Maria Tswayi, Hertzogville, Free State
We are getting to the end of our calving season and have just weaned calves that we are preparing to send to Sernick as part of our loan agreement. We wean at six months when weights are between 180kg and 200kg.
We currently keep all our heifers to boost numbers while we grow the herd. The heifers will also be given RB51 to protect them from Brucella abortus. The animals have been getting a ready-mix summer lick since the beginning of October. Because some of our cows have just calved, we feed out a production lick to help them maintain body condition while they are producing milk for their calves.
We have separated our breeding cows into two groups – one group is with the bulls until the end of the month. We will put the bulls with the second group from January until the end of February. We have done all our vaccinations, including lumpy skin and Rift Valley fever, because we are in the rainy season.
We also give animals a Multimin injection. Breeding cows need trace elements like zinc, selenium, chromium, copper and manganese. These elements are especially important for breeding cows because they help with fertility, general immunity and milk production.
We control internal and external parasites, such as gastro intestinal roundworms, screwworms, lice, mites, and ticks, with Dectomax or Ivomec.