Improved ventilation can keep diseases at bay

About 50% of naturally ventilated buildings have insufficient ventilation for the number of animals housed, said Jamie Robertson, Aberdeen University, at one of the Beef Expo seminars.

According to Mr Robertson, poor ventilation can have huge implications for animal health and daily liveweight gain.

“Inadequate ventilation will impact on mastitis, lameness and respiratory problems, to name but a few. This can, potentially, be hugely costly.”

Respiratory disease can cost an average £75/calf treated but there are hidden costs associated with reduced growth rates. “Respiratory disease can equate to losses of 100-600g/day in daily liveweight gain. This can result in calves taking five months longer to reach finishing weights,” said Mr Robertson.

“You cannot eliminate respiratory problems by just improving ventilation, but it is a good place to start.”

The key is to get a building to work with you, not against you. Getting fresh air into the building without creating a draught is essential.