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

BEEF

How finishing dairy bull calves is profiting an arable farm

Buying “waste” dairy bull calves and finishing them on low-cost feed and crop waste is helping to keep feed costs low while improving arable ground. Each year, Will King buys…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How lung wash helps target treatment for pneumonia in cattle

Carrying out a lung wash to identify the cause of respiratory symptoms has enabled one beef farmer to better target antibiotics treatment, and use a specific vaccine to prevent further…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

Video: What’s In Your Livestock Shed? A high-health calf unit

Calves reared in a specific youngstock unit are growing 100g/day faster during the 20-120-day phase in early trial work. The High Health Unit (HHU) prototype has been trialled for two…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

How calf rearers have drastically reduced pneumonia cases

Thomas Williams has drastically reduced calf pneumonia by 36% since erecting a purpose-built calf unit.  Mr Williams, who farms with his parents Robert and Angela and wife Michelle in Ellesmere,…

LIVESTOCK

Durham farm saves costs with grassland focus and weighing

Measuring and recording grass growth and weighing livestock more frequently has opened up cost-saving opportunities on an upland grazing farm. David and Joyce Monkhouse of Low Houselop Farm, Tow Law,…

BEEF

How a beef farmer cut antibiotics use in suckler herd by 74%

Suckler-finisher Sebastian Richardson and his family have cut antibiotics use by 74% since 2015. In a pioneering approach to his herd management, Mr Richardson of Townsend Farm, Oundle, has been…

Practical advice

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PARASITIC DISEASES

How to control gastrointestinal parasites in sheep and cattle

Gastrointestinal (GI) parasites are major contributors to reduced ruminant productivity, and if left unmanaged or untreated, can have devastating effects on animal welfare and farm productivity. Large populations of these…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice on testing and keeping water clean for livestock

A “control, check and clean” approach to managing water quality in cattle drinking troughs can encourage higher intakes and remove harmful bacteria. Contaminated water will reduce intakes – with cattle…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Buying a stock bull: Health, safety and performance checks

Introducing a stock bull, whether it is the main breeding sire or a sweeper, can be a risky process, according to North Yorkshire vet Mark Spilman. Mr Spilman, a partner…

PARASITIC DISEASES

10 things you may not know about coccidiosis

Coccidiosis (Eimeria) is one of the most widespread and costly livestock diseases, causing significant gut damage and production losses in lambs and calves. Coccidiosis is primarily seen in young non-immune…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

4 livestock health issues to address ahead of turnout

For those who haven’t already turned out cattle, below Sophia Elworthy from Torch Farm Vets gives her tips for jobs to complete ahead of turnout. See also: Q&A: Everything you need…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Coronavirus: Advice for vets and farmers

Vets and farmers have been included on the list of key workers, published by the government amid the coronavirus pandemic. This means farm animals are still able to receive care…

Insights

HEALTH AND WELFARE

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…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

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…

MEDICINES

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.…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

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…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

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,…

BOVINE TB

Current UK TB rules - and what's coming next

Defra and its devolved counterparts announced a series of tougher bovine TB rules in the past months in a bid to control the disease, which continues to see tens of…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Why dairy farmers should tackle Johne's now

In less than two weeks (by 31 October) farmers supplying purchasing members of the National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP) – which represents 82% of the UK supply – will need…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Farm trial aims to solve risk of fluke-infected snails

A technique which identifies the presence of mud snails infected with fluke is being used to help Welsh farms determine fields posing the greatest risk to animals. The presence of…

LIVESTOCK

Why textbook heifer growth rates may not be good enough

Dairying experts at home and abroad are questioning whether units are achieving heifer growth targets of 0.7-0.8kg/day and if this gain is sufficient for the modern Holstein. Concerted efforts to…

LIVESTOCK

BVD forum: Joint approach needed to tackle disease

Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) is widespread in beef and dairy herds and represents a significant drain on the UK cattle industry, with Reading University putting the total cost at £61m/year.…

Q&A: How EU drug rules could affect beef and dairy farmers

Draft EU legislation looks likely to make reporting of on-farm antibiotic use mandatory. What does this mean for cattle farmers and how would it work? Brian Lindsay from the Cattle…