Better farm health planning could be the key to boosting returns, as figures on disease loss rates are released by EBLEX.
Estimates show pneumonia could cost as much as £82 a calf. Over a 10-year period Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is estimated to cost £46 per animal each year.
EBLEX Beef Better Returns Programme has published a four point plan to aid the planning and to cut costs from disease.
Step 1 – Up to date performance records
Simple farm records (see below) are essential in order to make comparisons with previous on farm performance. Recording this basic data could help target potential problems.
– Reproduction rates (e.g. calf losses, calving spread, pregnancy rate)
– Growth rates
– Kg of beef sold per animal or per hectare each year
– Losses (number of deaths and culls)
– Health problems and medicinal records
Step 2 – Small steps to help aid performance
Small changes to specific management practices and environmental conditions could be crucial to improving your herd’s health. Areas to consider are
– batch calving
– all-in-all-out policies
– stocking density in buildings and on pasture
– Bedding conditions and drainage systems
– Storage of bedding straw to prevent contamination
– Implementation of effective treatment protocols e.g. antibiotic therapy for pneumonia cases, vaccination and parasite control.
Step 3 Biosecurity
– Knowing the health status of your herd and of any animals bought in.
– Keep animals secure from neighbouring animals or stray stock.
– Prevent shared grazing
Step 4 Measure success
Regular herd health reviews with a local vet will aid the herd health planning process, continuously improving it.
- See XLVets