Cashflow: Cashflow management can sometimes make or break a farm business.
Many drystock farmers will have received cash injections over the past few weeks with BEEP, BPS and ANC being paid.
However, on many drystock farms this will be the only injection until cattle sales start again and on some farms this could be as late as autumn 2022.
Managing this cash is critical. Identify where and when the cash is needed and draw up a monthly cashflow budget for the farm. If there is a deficit, what will happen?
At the moment fertiliser prices are over double that of what they were in 2020. This will be coupled with increased fuel and feed prices so you need to factor this in to your plans.
Look at the possibility of taking out an overdraft or delaying investment if things look too tight. Having a cashflow plan is essential if you are going to the bank for funds in the form of overdrafts or term loans.
Fodder budget: We are now eight to 10 weeks into the winter on a lot of farms and further west and in the northwest some cattle have been indoors longer.
Christmas time is a good time to take stock of what fodder supplies are in the yard.
Make a note of how many bales or how much pit silage is being used each week and calculate how much will be needed until turnout.
Build in a few weeks of a buffer in case 2022 brings a late spring. It might be easier to take action now by restricting some animals, supplementing with straw, or buying some extra silage.
Take a look at meal feeding as it could represent the best value when it comes to purchasing energy. Can you supplement some animals with more meal and reduce silage usage. Take action now rather than running out and panic buying in March or April.
Injection sites: When injecting an animal, consider carefully where you insert needles.
Ideally, injections should be given in the neck as it is an area of lower carcase value compared with the loin or ribs.
It also tends to be less dirty than the hindquarter where faeces can accumulate due to the animal lying on slats.
Operator and housing hygiene are important. As injections pierce the skin, bacteria can enter and cause an abscess. When the abscess subsides, scar tissue develops and this has to be trimmed off the carcase, making it less valuable.
Always use the correct size needles and change needles regularly if vaccinating. Using dirty needles will increase the chances of infection. Always massage the skin after injecting an animal. Products that require more than one shot should have each shot given at different sites to prevent any issues.