Beef and dairy farmers could be entitled to subsidised bulk milk and blood testing to establish a herd’s infectious disease status.
DairyCheck and BeefCheck are available through selected vet practices and involve participating farms taking a milk/blood sample and sending it off to a testing laboratory, following which a report will be sent back to the farm explaining exposure levels and what they mean.
The National Infectious Disease Check Scheme, launched by Intervet/Schering-Plough, will be targeting infectious diseases such as bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD), leptospirosis and infectious bovine rhinotrachitis (IBR), all of which continue to cause significant health problems and economic loss in beef and dairy herds.
BVD, as an example, can lead to direct financial losses of £63 an animal through reduced milk yield and fertility problems, says Intervet/Schering-Plough’s Alasdair King.
“In beef and suckler units, effects range from barren cows to delayed conception, neonatal death and poor growth rates, which all add up to potentially significant financial losses,” he says.
Meanwhile, studies have shown leptospirosis-infected cows only achieve 30% conception rate to first service, compared to 46% for clean cows, due to infertility and abortion.
“For an uninfected 100-cow herd this means 84 cows in calf at the end of nine-week bulling period, instead of only 66 in a leptospirosis-infected herd,” says Mr King.
For more information about the National Infectious Disease Check and to find out how farmers are tackling these key diseases, visit www.fwi.co.uk/diseasecheck