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

BOVINE TB

Video: Farmers living on the frontline of bovine TB

For farmers living in a high-risk area, bovine TB has a huge financial and emotional impact. We visit two farms in south-west Wales which have endured long-term breakdowns. Stephen and…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How livestock producers cope with predators

Introducing large carnivores into the British countryside is a notion that has left many livestock farmers concerned about increased sheep mortality and unwanted extra costs. Through reintroducing species such as…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How dairy farmer has cut neospora infection by 25%

A Welsh dairy farm’s policy of not breeding heifer replacements from cows that test positive for neospora and being meticulous with biosecurity has helped to reduce herd infection from more…

MEDICINES

7 ways a sheep farmer has cut antibiotics use

The use of wood shavings in lambing pens has put an end to blanket use of antibiotics against watery mouth at lambing and is part of an overall strategy which…

SHEEP

How Glos farm reduced lamb losses to half the UK average

Gloucestershire sheep farmers Martin and Pauhla Whitaker have been placing a big emphasis on flock health, in the belief that if animals are healthy it will help them be more…

FOOT HEALTH

Sheep farmer abolishes foot-rot in a year through vaccination

Lameness in sheep is not only detrimental to the animal’s health, but has repercussions on performance and profits, estimated to cost £89.80 a case. Government targets from the Farm Animal…

Practical advice

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MEDICINES

4 ways Sweden has cut antibiotics use on dairy farms

UK livestock producers have been committed to – and successful in – meeting government targets on antibiotic usage over recent years, but Sweden is still leading the way. A 2017…

MEDICINES

Tips on evaluating your dairy vet spend

Chatting with a neighbour about vet costs can result in a frantic dash to change vets or cut medicine costs because yours are “too high” in comparison, but that reaction…

PIGS

What tougher tail docking inspections mean for pig farmers

Tail biting in pigs is a welfare issue that causes pain, possible infection and loss of performance. For this reason, although tail docking is not legally permitted in the UK…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

6 tips if vaccinating your flock for orf

Vaccinating sheep for orf can be an important step in addressing the costly condition in flocks, but care needs to be taken when using the vaccine, experts warn. The orf…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

4 tips to fight parasites in housed cattle this winter

Housing represents an effective time to control parasites picked up at pasture through the grazing season, according to animal health experts. Growth rates and feed efficiency can benefit by treating…

BUSINESS CLINIC

Business Clinic: Can we get paid for our condemned cow?

Whether you have a legal, tax, insurance, management or land issue, Farmers Weekly’s Business Clinic experts can help. Here, Russell Reeves, partner, Thrings, advises on compensation for condemned stock. Q We sold…

Insights

PARASITIC DISEASES

Video: How farmers are uniting to eradicate sheep scab

Sheep scab is a huge problem and if left untreated can affect a sheep's health and severely impact a sheep business. One mite is enough to spread the disease and…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Why dairy farmers should tackle Johne's now

In less than two weeks (by 31 October) farmers supplying purchasing members of the National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP) – which represents 82% of the UK supply – will need…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Blood test could predict if cattle will develop disease

Blood testing female dairy calves for molecules in the blood – called microRNAs – could help predict their likelihood of developing disease, scientists say. Scientists have found the blood levels…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Farm trial aims to solve risk of fluke-infected snails

A technique which identifies the presence of mud snails infected with fluke is being used to help Welsh farms determine fields posing the greatest risk to animals. The presence of…

NEWS

Farm minister explains purpose of bovine TB review

The government has announced a review of its 25-year strategy to tackle bovine TB in England, which includes culling badgers to curb the disease. Farm minister George Eustice said tackling…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How farmer-vet 'clubs' are improving flock health

The contact between sheep farmer and vet is often a once yearly affair focused on meeting flock health planning requirements, but a relatively new collaborative concept is forging stronger relationships…

BOVINE TB

Current UK TB rules - and what's coming next

Defra and its devolved counterparts have announced a series of tougher bovine TB rules in the past 12 months in a bid to control the disease, which continues to see…

BOVINE TB

Analysis: Is the badger cull in England working?

 In 2015, former Defra secretary Liz Truss claimed the badger culls were “working” and the chief vet had made it clear that Defra’s TB strategy was “delivering disease control benefits”.…

LIVESTOCK

Badger and cattle TB vaccination: The situation now

With controversy continuing to rage about badger culling, and questions still raised about the government’s “test and slaughter” policy for cattle, Defra is pumping millions of pounds a year into…

BOVINE TB

What a new bovine TB test trial in Devon means for farmers

At an undisclosed farm location in Devon, leading vet Dick Sibley, director of West Ridge Veterinary Practice in Tiverton, is trialling a novel TB management package, including two new tests,…

MEDICINES

Sector-specific antibiotics targets and what they mean

Sector-specific targets surrounding antibiotics use have been developed by a “targets taskforce” made up of farmers and vets and facilitated by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance. Targets vary for…

LIVESTOCK

Why textbook heifer growth rates may not be good enough

Dairying experts at home and abroad are questioning whether units are achieving heifer growth targets of 0.7-0.8kg/day and if this gain is sufficient for the modern Holstein. Concerted efforts to…