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

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How on-farm mastitis test helped farmer cut antibiotics use

Rather than reaching for antibiotics at the first sign of mastitis, the team at Camerton Farm, Radstock, now do a milk bacteriology test  for every case on farm and then…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How leg sensors helped get on top of lameness in dairy herd

Rear leg sensors fitted on all cows in a Scottish dairy herd has been key to getting on top of lameness and identifying lying time differences between groups of cows.…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How a Welsh dairy has slashed its antibiotics use

A dairy farm has slashed its antimicrobial use by nearly 30% through a combination of selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) and improved herd management, putting it in the top 25%…

MEDICINES

4 ways US dairy has cut antibiotics in lactating cows

Adopting a series of protocols for housing, milking practices and genetic selection has removed the need to treat lactating cows with antibiotics in a high-yielding, housed dairy herd. Lloyd and…

SLURRY AND MANURE MANAGEMENT

How a slurry robot is helping reduce disease on dairy farm

Following the installation of four robot milkers 14 months ago, Devonshire farmer Steve Davey realised the need to find a solution to conventional slurry scraping in cubicle sheds. “After we…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

How dairy farm is controlling Johne's while buying-in cows

When Jonathan Lovegrove-Fielden decided to covert Longden Manor Farm back to an organic autumn-block and expand to 300 cows his farm manager, Colin Bowen, knew they would have to buy-in…

Practical advice

See all

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Q&A: Mycoplasma bovis disease in cattle

Mycoplasma bovis (or M bovis) is a bacterial disease found in dairy and beef cattle. It can lead to serious illness in cattle affecting health and production. Farmers whose herds…

BOVINE TB

5 ways to improve TB control in the UK

Bovine TB has exploded in the UK, spreading rapidly, ravaging counties and wiping out whole herds in its path. Until now, much of the focus of disease control has been…

DAIRY

Guide to using Johne’s tests to cull in dairy herds

Culling Johne’s-positive cows is a key area of Johne’s disease control and often an intervention that farmers struggle to get right. There is no universal template for making culling decisions…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How to diagnose and treat downer cows

Getting a down cow back up on her feet as soon as possible after she collapses is the surest way to put her on the road to recovery, which makes…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Strategies to prevent heat stress in cattle

Record high temperatures last summer caught out livestock farmers in both indoor and outdoor systems, with cattle succumbing to debilitating heat stress. Tell-tail signs of heat stress are lethargy and…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Fly control in cattle: the options compared

As many dairy and beef systems have intensified, so too has the need for effective fly control programmes that combine cleanliness with chemical, biological or physical controls – or all…

Insights

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…

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…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Blood test could predict if cattle will develop disease

Blood testing female dairy calves for molecules in the blood – called microRNAs – could help predict their likelihood of developing disease, scientists say. Scientists have found the blood levels…

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…

BOVINE TB

What a new bovine TB test trial in Devon means for farmers

At an undisclosed farm location in Devon, leading vet Dick Sibley, director of West Ridge Veterinary Practice in Tiverton, is trialling a novel TB management package, including two new tests,…

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

Antibiotics reports spark debate in farm industry

Campaigners pushing for a dramatic reduction in farm antibiotics use have set out a series of recommendations that they claim would reduce consumption in the dairy, pig and poultry sectors.…

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…