Know How / Dairy / Health and welfare

Good health and welfare is an essential feature of dairy herd management. Read up-to-date information on major welfare issues and diseases affecting dairy animals including infectious disease such as bovine TB and BVD, respiratory disease, mastitis, lameness and keep up to date with the latest welfare requirements.

Case studies

DAIRY

3 simple adjustments to improve cow health and yield

When George Allen took on the family’s Abbey Farm, in Whitchurch, last year, he was eager to put new ideas in place. But as a young farmer without much capital,…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

How a dairy farm is controlling mycoplasma using vaccination

Mycoplasma bovis is the number one cause of pneumonia in calves in the UK as well as causing mastitis and arthritis in older animals. It is difficult to treat and…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

How Devon dairy lifted calf growth rates by 50%

Investing in calf housing and milk powder is paying dividends for a North Devon dairy farm, which has seen mortality and drug use fall and growth rates lift. The longer-term…

DAIRY

Why and how a dairy farmer is breeding his own sweeper bulls

Breeding bulls to “sweep up” after AI is giving a large-scale dairy farm control over herd biosecurity. The Harris family farm in a high-risk TB region, so a priority is…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How a farmer is using minimal antibiotics in his dairy herd

Tim Downes has been farming with minimal antibiotics for the past six years at his two dairy farms in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Having been in organic production for 20 years, Mr…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How a farmer slashed milking times and improved udder health

A Shropshire dairy farmer has cut milking times by two hours a day, improved udder health and reduced antibiotics use by making small tweaks to his parlour settings. Robert Mayer,…

Practical advice

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HEALTH AND WELFARE

4 plants poisonous to livestock: How to spot and deal with

Many poisonous plants are bitter and unpalatable while they are growing and will not be eaten by livestock under normal circumstances. Therefore, when plant ingestion and poisoning occur there is…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Guide to feeding newborn calves colostrum

The target of all good dairies should be to minimise mortality, and providing calves with enough good-quality colostrum as quickly as possible after calving is a vital first step to…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

6 signs of pneumonia in calves to look out for

Pneumonia is a respiratory disease that causes inflammation of the lungs. An infection in pre-weaned calves can reduce milk production later in life by 10-15% depending on the severity. But…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How to prevent and treat scours in calves

While disease can be a trigger for calf scours, so can early calf nutrition, with the concentration of milk replacer having a direct effect on gastrointestinal environment. Osmolality is a…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Outsourcing heifer rearing: What you need to consider

Heifer rearing is one of the most important jobs on the farm because they are the future of your herd. However, if you haven’t got the time, resource or facilities,…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

6 feed strategies to mitigate heat stress in cattle

Heat stress can have a huge impact on cow health and milk production by reducing feed intake and rumination. Heat stress is caused not only by temperature, but humidity, and…

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…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Study shows how calcium can affect dry cow fertility

Increasing calcium in pre-calving diets can improve postpartum uterine health and fertility, a recent study has revealed. The study, which took place at the University of Illinois, examined feeding dry…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

6 things I learned from visiting US 'mega-dairies'

Dairy farming in the US has become synonymous with the words “mega-dairy”. While the scale of US dairy farms bears little resemblance to UK operations, there are some striking similarities…

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Benefits of cross-breeding dairy and is it right for you?

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been comparing the performance of three-way-cross cows (made up of Viking Red, Montbeliarde and Holstein) to Holsteins. It differs from a similar study…

MEDICINES

How a farmer-led project helps dairies reduce antibiotics use

Antibiotics are a hot topic on dairy farms across the UK, with many producers working to cut their use to meet government or milk contract targets. While many of these…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Research shows benefits of pair housing calves pre-weaning

Pair housing calves before weaning can help them adapt better to different situations as they mature, leading to improved concentrate intakes and higher growth compared with those housed alone. Professor…