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 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,…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

What is the value of leader-follower systems for dairy calves?

Heifer replacements in a spring-calving dairy herd are achieving average daily liveweight gains of 0.75kg from birth to calving, after a system of grazing them in paddocks six days ahead…

LIVESTOCK MARKETING

How dairy farmer makes over £6/kg from Jersey bull calves

When Devonshire dairy farmer Neil Weston switched from being a flying herd to breeding his own replacements it created an unwanted boom in dairy bull calves. But after being inspired…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

How a bespoke calf barn cut antibiotic use and mortality

Switching from calf hutches to a bespoke calf rearing unit has slashed antibiotic use and is seeing zero mortality on a Canadian family farm. The Anderson family built the calf-specific…

MEDICINES

How on-farm test is helping reduce dairy antibiotics use

In a bid to reduce antibiotics use, a farm research project is trialling on-farm mastitis tests to identify cows that need treatment and those likely to self-cure. Mastitis is one…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How mastitis detection tech helped reduce antibiotics use

Wrexham dairy farmer Stephen Massey says using technology to sample individual quarters for cell counts has given him the confidence to start using teat sealant alone on some of his…

Practical advice

See all

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…

DAIRY

Guidance on improving water provision for dairy cows

Cattle farmers typically ask for advice on feed issues like rations, intakes, palatability, presentation and trough space. But when it comes to what is arguably the cows’ most important nutrient…

MEDICINES

7 tips to help improve mastitis treatment

Dairy farmers should review and tighten mastitis treatment programmes, as figures show poor cure rates on UK farms, according to vet Kath Aplin. Speaking at a webinar on mastitis, Ms…

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…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

6 housing tips for better dairy production and welfare

A few inexpensive, practical changes to the housing environment can make all the difference to the health, welfare and productivity of a dairy herd says Alice Miller of Friars Moor…

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…

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…