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 a farmer slashed milking times and improved udder health

A Shropshire dairy farmer has cut milking times by two hours a day, improved udder health and reduced antibiotics use by making small tweaks to his parlour settings. Robert Mayer,…

BEEF

How finishing dairy bull calves is profiting an arable farm

Buying “waste” dairy bull calves and finishing them on low-cost feed and crop waste is helping to keep feed costs low while improving arable ground. Each year, Will King buys…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

What is the value of leader-follower systems for dairy calves?

Heifer replacements in a spring-calving dairy herd are achieving average daily liveweight gains of 0.75kg from birth to calving, after a system of grazing them in paddocks six days ahead…

MEDICINES

How Anglesey farmers have cut antibiotics at lambing by 60%

Sheep farmers on Anglesey have cut antibiotics use during lambing by almost 60% over a two-year period. By improving nutrition, hygiene, colostrum quality and management, a group of seven farmers…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How to take free-range layers to 100 weeks

Genetics and a programme of tailored nutrition have helped two Herefordshire farmers successfully lift the laying cycle of their flock of free-range hens beyond the UK’s 72-week average. As long…

PARASITIC DISEASES

Sheep farmer sees four clear benefits of plunge-dipping

Safe and efficient plunge-dipping is a key part of a thorough flock health plan for Northumberland commercial lamb producer Selby North-Lewis. Always a big believer in plunge-dipping, Mr North-Lewis’ flock,…

Practical advice

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HEALTH AND WELFARE

Flocks should be wary of worm spike if rain comes

Sheep farmers should monitor lambs for worms burdens closely and be on guard if it rains. This advice comes from leading sheep health experts after a prolonged period of dry…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How to protect your pig farm from flies

Flies can be a massive problem affecting indoor and outdoor pig units. Not only are they a nuisance that can lead to a reduction in feed intake, but they can…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Buying a stock bull: Health, safety and performance checks

Introducing a stock bull, whether it is the main breeding sire or a sweeper, can be a risky process, according to North Yorkshire vet Mark Spilman. Mr Spilman, a partner…

PARASITIC DISEASES

10 things you may not know about coccidiosis

Coccidiosis (Eimeria) is one of the most widespread and costly livestock diseases, causing significant gut damage and production losses in lambs and calves. Coccidiosis is primarily seen in young non-immune…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

6 housing tips for better dairy production and welfare

A few inexpensive, practical changes to the housing environment can make all the difference to the health, welfare and productivity of a dairy herd says Alice Miller of Friars Moor…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

4 livestock health issues to address ahead of turnout

For those who haven’t already turned out cattle, below Sophia Elworthy from Torch Farm Vets gives her tips for jobs to complete ahead of turnout. See also: Q&A: Everything you need…

Insights

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Red Tractor Q&A: How are lockdown assessments working?

Lockdown has meant Red Tractor inspections have gone online. Farmers Weekly asked farmers for their queries about the process and put them to Red Tractor. How are the inspections taking…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Study shows financial impact of crypto in beef herd

Cryptosporidiosis in young calves causes significant long-term weight loss and incurs huge economic costs, according to a study carried out in Scotland. The study, at Moredun Research Institute and The…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

African swine fever threat: What farmers need to know

African swine fever is the biggest threat to commercial pig production the industry has ever seen, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. The WHO predicts that the viral…

BOVINE TB

Analysis: Can switch to vaccines work in bovine TB battle?

It took more than 15 months to come to fruition, but Defra has finally published its response to Professor Sir Charles Godfray's 2018 independent review into the government’s bovine TB…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Study shows how calcium can affect dry cow fertility

Increasing calcium in pre-calving diets can improve postpartum uterine health and fertility, a recent study has revealed. The study, which took place at the University of Illinois, examined feeding dry…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

4 scientific advances poultry farmers should watch out for

The way broilers and laying hens are reared has transformed beyond recognition over the past 70 years. First, the two sectors intensified, with birds brought indoors to protect them from…

BROILERS

What the 'Better Chicken Commitment' means for farmers

A campaign to radically change the way broiler chickens are produced has been gathering pace across Europe. It stipulates a change in breed type, stocking densities and lighting levels, among…

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.…