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

LAMBING

How one farmer is delivering 1.8 lambs sold per ewe

Challenging grazing conditions posed by Cotswold brash stony soils that climb up to steep inclines of 750ft make running a low-input, grass-based system untenable at Church Farm in North Stoke.…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How a Welsh dairy has slashed its antibiotics use

A dairy farm has slashed its antimicrobial use by nearly 30% through a combination of selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) and improved herd management, putting it in the top 25%…

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…

Practical advice

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HEALTH AND WELFARE

How to diagnose and treat downer cows

Getting a down cow back up on her feet as soon as possible after she collapses is the surest way to put her on the road to recovery, which makes…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How the Finnish prevent tail-biting in non-docked herds

Operating high health pig herds and keeping stress levels low is preventing tail biting in non-docked Finnish pigs. In Finland, they have been operating 100% pigs finished with non-docked tails…

SHEEP

6 expert tips to reduce lamb days to slaughter

Sheep farmers looking to improve profitability should put more emphasis on getting lambs finished quicker by exploiting good-quality grass. Selling lambs early contributes 45% to overall profitability. In comparison, achieving…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Strategies to prevent heat stress in cattle

Record high temperatures last summer caught out livestock farmers in both indoor and outdoor systems, with cattle succumbing to debilitating heat stress. Tell-tail signs of heat stress are lethargy and…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

Q&A: What is haemonchus and how to prevent and treat it

Good worm control plays a pivotal role in the success or failure of a sheep flock. Get it wrong, and you could be left with stunted growth rates, gut damage…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Fly control in cattle: the options compared

As many dairy and beef systems have intensified, so too has the need for effective fly control programmes that combine cleanliness with chemical, biological or physical controls – or all…

Insights

OTHER POULTRY

What UK farmers can learn from German turkey beak trim ban

The laying hen sector in the UK is working hard to determine exactly how farmers might manage without beak treatments. But in Germany a ban has been extended to turkeys…

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…