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

Dairy farm's 8 changes that halved antibiotics use

Since 2016 the team at Stowell Farms in Wiltshire has adopted a multi-pronged approach to improving herd health. The strategy has ultimately led to better performance, less disease and reduced…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How on-farm mastitis test helped farmer cut antibiotics use

Rather than reaching for antibiotics at the first sign of mastitis, the team at Camerton Farm, Radstock, now do a milk bacteriology test  for every case on farm and then…

LAYERS

Rearer's advice on getting pullets off to a good start

Modern hybrid hens are genetically sophisticated and achieving their productive potential will only be possible if the development period from chick to hen is carefully managed. Attention to detail is…

FOOT HEALTH

How sheep farmer has reduced lameness to just 3%

First-generation farmer Richard Fairbairn has reduced lameness in his sheep flock from 10% to 3% by vaccinating ewes and changing his buying practices. Mr Fairbairn, who farms in partnership with…

LIVESTOCK

Durham farm saves costs with grassland focus and weighing

Measuring and recording grass growth and weighing livestock more frequently has opened up cost-saving opportunities on an upland grazing farm. David and Joyce Monkhouse of Low Houselop Farm, Tow Law,…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How a sheep farmer has reduced lameness by 28%

A Cheshire sheep farmer who has reduced lameness rates to just 2% from a one-time high of 30% says working with a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) at his animal health…

Practical advice

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HEALTH AND WELFARE

Vet Viewpoint: Lungworm, health plans and biosecurity

Autumn breeding decisions, biosecurity and health plans are the main talking points among XL Vet across the UK this month. There is also a warning on lungworm with sporadic cases…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Advice for dealing with fluke as high rainfall increases risk

High levels of rainfall have put livestock in Scotland, western England and northern parts of Wales at high risk of fluke. Producers in the South West should also be on…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Why vaccination could help reduce mastitis in flocks

Sheep farmers battling ongoing mastitis rates of 10% or above could benefit from a new vaccine, which has been shown to halve incidence and improve recovery rates. Mastitis is one…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Step-by-step guide to identifying and treating lame cows

Lameness levels have increased from 38 to 40 cases per 100 cows, probably as a result of heat stress over the summer and more time spent standing to cool down.…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

A poultrykeeper's guide to spotting and controlling blackhead

Vets are urging poultry flock-keepers to take precautions against blackhead after a warm, wet summer saw a rise in the number of cases. Blackhead, or histomoniasis, commonly causes reduced weights…

BEEF

Summer mastitis warning issued after spike in cases

A surge in summer mastitis has led to experts advising beef farmers to be vigilant when checking cattle. Laboratory-confirmed mastitis cases are at a three-year high (see table), which has…

Insights

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Expert insights on the latest poultry gut health science

Influencing gut populations to promote better health, reduce the use of antibiotics and improve performance has arguably become as important as bird genetics in recent years. Getting nutrition right –…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How to profit from forage-based dairy-beef system

Forage-based dairy-beef systems are profitable even in extreme weather conditions, a two-year study at Harper Adams University has concluded. The project investigated whether it was feasible to finish dairy-bred beef…

LIVESTOCK

Vet Viewpoint: Blackleg, teaser rams and biosecurity

Blackleg, teaser tups and biosecurity are the main talking points among XL Vet across the UK this September. One vet also considers the revised assessment of the livestock sector’s effect…

BOVINE TB

Dairy farmers tell the real stories behind bovine TB statistics

Welsh dairy farmers have laid bare the huge emotional and financial costs of dealing with an outbreak of bovine TB. According to Defra’s latest bovine TB statistics, the total number…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Benefits of cross-breeding dairy and is it right for you?

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been comparing the performance of three-way-cross cows (made up of Viking Red, Montbeliarde and Holstein) to Holsteins. It differs from a similar study…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Sheep lameness: The successes and remaining challenges

In 2012, Farmers Weekly launched the Stamp Out Lameness campaign after sheep lameness hit the government's radar when the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) put forward an Opinion on Lameness…

FOOT HEALTH

4 ways to reduce sheep lameness to less than 2% by 2021

UK flocks have already worked hard to reduce lameness to less than 5% by 2016, but the next target set by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) is to reduce…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How latest red mite treatments perform in poultry flocks

Red mite is a pervasive pest present on almost all commercial poultry farms with varying degrees of severity. Mites can drink up to 5% of a bird's blood every night, and…

MEDICINES

How a farmer-led project helps dairies reduce antibiotics use

Antibiotics are a hot topic on dairy farms across the UK, with many producers working to cut their use to meet government or milk contract targets. While many of these…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Q&A: How cold plasma could reduce reliance on antibiotics

A cutting-edge laboratory investigating a new technology with the ability to reduce harmful chemicals and antibiotics in the food chain – and lessen the threat of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) –…