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

PIGS

Pig health and welfare underpin herd expansion

Adam Marshall, who farms alongside his father Adam and brother Charlie is committed to a future in pig farming. Together they are increasing their pig herd from 215 sows to…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

4 ways a robotic dairy got mastitis under control

Mastitis can lead to serious issues with milk quality and result in the suspension of milk contracts, but the problem can be tackled successfully. Vet Ellie Button explains how one…

LIVESTOCK

Three-times-a-day switch improves yields by 2,000 litres/cow

When the George family increased milking frequency they realised an uplift in milk yield of 2,000 litres a cow. As pedigree Holsteins, the cows were already high yielding, producing an…

SHEEP

Housing and hygiene tweaks help cut cases of ewe mastitis

Improvements in management and housing on a Welsh sheep farm have helped cut mastitis rates by one-third. Mastitis had been a major cause of losses in Ryan Morris’ flock of…

BROILERS

How a farmer reversed losses by improving chick start

A switch to strategic veterinary care has helped a poultry producer recover from two disastrous crops and save thousands of pounds a year. Broiler producer Henry Dent farms 270,000 birds…

LAYERS

Benefits of smart sensors for layer flock health

Ammonia levels have been cut by 75% and antibiotics use reduced to zero after a high-tech sensor system was installed at Wern Farm in Powys. Damp air affecting litter quality…

Practical advice

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LIVESTOCK

Foul-in-the-foot in cattle: Treatment and prevention

Foul-in-the-foot is a bacterial infection found between the digits in cattle and can cause severe lameness.  It affects the tissues under the skin in this area, causing severe pain, swelling…

DAIRY

Pros and cons of different mastitis tests for dairy cows

Mastitis is one of the most prevalent health issues on UK dairy farms – estimated to cost the industry more than £170m/year. Catching cases early is critical to minimise animal…

PIGS

3 ways to maximise piglet growth at farrowing

Management during the early stages of a piglet’s life dictates its future growth and potential, with studies frequently showing an increased weaning weight can result in optimised finishing time and…

POULTRY

Expert tips to reduce poultry vet and medicine costs

Health challenges are inevitable on every free-range farm, but veterinary intervention can be expensive. The key to keeping margins in the black is to maximise the birds’ genetic potential by…

DAIRY

How farmers and advisers are failing transition cows

Pre-calving cows don’t have adequate room in cubicle housing and one in five is lame (score two or above). These were just two of the concerning findings from a recent…

PIGS

Glassers disease in pigs: Signs, treatment and prevention

Glassers disease is widespread in UK pig herds, and worldwide. It can cause blood poisoning and death, and is often associated with cases of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).…

Insights

SHEEP

Video: Fluke video gives powerful insight into parasite

A video documenting the different stages of the harmful liver fluke parasite has been made to help farmers understand its complex life cycle. The video (below) shows the liver fluke…

LIVESTOCK

Best dairy bedding for minimising mastitis-causing bacterium

A study carried out at the University of Nottingham has shown sawdust to be the best bedding for minimising the survival of the mastitis-causing pathogen streptococcus uberis (S. uberis.) S.…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Guidance on mastitis recovery rates helps aid treatment plans

A new model developed by Quality Milk Management Services (QMMS) could help farmers better understand the probability of individual cows recovering from a case of clinical mastitis, therefore guiding better…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Vet survey reveals serious challenges ahead for profession

Poor retention and recruitment rates, Brexit and dissatisfaction in the industry could see a shortage of farm vets in the future if action isn’t taken.  Farmers Weekly carried out a…

BROILERS

Q&A: Guidance on avian flu with England's chief vet

As winter approaches migratory birds fly in, bringing the risk of avian flu in the UK. We ask the UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, about the disease and how…

BOVINE TB

Farmers and vets report positive results in new TB test trial

Farmers and vets trialling a new bovine TB test in cattle which is focusing on detecting infection missed in government testing say the early results are promising. A number of…

BROILERS

What M&S move to slow-growing poultry means for farmers

Capitalising on the growing consumer awareness of ethically reared meat, M&S has announced plans to be the first major UK retailer to sell only slower reared fresh chicken. The move…

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…

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