30 August 1996

More crucial than ever

NEVER has the high health status of livestock been more important.

The impact wrought on the industry by the BSE crisis is devastating enough. But the temptation to reduce costs by trimming routine stock health programmes would be false economy and must be resisted. As all good stockmen know, profit from livestock enterprises depends on freedom from disease.

It is vital to reduce and prevent losses by maintaining good stockmanship, feeding, and housing management, alongside correct use, where applicable, of the wide range of vaccines and products now on the market.

This supplement examines how to avoid one of the industrys must costly complaints: pneumonia. Now is the time to take a careful look at stock accommodation while there is still scope to save money in the coming winter.

Correct use of medicines also comes under the spotlight in an attempt to reduce the build-up of resistance to some of these products in herds or flocks. Persistent use of any one treatment runs the risk of resistance to that specific drug sooner or later. Take wormers. Their use preferably on an annual rotation basis, coupled with clean field techniques where the farming system permits, will ensure their continued efficacy against a wide range of parasites.

Improving injection techniques could also pay off in terms of more effective vaccine and antibiotic use and reduced stress on the animal.

In the run-up to tupping, a leading sheep vet explains why time spent now assessing fitness of ewes and rams will pay dividends in the next production cycle.

And for producers keen to monitor levels of disease in their herd or flock, with the long term aim of eradicating it, both the Cattle Health Scheme and the national Sheep and Goat Health Schemes have much to offer.

So make stock health a priority this winter. It will help cut costs and in doing so return more profit to the business.

Healthy stock deliver healthy profits. Is your herd free from disease?