19 January 2001

Scour preventions a big money saver

PROTECTING calves against the most prevalent scour-causing pathogens this winter could mean savings of over £500 for a 50-cow suckler herd, according to Schering-Plough Animal Health.

This claim comes from an analysis of SAC scour outbreak data, undertaken by the company. Data shows a 48% scour infection rate among a group of animals considered to be at risk, says Stewart Hall, Schering-Plough.

"For every 50 calves challenged by infectious scour, it is reasonable to assume that 24 may become ill."

Using SAC estimates, the cost of scour – including capital, mortality and veterinary expenses plus depressed calf value – amounts to £44 a calf excluding labour, so 24 ill calves could cost an average of £1056, says Mr Hall.

Vaccinating dams three to 12 weeks before calving with Rotavec-Corona, to protect calves in the first two to three weeks against rotavirus, E coli K99 and coronavirus costs £9-£10 a head.

"For £500, you can protect 50 calves and with scour-causing pathogens in the environment this insurance policy could mean a saving of £556," says Mr Hall. &#42