Things to think about this spring: Cattle
Extreme drought and bushfires over the past 12 months have left Australian cattle herd numbers at record lows. With the spring calving and weaning season fast approaching, we talked to Elders Livestock Production Manager Rob Inglis about the range of steps cattle producers should be taking to facilitate a productive season and the effective regeneration of their herd.
Below are some of the key considerations for farmers as we head into spring and summer.
Animal health and wellbeing
The primary focus for all producers heading into the spring should be the health and wellbeing of breeding females.
“Given the significant fall in herd numbers across the country, herd regeneration is essential – and that begins with promoting the prosperity and breeding capabilities of your cows. There are few issues posing a threat to the health of breeding females, and the herd more broadly,” Rob said.
Trace mineral deficiencies
“The abundance of feed available on the back of a relatively good season, particularly in eastern Australia, has resulted in the dilution of trace minerals in cattle – most notably selenium, copper and zinc. These elements are key components in maintaining a healthy immune system, so deficient cattle may become more susceptible to infection and disease,” Rob says.
While Elders offers a wide range of supplements and feeds to combat dilution and improve overall herd nutrition and productivity, it must be noted that mineral supplement programs can have significant ramifications for cow fertility – so is crucial producers are adequately informed before administration. That’s where an Elders Livestock Production Manager can really make a dramatic difference for cattle farmers, says Rob.
“Getting an expert down to recommend a supplements program tailored to the specific needs of your cattle can help ensure there are no unintended, adverse effects on the cow’s breeding cycle.”
Adequate heifer growth rates
If heifers are to enjoy strong reproductive performance throughout their breeding life, it is crucial they experience a nice, even upward growth trend during puberty. According to Rob, heifers should be reaching at least 66 per cent of their adult weight by first joining.
“Scales are just about the most important piece of hardware that any livestock producer needs to have, as it is crucial to continually keep track of heifer weight. Without constant oversight, it is impossible to know if the animal is on the right path to a productive breeding life.”
The recent season has increased the threat of parasites throughout the herd, which can be particularly detrimental to weaners. Choosing the correct drench to combat parasites is crucial, and farmers must be aware of what will and won’t work for their herd.
“It is important to note that, in many herds, single active pour-on drenches are losing their efficacy, with significant pockets of resistance starting to emerge. Producers should consider a variety of drenching options, including a combination pour-on drench or combination oral drench. The single-active nature of injectables will not be effective in breaking the growing resistance cycle,” says Rob.
“Elders offers an extensive range of internal and external parasite and vaccine products, as well as expert advice from our Livestock Production Managers to help you better manage the threat of parasites in your heard this season.”
Sort out your finances
“Putting systems and instruments in place to ease the financial burdens associated with operating a cattle farm can allow farmers to focus more of their time and energy towards what they know and love – raising quality livestock,” Rob says.
“Elders offers a range of financial services to help farmers streamline and optimise their cash flows, and our expert team of Agri-Finance Managers can help you identify a finance plan to optimise the productivity of your farm.”
Elders livestock funding
Elders offers 100% funding of up to $100,000 with 12 month payment terms on all commercial sheep and cattle purchases. The application process is quick and easy and you can repay at any time with no penalty or by sale proceeds, when the stock is sold. Learn more here.
StudPlus can give you with the financial flexibility you need to make the best stud stock buying decisions, providing eligible livestock producers with access to an advance amount of up to $100,000 to purchase stock for breeding purposes including stud and commercial sires, genetics and stud dams.
Protect your assets
“For any primary producer it is important to know that the hard work put into producing quality cattle on farm isn’t compromised by accidents further down the supply chain. Elders Livestock Delivery Warranty can certainly provide producers with the peace of mind that if something does go wrong, they won’t be left out of pocket,” says Rob.
Elders Livestock-in-Transit Delivery Warranty guarantees the livestock you purchase or sell through Elders will be delivered alive to the relevant delivery location. If those livestock are not delivered alive (or require humane destruction), Elders will compensate you for the value of stock lost.
Consider alternative selling platforms
“Given the current COVID climate, we are finding that there are a number of small disruptions along the supply chain – such as restrictions on in-person buying and selling. I would encourage producers to consider alternative selling platforms to ensure their access to the market isn’t compromised,” says Rob.
Elders provides clients with a range of livestock marketing options, including online, real-time auctions through AuctionsPlus – allowing commodity transactions, reserve price setting and legal change of ownership without the seller, buyer or product having to come together physically at the time of the sale.
The Elders business has been built around primary producers and their needs throughout the production cycle. We have built a team of dedicated agribusiness experts to help you achieve your goals in crop growth and have the farm supplies and technical services you need to maximise your farm’s potential.
For more information on how Elders can support you, contact your local Elders branch or Livestock Production Manager.