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Beef Weaning
5 April 2019 Andrew Dowling

Beef weaning checklist

There is always a lot to think about at weaning. Working through the below checklist may help ensure the essentials get done.

  • Calves should have been given a 5-in-1 vaccine at calf marking, but as this was more than six weeks ago the vaccination programme needs to be completed. Vaccinate at weaning and again four to six weeks later. Some vaccines have differing dose rates based on the age of the animal. 
  • Calves may not require drenching at weaning and can be a valuable source of refugia.  
  • Drenches need to contain levamisole to provide effective control against Cooperia. Weaner beef calves do not require drenching as frequently as weaned lambs, as they are older and better able to manage a worm challenge. 
  • Trace element supplementation needs to be tailored to your farm, as winter forage crops often deplete animal reserves of copper, selenium and possibly phosphorus. The importance of iodine supplementation is not well understood in young cattle.
  • Check that all NAIT tags are in place and recorded.  
  • If you are transporting cull cows, check your obligations on the “Fit for Transport” app from MPI, or the MPI website.  If unsure, contact your PGG Wrightson Livestock Representative for advice.  
  • Quarantine drench with Zolvix™ Plus.
  • Monitor weaned cows for magnesium staggers. Feeding silage can help alleviate issues when cows walk the fence lines and do not graze or during poor weather immediately after weaning. 

To reduce animal and staff stress, consider delaying some treatments, don’t try to do everything at once.  For advice around any of the requirements at weaning, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.

Andrew Dowling

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