7 June 2002

Health strategy urged

VET treatment costs should be considered to have a positive contribution to the overall profitability of the farm business.

Andy Forbes, of Merial Animal Health, told event visitors that regarding vet fees as a negative cost is a dangerous assumption. It infers there is no future in making constructive vet inputs into livestock management.

"I acknowledge theres an ongoing inquiry into the costs of medicines, but I believe responsible producers should think beyond the price of drugs and consider its benefits," he said.

Dr Forbes believes a planned health strategy could make a big difference to beef herd performance. "Producers should maintain regular checks on herd health, covering information such as cow fertility, calf growth rates and the performance of finishing stock.

"This should be monitored monthly or quarterly, so action can be taken quickly to counter any problems.

"After last years crisis, all farms must adopt strict biosecurity for stock being brought onto the holding. I cannot stress enough the need to isolate purchased stock until treated with any necessary preventative medicines and satisfied with their health status." &#42