The dairy calving and mating season for 2018 is here, however, this year it’s marred by a something called Mycoplasma Bovis. To top it off, there have also been predictions about how this could affect the quality of dairy and beef calves in a negative way. Farmers fear for their livelihoods and remain uncertain about how to protect their farms from becoming another statistic.
The Value in Quality Calves
It has been reiterated by Mark Bocock who is a member of the Beef and Lamb NZ Dairy Beef Integration Program that dairy farmers are able to increase their profit by breeding calves of superior quality for the red meat sector. Biosecurity is extremely important in the farm environment. Initially the focus for dairy farmers has been on the production of milk rather than on breeding calves, however, farmers must be made aware that they can increase their income by increasing the calf production. The threat of Mycoplasma Bovis is a relevant one and farmers are fearful of bringing in new cattle to mate in case the disease spreads.
Taking The Necessary Precautions
It is imperative that you buy from as few suppliers as possible. If possible deal directly with the farm where the calves are sourced. Ask the necessary questions regarding the tests carried out for the virus. It is also important to find out information about the health of cows and calves over the past few seasons. Cattle mixing takes place in sale yards so it is best to avoid purchasing from such places. All the calves you purchase should be NAIT-registered and tagged. Transport is a vital part of getting the calves to your farm, however, it is imperative that you request your calves are not mixed with other cattle. Once the calves arrive on the farm, keep them in isolation for at least a week and be vigilant when looking out for signs of illness and disease.