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

Avian influenza: One farm's robust plans to combat the threat

Chief among the threats to any poultry business in the UK is the incursion of avian influenza (AI). It is possible to reduce the risk of it finding its way…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How a beef herd delivers £350/cow with deferred mob grazing

A deferred mob grazing system and maternal native cows have helped slash costs and left a cash-only net profit of £350 a cow on one Worcestershire organic farm. Rob Havard…

PIGS

How a Spanish enrichment system reduces tail biting in pigs

A rotating system of chains which moves hanging pig enrichment material from one pen to another is helping keep tail biting at bay on a Spanish pig farm. At Rosa…

MEDICINES

4 ways US dairy has cut antibiotics in lactating cows

Adopting a series of protocols for housing, milking practices and genetic selection has removed the need to treat lactating cows with antibiotics in a high-yielding, housed dairy herd. Lloyd and…

PIGS

How Norfolk pig farmers cut water use by 50%

Moulded plastic tanks with nipple drinkers have transformed water quality and brought water and labour savings for a Norfolk outdoor pig operation. The team at LSB Pigs, based at East…

SLURRY AND MANURE MANAGEMENT

How a slurry robot is helping reduce disease on dairy farm

Following the installation of four robot milkers 14 months ago, Devonshire farmer Steve Davey realised the need to find a solution to conventional slurry scraping in cubicle sheds. “After we…

Practical advice

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FOOT HEALTH

How to minimise claw horn lesions at calving time

Extra attention to cow comfort around the calving stage is vital to minimise sole ulcers and sole haemorrhage, according to a leading vet and clinical researcher. Dr Reuben Newsome of…

PARASITIC DISEASES

Do’s and don’ts of vaccinating cattle against lungworm

In the past two decades, lungworm cases have increased tenfold, according to a report published by researchers at the University of Liverpool. A change in climate allowing for extended grazing…

SHEEP

How to protect flock from clostridial diseases and pasteurella

Clostridial diseases and pasteurella pose a serious threat to unvaccinated sheep. Below we outline what causes each disease and how to spot it, with the help of MSD vet adviser…

DAIRY

5 must-haves to manage the modern dairy farm

Professionalism and attention to detail across the entire business is vital to ensure good technical performance and profitability on a year-round calving dairy unit. This is according to Lloyd Holterman,…

SHEEP

Guidance issued on high-welfare sheep shearing

Industry organisations have produced a guide reminding farmers and professional contractors how to handle sheep during shearing to ensure they are not stressed or injured. The joint guidance, which has…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

6 ways to prevent stale dairy cows

Getting into the habit of giving cows numerous chances to get pregnant can lead to more animals with extended lactations and a negative fertility cycle that is hard to break.…

Insights

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

What changes to maedi visna scheme mean for sheep farmers

Changes to the maedi visna (MV) accreditation scheme mean stricter rules for MV-accredited flocks that are buying in stock or have non-accredited sheep at the same holding. The MV accreditation…

MEDICINES

Antimicrobial resistance: How it works and why it's important

Antimicrobial resistance, and specifically antibiotics resistance, are high on the agenda for animal agriculture and veterinary medicine. Government and industry targets have been set for antibiotics reduction and antibiotics use is…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Vet Viewpoint: Lambing, calving and post-Brexit drug stocks

Unsurprisingly, at this time of year, vets across the UK are talking about lambing and calving. Topics in this month’s round-up include disease prevention through metabolic profiling through to managing…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Trial shows high iodine cow diet can hinder colostrum uptake

A survey of iodine supplementation in beef herds has revealed that over supplementation pre-calving can negatively affect calves’ ability to absorb colostrum. A collaborative research project between Moredun Research Institute,…

BOVINE TB

Current UK TB rules - and what's coming next

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

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Meat eaters or vegetarians: Who has the better arguments?

Almost exactly a year ago, renowned environmentalist George Monbiot addressed a debate at the Oxford Farming Conference on the motion “This house believes that, by 2100, meat eating will be…

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…