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

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How farmer has reduced lameness to 2% in open flock

The Mouland family have reduced lameness from 10% to 2% and cut antibiotic use by 30% by addressing the challenge of operating an open flock proactively. Michael, Jo and their…

LIVESTOCK

How beef farmer overcame BVD outbreak and high calf losses

When bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) struck at the worst possible time at Rob Harris’s beef unit near Ludlow during mating, it caused a storm of late abortions and high calf…

POULTRY

How on-farm hatching can improve flock health and cut costs

On-farm hatching is delivering better broiler performance while improving welfare and cutting carbon emissions for one Hertfordshire producer. Tom Wornham’s family farm almost 200,000 birds for one of the UK’s…

DAIRY

How finishing beef adds value to dairy business

The Mallett family decided to invest £100,000 in a shed to rear and finish beef bulls and heifers from their high-yielding dairy herd while they were locked up with TB.…

SHEEP

Estate flock halves feed cost and lifts scan rate to 186%

A major system overhaul on a lowland estate has lifted scanning rates and cut bought-in feed costs by £6.28 a ewe over the past five years. The team at Overbury…

DAIRY

How a farmer uses antibiotics on just 10% of herd at dry-off

Exceptional mastitis controls and an overall infection rate of just 7.8 cases for every 100 cows is allowing one Pembrokeshire farm to use antibiotics on just 10% of the herd…

Practical advice

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SHEEP

What is OPA and how can it be prevented or controlled?

OPA (sometimes referred to as “Jaagsiekte”) is a potentially devastating disease to sheep flocks. One recent study suggested it could be the third most frequent cause of on-farm adult sheep…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

What can we learn from other countries about BVD control?

BVD control remains voluntary in England and Wales, unlike other parts of the UK and Europe, where governments now have mandatory controls in place to prevent the spread of the…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Creep feeding suckler calves: Risks and how to do it right

Every year calves die because of access to creep. Ben Strugnell, who runs the Farm Post Mortems service explains why this happens and how to avoid these losses It is…

SHEEP

Is cryptosporidiosis affecting your lamb performance?

Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection affecting sheep that can restrict growth and increase finishing times, despite typically only affecting lambs in their first 10 days of life. It often falls…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How to treat photosensitisation in livestock

Photosensitisation occurs when the skin becomes extremely sensitive to sunlight, leading to what is effectively very severe sunburn, even in cloudy conditions. It is very painful, and affected animals may…

PIGS

Why colostrum is so important for newborn pigs

Judith Tooth looks at what farmers can do to help piglets get the best start in life Ensuring animals get enough colostrum is probably the most important thing you can…

Insights

BOVINE TB

4 farmers’ badger-proofing inventions help cut TB risk

Inventive farmers are mitigating the risk of bovine TB spreading from badgers to their dairy and beef cattle by devising their own obstacles to wildlife incursions. Some of the winners…

LIVESTOCK

What benefits do trees offer to livestock systems?

Trees offer animals huge benefits, according to Lindsay Whistance, senior livestock researcher at the Organic Research Centre. She sets out the value of silvopasture to livestock systems. See also: Defra…

LIVESTOCK

Badger cull 'exit strategy' raises TB disease control fears

The government has confirmed it will no longer issue licences for intensive badger culling from 2022, as part of efforts to tackle bovine TB in England. And the practice will…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Why a tailored approach is key to good feather cover in layers

A major study has concluded there is no one-size-fits-all solution to feather pecking in flocks, and farmers should test a range of measures to assess which help control the problem. …

POULTRY

How the new poultry standards proposals will affect farmers

Earlier this year, two consultations on farm assurance standards for the UK poultry sector came to a close. Red Tractor and Defra propose changes that will help keep standards up…

PIGS

How lower-density starter diets can improve pig performance

A recent study carried out by Harper Adams and ForFarmers has found that, contrary to belief, lower-density starter diets don’t necessarily lead to lower performance. In fact, the study showed…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Study reveals how to treat goats more effectively for worms

Taking part in a study into drench resistance has given goat farmers Damian and Meg McNamara the confidence to graze goats by picking up parasite burdens early before they spiral…

FARM POLICY

Next phase in Defra bovine TB strategy explained

After months in the making, the government has launched its latest consultation (PDF) on the next stages of its strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038. The eight-week…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How genomic testing of heifers can improve profitability

Genomic testing replacement heifers has a cost benefit of £19.39 a heifer, according to a three-year study involving nine Welsh dairy farms. The project compared the difference between estimated breeding…