vet. In order to reduce the risk to your lambs it is recommended to graze this years lamb on different fields than last year’s lamb and dose every 2 to 4 weeks.

  • 25-Nov-2015

    Business Development Groups Linden Livestock are interested in working with CAFRE to form a number of Business Development Groups specifically for their Select Farm Members. Any of Linden's Select Farm members who are interested in joining a Business Development Group should apply to CAFRE before the 14th December. They should also contact any member of the Linden Procurement team to register an interest and obtain a letter to state they are a Linden Foods Select Farm producer. This letter may help producers obtain additional points if the scheme is over oversubscribed.

  • 28-Aug-2015

    At Linden we are starting to see an increase in the number of lambs being presented with fluke in their livers. With the damp summer we expect these numbers to rise. Some of the warning signs of a fluke infestation include; - Sudden death in previously healthy sheep - Weight loss, with or without diarrhoea - Depressed animals with poor grazing activity - Lethargy due to pain - Poor fleece quality Fluke are typically diagnosed by ill-thrive and flock history. If you suspect liver fluke infestation it is possible to take a blood or faecal samples to confirm their presence. A fluke control program should include prevention if possible, this might include; using a fluke treatment during risk times, fencing off or removal of snail habitats and draining of excessively wet areas. If you are still slaughtering lambs it is essential to check post mortem results.

  • 07-Aug-2015

    Grazing in Wet Conditions. The higher moisture levels present in fields have resulted in lower dry matter intakes thus poorer performance. A rotational grazing system has several advantages in wet conditions: - Reduced soil erosion and damage to grass plants allowing for easier grassland management. - The potential for the grazing season to be extended as forage needs a shorter recovery time. - 30% increase in efficient use of forage due to less trampling and soiling. - Improve animal performance as producers are able to allocate paddocks based on animal requirement levels. - Animal gain per acre is increased which increases the economical efficiency of the farm - Were possible drier paddocks should always be grazed first in wetter conditions. Producers can make use of services such as GrassCheck through DARD in order to predict grass growth each week in order to effectively manage and plan a successful grazing platform.

  • 20-Jul-2015

    Importance of Farm Medicine Records It is essential that all our Beef & Lamb Producers ensure that their Farm Quality Assured Medicine Records are completed promptly and correctly after each treatment. This is both a legal and Single Farm Payment cross compliance requirement. All treated groups of animals should be clearly identified for management purposes and to ensure that withdrawal periods have been observed for all stock.

  • 22-Jun-2015

    Sheep jobs for the Month • Carry out faecal egg counting to access the need for worming • Keep a close eye for Nematodirus and heed any warnings- treat if its poses a risk • Clostridial vaccines for lambs when due • Dag ewes with dirty backside, shear ewes when ready • Pour on against fly strike • Fluke dose to break life cycle

  • 20-Mar-2015

    Worming Ewes at Lambing Lambing time is the one time of the year that it is recommended that adult ewes should receive a worming dose. At lambing time the immunity in a ewe is reduced, treatment will help reduce egg shedding on pasture. If ewes are housed they should be dosed 24hrs prior to turnout. The best wormers to use are short acting ones that clear infection at the time of treatment.

  • 09-Dec-2014

    Controlling Lameness in Store Lambs Lameness due to scald and footrot are ongoing issues in many of Northern Ireland Sheep Flocks. Lame lambs will not fatten as quickly or cost effectively as healthy animals. When purchasing store lambs check for signs of scald and footrot on arrival. If there is evidence of footrot or scald animals should be treated with antibiotic foot spray and injectable antibiotics. Regular foot bathing of lambs will help treat and prevent against footrot. If possible separate lame sheep from the flock and isolate to prevent the spread of footrot, especially if concentrate feeding in troughs or feeders.

  • 09-Dec-2014

    Preventing Future Outbreaks of Pneumonia Management changes can help to reduce the susceptibility of pneumonia. These can be summarised as VIP treatment, Ventilation & Vaccination. VIP treatment- Pay attention to stocking densities, bedding conditions, sufficient trough space & water access. Minimise stress at housing. Ventilation- The warm air rising from the cattle should exit the building through the roof and be replaced with fresh cool air from the sides. (Use a smoke bomb to test the stack effect) Vaccination- There are a wide range of vaccines available from a single-shot, intra-nasal IBR vaccine that can be used in the event of an out-break to a two-shot vaccine covering RSV, PI3, IBR & BVD. Have your vet plan a vaccination plan which suits your farming system.

  • 24-Oct-2014

    Clean Cattle - It is critical that every effort is made to keep finishing cattle as clean as possible during the period from housing to slaughter. Dirty cattle give an increased risk of carcase contamination which can lead to food poisoning. In order to improve cleanliness of housed beef cattle it is advised to: • Provide a “fresh air” environment by improving ventilation • Keep condensation to a minimum • Ensure stocking densities in pens are correct. • House Steers and Heifers in separate pens • Feed finishing cattle on the driest possible rations • Reserve driest silages for the finish cattle • Clip animals before housing (primarily tail, flank & belly) • Ensure that stock are wormed correctly

  • 24-Oct-2014

    Have you checked the quantity and quality of your silage for the coming winter? If not, we recommend that you do so as soon as possible, in order to feed the correct level of concentrates and to allow for forward planning.

  • 30-Jul-2014

    A good grass year has resulted in excellent cattle performance. The result is that many cattle are likely to be heavier and more importantly, in much better condition than in recent years. It is important to monitor the condition of finishing cattle continuously.

  • 02-Jun-2014

    Tips for Successful Silage Making • Grass sugars are highest in the afternoon. Delay mowing down until the afternoon, rather than early morning or late evening. • Dry grass is key to good silage and animal performance. Wilting for 12-24 hours will improve dry matter of silage. • Silage additive will aid in the preservation and fermentation on silage. Reducing waste. • Rolling/levelling and sealing the silo is extremely important, reducing air and improving fermentation. Covering the silo requires no holes/gaps for air or water to enter creating spoilage. Attention to detail will improve silage quality, and improve livestock performance throughout the winter feed period.

  • 02-Jun-2014

    Maximising Performance on grass. • Soil testing will let you know if the soil condition is correct for growing grass. • Proper fertilizer application will promote grass production and grass protein improving palatability. • Grass needs to be at 3rd leaf stage, with no seed heads for maximum grass energy and protein. • Refused grass, needs to topped to stop the build up of unpalatable grass through the grazing period. • Regular Topping and proper fertilizer application will keep swards young, leafy and maximise livestock performance throughout the grazing period.

  • 17-Apr-2014

    A New Exciting Grass Project sponsored by Marks and Spencer as part of their Farming For The Future Programme in conjunction CAFRA and Linden Foods will commence on the 30th April 2014. For full details contact the Linden procurement team.

  • 10-Mar-2014

    Good hygiene essential in calving facilities to reduce perennial problems at calving time