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

WHATS IN YOUR LIVESTOCK SHED

WIYLS visits the only off-grid milking robot in the UK

A Welsh farm is milking cows in a robot powered by a standalone renewable energy system after it was forced to relocate to a remote site when its rented dairy…

BOVINE TB

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…

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…

Practical advice

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DAIRY

7 reasons mastitis is more challenging in automatic milking

Automatic milking systems are growing in popularity due to the lifestyle benefits they afford farmers. But independent research shows udder health can deteriorate when farms transition from conventional milking systems…

FEED AND NUTRITION

5 warning signs of mycotoxin contamination in feed

Farmers are being warned to keep their eyes peeled for signs of contamination in feed after sampling has shown high mycotoxin risk levels. UK-wide sampling carried out by Alltech has…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Johne’s in cattle: How to prevent and manage the disease

Johne’s disease is a chronic disease that causes cattle to waste and die, typically from the ages of three to five years old. Once an animal contracts Johne’s, treatment is…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Warts on cow teats: Cause, prevention and treatment

Warts on cow teats are unsightly and they can impact negatively on herd health and performance, growing in size and number to a point where they prevent a cluster sealing…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

3 steps to reduce mastitis risk in dairy cows at housing

Winter housing can increase mastitis by heightening the risk of environmental infections. Vet James Breen explains what data to monitor and measure, what targets to aim for and how to…

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…

Insights

HEALTH AND WELFARE

CMT could cut dry-cow antibiotics use by half, study shows

Using the Californian Mastitis Test (CMT) at drying off could help cut antibiotics use by 50% without impacting clinical mastitis, a study has found. In the first large-scale investigation to…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Parasite project helps dairy farm to improve worm control

A Ceredigion dairy farm is revising worming protocols for its replacement heifers after a parasite control research project detected early stage resistance to clear wormers.   The Jenkins family, who milk…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

BVD vaccination can lift milk yields, trial shows

Vaccinating dairy cows against the bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) virus can lift milk yields by up to 1 litre/day, a recent global study has shown. A total of 1,463 cows…

BOVINE TB

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…

BOVINE TB

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…

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.…