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 dairy farmer has cut neospora infection by 25%

A Welsh dairy farm’s policy of not breeding heifer replacements from cows that test positive for neospora and being meticulous with biosecurity has helped to reduce herd infection from more…

MEDICINES

7 ways a sheep farmer has cut antibiotics use

The use of wood shavings in lambing pens has put an end to blanket use of antibiotics against watery mouth at lambing and is part of an overall strategy which…

SHEEP

How Glos farm reduced lamb losses to half the UK average

Gloucestershire sheep farmers Martin and Pauhla Whitaker have been placing a big emphasis on flock health, in the belief that if animals are healthy it will help them be more…

FOOT HEALTH

Sheep farmer abolishes foot-rot in a year through vaccination

Lameness in sheep is not only detrimental to the animal’s health, but has repercussions on performance and profits, estimated to cost £89.80 a case. Government targets from the Farm Animal…

SHEEP

FW Awards: Sheep Farmer of the Year finalists 2018

Each of the three finalists in the 2018 Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year category are well-positioned to meet the challenges of Brexit. They have developed profitable and sustainable…

BEEF

Couple makes success of farming on remote Orkney island

Healthy and efficient animals are a must for Neil and Jocelyn Rendall, who farm one of the most remote and smallest Orkney islands. The Isle of Papa Westray (“Papay”), one…

Practical advice

See all

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

How to prevent IBR disease in your beef herd

Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. In serious cases, it can lead to pneumonia, particularly in calves. Between them, the diseases can have a significant impact…

PARASITIC DISEASES

Q&A: Advice on worming cattle at housing

Endoparasites pose a significant threat to cattle health and performance, with the presence of worms causing a reduction in appetite which leads to poor growth. Worms can be challenging on…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Q&A: How to tackle neospora in cattle

Neospora is a parasite that infects dairy and beef cattle, causing abortion and stillbirth. Evidence suggests its prevalence in the UK is growing. So what can farmers do to protect…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

A complete guide to leptospirosis in cattle

Leptospirosis is a serious, contagious, infectious disease found in cattle. Known as lepto, leptospirosis can affect other domestic animals, including dogs and sheep. Failure to control the disease can not…

LIVESTOCK

UK African Swine Fever risk level raised after new outbreaks

The government has raised the risk status of African Swine Fever (ASF) entering the UK after the latest outbreak in eastern Europe saw 180,000 pigs culled. Almost 750 confirmed cases…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

5 tests to assess your dairy herd’s welfare and comfort

Farmers and stock workers can trick themselves into thinking everything is satisfactory in the cow shed but cows don’t lie. Veterinarian and CowSignals instructor Owen Atkinson of Dairy Veterinary Consultancy explores five…

Insights

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…

BOVINE TB

Current UK TB rules - and what's coming next

Defra and its devolved counterparts have announced a series of tougher bovine TB rules in the past 12 months in a bid to control the disease, which continues to see…

BOVINE TB

Analysis: Is the badger cull in England working?

 In 2015, former Defra secretary Liz Truss claimed the badger culls were “working” and the chief vet had made it clear that Defra’s TB strategy was “delivering disease control benefits”.…

LIVESTOCK

Badger and cattle TB vaccination: The situation now

With controversy continuing to rage about badger culling, and questions still raised about the government’s “test and slaughter” policy for cattle, Defra is pumping millions of pounds a year into…

BOVINE TB

What a new bovine TB test trial in Devon means for farmers

At an undisclosed farm location in Devon, leading vet Dick Sibley, director of West Ridge Veterinary Practice in Tiverton, is trialling a novel TB management package, including two new tests,…

MEDICINES

Sector-specific antibiotics targets and what they mean

Sector-specific targets surrounding antibiotics use have been developed by a “targets taskforce” made up of farmers and vets and facilitated by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance. Targets vary for…

LIVESTOCK

Why textbook heifer growth rates may not be good enough

Dairying experts at home and abroad are questioning whether units are achieving heifer growth targets of 0.7-0.8kg/day and if this gain is sufficient for the modern Holstein. Concerted efforts to…

SHEEP

Wormer trial shows faecal egg counting can cut drench costs

A research project has found using new technology and faecal egg counting can help halve drench use and save money and time. The Techion Group/Sainsbury’s project, looking at remote location…

BOVINE TB

Welsh farmers face more testing in revised TB strategy

Splitting Wales into low, intermediate and high-risk TB zones, as introduced under the Welsh government’s new control strategy, is widely accepted as the correct approach to tackling the disease. A…