Know How / Beef / Health and welfare

Read up-to-date information on major welfare issues and diseases affecting dairy animals including infectious disease such as TB and BVD, respiratory disease, lameness and keep up to date with the latest welfare requirements.

Case studies


10 ways one farm makes suckler beef profitable

In 10 years, Philip Jones has shaved 36 days off his calving index, cut heifer age at first calving to 24 months and eliminated bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) from his…


How beef farmer overcame BVD outbreak and high calf losses

When bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) struck at the worst possible time at Rob Harris’s beef unit near Ludlow during mating, it caused a storm of late abortions and high calf…


How finishing beef adds value to dairy business

The Mallett family decided to invest £100,000 in a shed to rear and finish beef bulls and heifers from their high-yielding dairy herd while they were locked up with TB.…


5 farmer tips for setting up a TB isolation unit

Setting his farm up as a TB isolation unit (IU) has proved a successful business model for Cheshire farmer Ben Paterson. Mr Paterson, who runs Blackthorn Farm, Mobberly, buys three-to-six-week-old…


Are Arla producers ready for new rules on calves?

The “Every calf has a value” (ECHAV) scheme has been a beacon in the industry since it was announced in 2019, with other processors now looking at how they can…


Steps farmers are taking to reduce bovine TB risk

Simple, inexpensive steps can cut TB risks by limiting cow and badger transmission. Sometimes, another pair of eyes is required to identify risks you may not notice. We speak to…

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How spring-calvers can prepare for end of bull calf euthanasia

Producing a viable dairy bull calf is a challenge in a system that relies on an efficient cow of smaller stature to maximise milk production from grazed grass on the…


Foul-in-the-foot in cattle: Treatment and prevention

Foul-in-the-foot is a bacterial infection found between the digits in cattle and can cause severe lameness.  It affects the tissues under the skin in this area, causing severe pain, swelling…


5 calf deformities, causes and what to do

Calf deformities at birth are caused by a wide range of issues, including physical, nutritional, infectious, and genetic. Some remain a mystery. Alex Roberts, from Garston Veterinary Group in the…


Video: How to take an integrated approach to rodent control

The best way to deal with rat infestations is not to have them in the first place. Waiting until you see rats running around the farm is too late. Every…


How regenerative livestock farming can aid parasite control

Regenerative farming offers numerous solutions to animal disease, says Rob Howe, vet at LLM Vets Lancashire and a Nuffield scholar. But any big change of system, such as moving to…


What can we learn from other countries about BVD control?

BVD control remains voluntary in England and Wales, unlike other parts of the UK and Europe, where governments now have mandatory controls in place to prevent the spread of the…



Video: Fluke video gives powerful insight into parasite

A video documenting the different stages of the harmful liver fluke parasite has been made to help farmers understand its complex life cycle. The video (below) shows the liver fluke…


Vet survey reveals serious challenges ahead for profession

Poor retention and recruitment rates, Brexit and dissatisfaction in the industry could see a shortage of farm vets in the future if action isn’t taken.  Farmers Weekly carried out a…


4 farmers’ badger-proofing inventions help cut TB risk

Inventive farmers are mitigating the risk of bovine TB spreading from badgers to their dairy and beef cattle by devising their own obstacles to wildlife incursions. Some of the winners…


Next phase in Defra bovine TB strategy explained

After months in the making, the government has launched its latest consultation (PDF) on the next stages of its strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038. The eight-week…


UK bovine TB rules, penalties and incentives

Defra has introduced more rigorous, evidenced-based bovine TB testing regimes for cattle this autumn, backed by tougher penalties and incentives to encourage farmers to improve biosecurity. While the number of…


How successful has the Welsh Cymorth TB scheme been?

Five years ago, the Welsh government challenged farmers to take control of TB herd breakdowns by improving their on-farm biosecurity. To encourage the improvements, it set up a scheme that…


How scanning can detect early pneumonia in calves

Subclinical pneumonia, where there are no obvious signs of the disease, in young calves is going undetected on farms, a Scottish study has found. Calves are more likely to succumb…


Study shows financial impact of crypto in beef herd

Cryptosporidiosis in young calves causes significant long-term weight loss and incurs huge economic costs, according to a study carried out in Scotland. The study, at Moredun Research Institute and The…


Tackling IBR - non-marker versus marker vaccines

Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) is a highly contagious, respiratory disease that can affect cattle of all ages. It is possible to protect herds using either a non-marker or marker vaccine.…


7 risk factors of pneumonia in calves and how to avoid them

Buying calves from multiple sources and feeding calves only once a day could be putting animals at risk of getting pneumonia, a study has found. AHDB assessed data from eight…


How to profit from forage-based dairy-beef system

Forage-based dairy-beef systems are profitable even in extreme weather conditions, a two-year study at Harper Adams University has concluded. The project investigated whether it was feasible to finish dairy-bred beef…


Trial shows high iodine cow diet can hinder colostrum uptake

A survey of iodine supplementation in beef herds has revealed that over supplementation pre-calving can negatively affect calves’ ability to absorb colostrum. A collaborative research project between Moredun Research Institute,…

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