Straw is a precious commodity this season and a major cause of concern for many livestock farmers. Due to the poor weather at harvest and subsequently, straw, and other bedding materials are in very tight supply.

To make matters worse, much of what is available is poor quality and won’t go as far as planned. This restriction in straw may make it difficult to keep lambing sheds sufficiently bedded and this in turn cam impact on disease challenge and lamb losses.

Lams losses have a major impact on profitability. QMS figures for 2011 report the average lamb mortality rate at 14-15 %, combining both upland and lowland Scottish flocks. A recent research project carried out by HCC in Wales reported 49 % of lamb losses occur in the first 48 hours of life. Reducing lamb losses is a bey target to improve profitability.

Greatest risk

As lambing is the period of greatest risk of infection, it is therefore vital to ensure a clean and hygienic environment. Lambs and their dams are challenged by a huge range of infectious agents. The greatest threat is form mastitis and navel infections caused, most commonly, by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus sepp. or E Coli.

The results in the stable describe a salt solution inoculated with each pathogen (one batch was treated with Staldren and the control group had no treatment). All samples were incubated at room temperature over two days. The Staldren treatment has clearly significantly reduced the level of each pathogen within an hour and has maintained this throughout the two-day period.

In addition to anti-bacterial action, Staldren has proven efficacy against a broad range of viruses and fungal spores. It contains an active form of Chlorine (not hypochlorite) but importantly it has a neutral pH, which means that it is non-corrosive on buildings and equipment. It is also phosphate-free which means it is non-aggressive and therefore gentle on stock whilst being harsh on microbes.

In addition to the disinfectant mode of action, Staldren also has a number of beneficial features:

Staldren is Danish for “clean stall/pen” and it lives up to this name not just in Denmark where it is manufactured but across the globe.

This is the first lambing season that Staldren has been available in Scotland from Norvite. David McClelland, Novite’s technical manager, is certain that the benefits seen in pig and dairy herds will be shared by shepherds at lambing time.

“Bedding is at a premium this season, but research and experience shows that Staldren is a very effective disinfectant and will get the best results from limited straw whilst ensuring a healthy and safe environment,” he says.

Source: Focus on Sheep, Scotland, 2011