Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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HomeBeefNow is the time to ‘spring’ clean your sheds
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Now is the time to ‘spring’ clean your sheds

In this news article, Jack Friar of CAFRE urges farmers to undertake a spring-clean of their animal housing and facilities.

If you have noticed scour in calves, pre-turnout or especially if you have had confirmed cases of cryptosporidiosis or coccidiosis, now is the time to take action.

The transmissible part of the parasite that causes scour is known as the oocyst. It has a very hard outer shell and can survive in damp conditions for up to a year.

To protect your next calf crop and reduce the environmental load, now is a good time to ‘spring clean’ sheds.

Although May is a busy time for getting other jobs completed, cleaning sheds, and allowing them to dry out properly over the summer is time well spent. It reduces the survivability of these infectious-causing parasites in the environment.

As bedding provides an ideal environment for these parasites, it is important it is all removed. Removing manure and pressure washing is not enough to destroy oocysts.

The following steps are recommended:

  • Remove all bedding material/manure from the house;
  • Use a foaming detergent designed to remove soiling and grease;
  • Thoroughly rinse the house and allow time for it to dry out completely;
  • Apply a target disinfectant that is effective. Many commonly used disinfectants cannot penetrate the outer shell of these scour causing parasites. Therefore, ensure when choosing a disinfectant that it is effective against cryptosporidiosis and/or coccidiosis. Also, take note of the contact times required and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
 Calf and housing management

Good calf and housing management are essential to achieve performance targets, writes CAFRE’s Richard Gibson.

The main areas farmers should address are:

  • Hygiene;
  • Ventilation;
  • Air speed;
  • Moisture level;
  • Drainge.
Calf management: Hygiene

Farmers should thoroughly clean the shed and disinfect with a broad-spectrum disinfectant before calves are born.

While in use, disinfect pens frequently to prevent the build-up of disease organisms.

The flooring/bedding should allow for easy cleaning and removal of waste. Ideally, you should bed calves every day and clean out pens weekly.


Fresh air delivery should come from natural ventilation, and you should provide an additional fan ventilation if necessary.

If natural ventilation is insufficient to provide adequate fresh air during the critical periods of damp, calm weather, install a fan and duct system.

Only use an extractor fan system in buildings with a low volume and a small number of wall inlets.

Fan and duct ventilation systems are inexpensive to buy and operate and provide fresh air to all corners of a building. A calf house should have at least six air changes per hour.

Read more on this news article.

See more farming news on That’s Farming

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