Herd health on agenda at Simmental AGM

Simmental AGM 1

The Northern Ireland Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club held its AGM recently in Dungannon.

Guest speaker for the evening was veterinary surgeon John Gilmore, who is a partner in a large animal practice based in County Roscommon.

Working in a heavily populated suckler farming area, Mr Gilmore specialises in herd health issues, focusing on diseases which affect cows and newborn calves.  Two years ago the practice set up an in-house laboratory testing for diseases such as BVD and Johnes.

He highlighted a few statistics from Ireland’s national suckler herd, and stressed the importance of good herd management and nutrition, especially mineral supplementation.

Mr Gilmore has carried out extensive research into the use of various boluses for cattle. He recommends the tracesure® bolus from Animax, as it contains four essential trace elements - copper, selenium, cobalt and iodine, and one application lasts up to six months.

“When buying boluses don’t base your decisions solely on price,” he said. “It’s important to compare the mineral content.

“High molybdenum and low copper intakes can reduce growth, depress immunity and have a hard-hitting impact on reproductive performance. Low iodine is a common problem in cows, and can lead to reduced fertility, poor weight gain, general ill-thrift, abortions and stillbirths, reduced milk yields, and susceptibility to infectious diseases.

Mr Gimore added:”A lack of selenium can lead to stillbirths and reduced fertility, while cobalt is necessary for ruminants to maintain the vital production of vitamin B12, otherwise animals will suffer from depressed appetites and won’t thrive.”

Concluding he urged breeders to look closely at the importance of mineral supplementation, and stressed the importance of good quality colostrum for newborn calves. He also advised herd owners that the most beneficial time to administer boluses is six to eight weeks prior to calving.

The election of office bearers for 2014/15 was conducted by club member Robert Forde from the Mullyknock Herd based at Tempo, County Fermanagh.

The following members were elected: chairman, Richard Rodgers, Hiltonstown Herd, Portglenone; vice-chairman, Matthew Cunning, Point Farms Herd, Glarryford; treasurer, Leslie Weatherup, Lisglass Herd, Ballyclare; secretary, Robin Boyd, Slievenagh Herd, Portglenone.

Committee members for the forthcoming term include: Nigel Glasgow, Bridgewater Farm Herd, Cookstown; Chris Traynor, Rosemeadow Farm Herd, Armagh; Patsy McDonald, Coolcran Herd, Tempo; Thelma Gorman, Woodford Herd, Armagh; Joe Wilson, Ballinalare Farm Herd, Newry; David Hazelton, Ranfurly Herd, Dungannon, Conrad Fegan, Knockreagh Herd, Rostrevor; and Andrew Clarke, Breaghey Herd, Tynan

The committee also includes regional society council representatives Michael Robson, Kilbride Farm Herd, Doagh; Robert Rodgers, Hiltonstown Herd, Portglenone; Robin Boyd.

Club treasurer Leslie Weatherup reported on the club’s healthy financial situation.

Forthcoming club events include:

Wednesday, 28th May – Evening show and sale of pedigree and commercial Simmental cattle, Ballymena Mart – show 4pm, sale at 7pm. Catalogues from JA McClelland and Sons Ltd on tel: 028 2563 3470.

Tuesday, 17th June – Junior Stockjudging competition and farm walk, at Rodgers family’s Hiltonstown Herd, 13 Race Road, Portglenone – 7pm.

Friday, 8th August – Annual charity BBQ and auction in aid of Friends of Cancer NI, at Dungannon Rugby Club – 8pm.

Anyone interested in joining the NI Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club should contact secretary Robin Boyd on mobile: 07799 346784.

NI Simmental Cattle Breeders' Club chairman Richard Rodgers, centre, with veterinary surgeon John Gilmore, County Roscommon, and Neil Acheson, Animax. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Office bearers elected at the NI Simmental Club's AGM, Dungannon, from left: Leslie Weatherup, treasurer; Matthew Cunning, vice chairman; Richard Rodgers, chairman: and Robin Boyd, secretary. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Office bearers and committee members of the NI Simmental Cattle Breeders' Club pictured at its AGM held in Dungannon. Picture: Julie Hazelton