9 February 1996

Clamp tyres in wire problem

TYRES used to hold down silage sheets may be responsible for the increase in "wire" disease being seen in dairy cows, says Jonathan Harwood of St Peters Vet Group, Petersfield, Hants.

In the last two years, more wire disease has been caused by wires from old tyres than the traditional causes of fencing and baling wire.

"This could be because tyres are now more difficult to dispose of and are being kept for too long," he says.

"The tyre rubber perishes or is damaged by mechanical handling. This exposes the wires which then corrode and break off to find their way into feed."

Although cows often eat blunt objects that settle in the rumen without causing harm, sharp wires can cause damage and pain, he warns. When left unchecked the wire can push towards the heart triggering heart failure.

Mr Harwood advises inspecting tyres when taking them off the silage clamp and throwing away any that are damaged or perished.

It is also essential to keep tyres out of diet mixer wagons.