This article is part of a series of informative animal health articles. The series goes hand in hand with the #VideoVet video series – watch the video below.

When referring to reproduction management, the first thing that must be clarified is what the concept involves. Successful reproduction is defined as the ability of animals to breed, conceive, nourish their embryos, and deliver a viable young animal at the end of a normal gestation period. To remain profitable, all cows and ewes must produce a calf, lamb or kid every year.

During pregnancy female animals must be vaccinated/dosed and given production licks to ensure the production of good colostrum. Good quality colostrum containing antibodies from the dam is critical for the newborn calf, lamb or kid to survive potential diseases early in life.

Health management

Good reproduction management starts with basic health management which, if correctly implemented, can have a huge impact on the success of your enterprise. It includes the following:

  • Vaccination programme: It is crucial to keep the time of vaccination, production stage of the animals, and disease risks in your area in mind.
  • Dosing programme: The life cycle stage of the internal parasite you wish to target is of critical importance. Each dosing agent has a specific focus that must be well understood. There are various dosing remedies available from MSD Animal Health that can be used to treat internal parasites.
  • Dipping programme: Tick control should be based on the intensity of the tick challenge. This will guide your approach in terms of seasonal and strategic dipping. Use the method best suited to your farm, whether pour-ons, spray race/plunge dipping, or injectables.
  • Nutrition: To optimise your animals’ nutrition, it is best to consult an animal nutritionist. Good quality roughage remains essential, especially when combined with the right lick supplements, as well as trace mineral supplements.
  • Housing and security: Without adequate and secure shelter, your animals will not produce optimally.

Importance of a sound programme

As every farm is different, farmers must have an appropriate management programme. This will simplify the task at hand and ensure optimal management flow on the farm.

This programme must include all management aspects on the farm, which should be added on a planner (daily/ weekly/monthly/yearly) showing when specific tasks must be performed – areas of importance include cattle, sheep and goat health programmes.

A good recordkeeping system is just as important on a farm as proper vaccination programmes and tick and worm control. MSD Animal Health has an excellent record-keeping tool for farmers called the Book of Health. It contains a budget tool that you can use to calculate your return on investment regarding medical expenses, among other things.

It also includes a year planner, animal vaccination programme, all the relevant product names, and a space that farmers can use to remind themselves of the next vaccination, dosing or dip date.

In order to obtain the book of health, you will need to receive training from your MSD Animal Health area agent. Visit the MSD Animal Health website at www.msd-animal-health.co.za for the contact details of your area agent.

Gardal® 10%

Contains: 10% m/v Ricobendazole (Albendazole sulfoxide).
Indications: A remedy against roundworms, milk tapeworm and liver fluke in cattle, sheep and goats. Dosage rate for cattle: 1,5mℓ /20kg body mass.
Pack size: 200mℓ, 1ℓ and 5ℓ plastic
bottles.

For full details read product insert or visit
www.msd-animal-health.co.za.

For more information, contact your MSD Animal Health representative or phone 011 923 9300. To watch more videos in this series, click here.