Know How / Health and welfare

Animal health is critical to all producers of dairy and beef cattle, sheep and pigs. Get advice on dealing with livestock diseases such as, bovine TB and mastitis, and conditions such as heat stress, lameness and ewe prolapse. See best practice on vaccination, medicines and reducing antibiotics.

Case studies

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…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How a farmer is using minimal antibiotics in his dairy herd

Tim Downes has been farming with minimal antibiotics for the past six years at his two dairy farms in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Having been in organic production for 20 years, Mr…

MEDICINES

How one sheep farmer eliminated watery mouth and joint ill

Matthew Isaac has reduced cases of watery mouth and joint ill at lambing to nothing by using good bacteria to keep infections at bay.   Mr Isaac, who runs a…

SHEEP

How shearing lambs can improve growth and reduce labour

Removing the fleeces of lambs is helping lift growth rates and improve flock management on a Welsh farm. Debbie James reports. Shearing every lamb in its first summer is increasing growth rates by up to 20g a…

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,…

BEEF

How finishing dairy bull calves is profiting an arable farm

Buying “waste” dairy bull calves and finishing them on low-cost feed and crop waste is helping to keep feed costs low while improving arable ground. Each year, Will King buys…

Practical advice

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SHEEP

Q&A: What is toxoplasma and how can you prevent it?

It is thought almost all sheep flocks in the UK have been exposed to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and weak lambs. Sheep vet Fiona Lovatt…

SHEEP

Advice for buying rams and observing quarantine protocols

More rams are likely to be sold direct off-farm this year due to the cancellation of some breeding sales under Covid-19 restrictions. That means asking for a “bill of health”…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Outsourcing heifer rearing: What you need to consider

Heifer rearing is one of the most important jobs on the farm because they are the future of your herd. However, if you haven’t got the time, resource or facilities,…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

6 feed strategies to mitigate heat stress in cattle

Heat stress can have a huge impact on cow health and milk production by reducing feed intake and rumination. Heat stress is caused not only by temperature, but humidity, and…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

New Forest eye infection in cattle: treatment and prevention

New Forest eye is a highly contagious disease of the eye that can spread rapidly in summer months. Prompt treatment and separation of infected animals is essential. Guy Tomlinson of…

BEEF

Finishing cattle: A guide to health planning and quarantine

A farm-specific health plan should be in place in any cattle-finishing enterprise to help achieve good output and profitability. This is according to veterinary surgeon Leanne Forde of Bishopton Vets,…

Insights

BOVINE TB

Gatcombe bovine TB project to continue despite setback

Gatcombe Farm near Seaton in Devon, run by Robert Reed and his family, is involved in a long-term project with experienced vet Dick Sibley, seeking to tackle TB by identifying…

PIGS

How realistic is free-farrowing for the UK pig industry?

A ban on using farrowing crates on UK pig farms has been called for by a number of non-government organisations in recent years. Although there are no imminent plans to…

SHEEP

Why a spring spike in dead lambs occurs despite vaccinations

A spike in pasteurella in dead lambs, aged five to eight weeks, has been seen again this spring despite farmers vaccinating ewes for the disease. Typically found in northern England…

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…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Red Tractor Q&A: How are lockdown assessments working?

Lockdown has meant Red Tractor inspections have gone online. Farmers Weekly asked farmers for their queries about the process and put them to Red Tractor. How are the inspections taking…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Study shows financial impact of crypto in beef herd

Cryptosporidiosis in young calves causes significant long-term weight loss and incurs huge economic costs, according to a study carried out in Scotland. The study, at Moredun Research Institute and The…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

African swine fever threat: What farmers need to know

African swine fever is the biggest threat to commercial pig production the industry has ever seen, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. The WHO predicts that the viral…

BOVINE TB

Analysis: Can switch to vaccines work in bovine TB battle?

It took more than 15 months to come to fruition, but Defra has finally published its response to Professor Sir Charles Godfray's 2018 independent review into the government’s bovine TB…

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…