The exact starting and ending point is actually a difficult point to predict in a dynamic farming business.
Annual sales and shortened evenings are all indicators that the sheep calendar year is drawing to a close – although weather, factory prices, feed costs and individual business setup will all affect the exact date of sale of last year’s lamb harvest.
Any incidence of disease (especially pneumonia, worms and lameness) will also affect lambs sell date as they have a big effect on growth rates. The role of the veterinarian at this time of year is varied, but may include providing worm egg counts for assessments of parasite load or worm resistance, documentation for the export of breeders, vasectomies and advice on vaccinations before the next breeding season.
Parasites are the disease with the greatest economic impact on the UK herd with an estimated annual loss of Â£ 84million to the sheep industry or Â£ 4.40 per sheep according to the ahdb reports. The faecal egg count is especially useful at this time of year, as loads of worms have built up on pastures in the previous summer months.
Bring a number of individual samples which can be pooled to the practice if necessary. For the most reliable and reproducible results, samples should be random and fresh.
Gathering a crowd in a corner of a field and picking up samples after holding them for a few minutes is often the easiest way to get samples (and the method SCOPS recommends). Samples should be kept cool before taking them to veterinarians, as hatching of eggs will artificially reduce the number of eggs observed / reported.
For those who sell breeding animals at sales such as the famous Kelso tup sales, there may be the possibility of selling animals abroad (especially in Ireland). Any export license will require an on-farm stock assessment for notifiable diseases within 14 days of sale.
A notifiable disease is a disease which, for reasons of public health, welfare or economic impact, has been classified as notifiable by the government. The chances of finding such a disease are of course low, however, this is just one example of the many steps and precautions in place in the UK agricultural industry to provide high quality beef and lamb with unsurpassed traceability. It is also a great opportunity as a vet to walk in the sun and admire beautiful animals!
Finally, we start to consider the next breeding season. The abundance of grass means that, for the most part, the ewes are in good condition before breeding.
Vasectomies on rams for use as teasers should be done more than four weeks before intended use, while vaccination against abortive agents should be done more than three weeks before tupping and footvax should be given at two weeks of age. interval of other vaccines.
As always, anyone with questions regarding vaccines, parasites or vasectomies is encouraged to contact one of our practices.