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

How mastitis detection tech helped reduce antibiotics use

Wrexham dairy farmer Stephen Massey says using technology to sample individual quarters for cell counts has given him the confidence to start using teat sealant alone on some of his…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

How a Welsh farm reduced ewe mortality by tackling OPA

A Welsh farm has successfully tackled an infectious form of lung cancer in sheep with a radical scan-and-cull policy. Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA) is caused by a virus which infects…

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…

MEDICINES

How oral dosing was cut by 70% in high-input flock

A County Durham shepherd is heading into the 2020 lambing period hoping to continue using fewer antibiotics in neonatal lambs after a major reduction last year. Graeme Wood, who has…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

How calf rearers have drastically reduced pneumonia cases

Thomas Williams has drastically reduced calf pneumonia by 36% since erecting a purpose-built calf unit.  Mr Williams, who farms with his parents Robert and Angela and wife Michelle in Ellesmere,…

SHEEP

How upland Easycare flock is rearing 170%

An upland flock has increased productivity by lifting scanning rates from 150% to 180% and used Beltex terminal sires to produce fast-growing lambs within supermarket specification. A raft of changes…

Practical advice

See all

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Tips to minimise avian influenza risk on your farm

After two years of relatively low levels of avian influenza in Europe, it is back. The end of December marked the first outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain on…

MEDICINES

4-step guide to reviewing antibiotics use on your farm

For livestock farmers signed up to the Red Tractor Assurance scheme, an annual review of antibiotics use is required to meet assurance criteria. Vet Tim Potter from the VetPartners group…

HUSBANDRY

What is the value of weighing dairy cows?

Automatically weighing cows when they enter the milking robot could provide a useful gauge of feed and dry cow management success, and also enable accurate dosing of medicines. Weigh platforms…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Advice on testing your flock for fluke after wet weather

Extended wet weather can increase the incidence of fluke disease in sheep flocks. Local conditions and individual farm situations will dictate the appropriate course of action, but sheep specialist Emily…

BOVINE TB

Rules, compensation and advice for bovine TB in pig herds

According to Defra statistics, there were 38 pig premises under TB restriction in 2018, with 122 pigs tested for the disease. Although this is low compared to TB in cattle,…

PARASITIC DISEASES

6 tips for a good livestock parasite control plan

January is the best time for livestock farmers to plan out a parasite control strategy for the year ahead. A robust and practical programme will help reduce disease burdens, economic…

Insights

HEALTH AND WELFARE

6 things I learned from visiting US 'mega-dairies'

Dairy farming in the US has become synonymous with the words “mega-dairy”. While the scale of US dairy farms bears little resemblance to UK operations, there are some striking similarities…

BOVINE TB

Counting the cost of bovine TB in Wales

Seen as a well-informed strategy by some, a misguided experiment by others; more than two years after the Welsh government rolled out its new policy for eradicating TB, it continues…

MEDICINES

Tackling IBR - non-marker versus marker vaccines

Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) is a highly contagious, respiratory disease that can affect cattle of all ages. It is possible to protect herds using either a non-marker or marker vaccine.…

BOVINE TB

Video: Brian May's Gatcombe Farm project gets TB-free status

A new approach to disease control on a dairy farm in Devon – taking out infective cows and minimising exposure to slurry – has seen the herd attain TB-free status…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

7 risk factors of pneumonia in calves and how to avoid them

Buying calves from multiple sources and feeding calves only once a day could be putting animals at risk of getting pneumonia, a study has found. AHDB assessed data from eight…

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…