Farmer Focus: BVD eradication plan is a no-brainer

I remember when I was younger (not that long ago) and older, wiser people said time moved faster the older you are. 

Well, I can honestly say 2016 whizzed by in a flash, which has me worried, as I must be older than I think I am.

When I last wrote in 2016, the tups were just about to go out. The tups were out for 34 days. The first cycle consisted of the maternals and in the second 17 days the meat sires went out.

See also: Read more from all the Livestock Farmer Focus writers 

Now the year has turned, we have shut the silage fields up and the ewes have been put into larger mobs in order to let the lambing fields rest and grow before lambing starts. 

Some fields have some grass left, but we are now starting to put the silage trailers out for the ewes, as on these uplands farms the grass is pretty much gone by this time of year.

We lost a cow the other day to clostridial disease. We are now going to vaccinate all the cattle against clostridial diseases, as we have worked out that if we can save one cow in every 18 years, the vaccination is paid for. 

The biggest pain is fitting it into our already comprehensive vaccination programme, especially for the heifers before they go to the bull. However, we will make it work.

This past month we have fluked all the breeding cattle and vaccinated them with their boosters for leptospirosis and  BVD. All breeding cattle older than 24 months were tested for Johne’s. 

Given the challenges we face over antimicrobial resistance, horizon scanning and vaccinating where necessary to prevent disease – rather than firefighting with antibiotics – is most definitely the way forward.

I think I have mentioned this before, but the eradication of BVD on cattle farms is a no-brainer and I urge you to all get involved in the BVDFree England eradication scheme.

Simon Bainbridge farm a 650ha upland organic farm with 150 suckler cows and 1,500 breeding ewes with his wife, Claire and his parents.  Healthy, maternal livestock and quality feed is a priority.