Peter Williams runs his family farm Werllwyd, near Newcastle in Monmouthshire. The business trades under the name of A. T Williams and Son, and the farm covers some 240 owned acres, plus 320 rented.
Peter lambs 952 Suffolk X or Welsh mules, and also has 270 suckler cows and is also a beef finisher. The work on the farm is all done by himself, his son and one other employee. Peter says “We have to work hard looking after all this livestock, and really we don’t want any avoidable health problems if possible”.
It would seem that the use of Agrimin boluses on both the lambing ewes and his suckler cows have provided some excellent health improvements this year, and although Peter was a “bit cynical” at first he has certainly seen a number of benefits.
Peter has used Agrimin 24.7 Iodine, Selenium and Cobalt bolus for his sheep for two seasons now. “Last year, I “drenched” half the ewes, and treat the other half with the bolus” he explains. “I saw much better results from the bolussed ewes, and this year decided to bolus the entire flock”.
The Agrimin 24.7 bolus for sheep at scanning mid pregnancy, delivers all three elements in a single bolus.
Data from New Zealand shows that iodine supplementation can be beneficial to both lamb survivability and viability. The bolus ensures that both selenium and cobalt are available to the ewe in the late stage of pregnancy when the lamb is growing at its fastest. An added benefit is that the ewe is still receiving supplementation at the point of peak lactation post-lambing.
“It was fantastic weather for lambing in March 2012, and being a cautious person, I felt I had to take this into account with the improvements I was seeing” Peter says. However, in spite of a hard winter, the ewes looked better throughout the season, and had more vitality.
Last year the lambing was “strung out”, but this year out of his 900 ewes, 750 lambed in the first two weeks.
“The lambs were very fit, lively and healthy and I can honestly say that this is the best lambing we have ever had here at Werllwydd.”
So he will definitely be bolusing again this season, and although Peter says that the application is “not for a novice” it was certainly worth the time and effort.
Peter is also experiencing much improved results with his calves after administering the 24.7 Vital Iodine, Selenium and Cobalt bolus to his suckler cows. This bolus is designed for situations where iodine supplementation is essential in the run up to calving and service, but where additional copper is not required. It delivers a full daily requirement of selenium and cobalt, ensuring strong healthy calves, easier, cleaner calving and optimised conception rates.
“ I was suffering a great deal from “sleepy calves” say Peter. “The situation was getting worse and worse, and the calving was very slow, and some healthy looking big calves, would just lie down and die for no reason.”
“We also had to milk the cows and pipe the calves, and in some instances when we had twins one would die and the other would be healthy”. It was a dreadful situation which need to be addressed with some urgency.
The vet was asked to conduct blood tests, and this showed deficiencies in both iodine and selenium, which causes white muscle disease. It is also known as Nutritional Muscular Dystrophy.
“We could not find an injection which would deal with this awful problem so we decided to try the bolus” explains Peter.
Once again, Peter was a “bit cynical” and did not know what sort of results to expect. However, there has been a 70 to 80% improvement in the calves, and in fact, since bolusing only two calves have had the problem.
“We also had a problem with retained placentas” says Peter, “but we have had none at all this year.”
He concludes that it was certainly worth the time and effort, including the cost of the bolus when he has seen such health improvements in both the cows and their calves.