We have almost finished the TB testing schedule in the Bootle area as well as the 6 month round of testing in Lowick and The Green zones, with no more reactor animals being found so far. There are, however, a number of cattle that are inconclusive reactors and will be tested again 6-8 weeks later. At this second test the result will be either pass or fail (any cows still classed as inconclusive are deemed to have failed and will be slaughtered) – we are hoping that there will not be many animals falling into this category. What happens next will depend on whether TB is confirmed post mortem, but at least one clear full herd test will be required before movement restrictions will be lifted. All herds in the Bootle zone will be tested again in the autumn, with those in the other two areas due for testing again next spring. Please remember that if you are in these areas pre-movement testing, which is valid for 60 days, will be required for any cattle moving off your holding except those going direct to slaughter.
We have had a number of dairy farmers that have needed a current and up to date health plan to satisfy farm assurance requirements
which, in most cases, can be achieved by completing the paperwork provided by red tractor farm assurance scheme (www.redtractorassurance.org.uk).
There are parts for you to record eg. the number of cases of mastitis and lameness in your herd as well as a target figure. We are prepared to help you complete the target figures but hope that you will have some idea as to how many actual cows you have treated for each condition listed. It will also give us an opportunity to discuss the health problems on your farm, what you perceive to be the major problems and how we can help you improve things. It will be of more benefit to you to use it to improve the health and performance of the herd rather than regard it as a ‘tick box exercise’ to comply with a farm assurance scheme.
There is still a legal requirement to report any abortions in your cows—this is deemed a calf born before 270 days of pregnancy. If you contact us at the office with the cow’s ear number we will then report it to AHVLA who will decide if it needs testing for brucellosis (which they will pay for). Any further tests to try and determine the actual cause of abortion will be at your expense. There is, however, subsidised testing available for bulk milk samples or blood samples from 6 suckler cows to check for antibodies to BVD, IBR and leptospira.
Bovikalc boluses are available to try and reduce the problem of milk fever in older cows– it can be given just before or after a cow calves, providing a higher level of calcium over a longer period than the bottle that you put under the skin.
Scouring lambs can be due to coccidiosis as well as worms so if they don’t improve after treatment you need to know why. Have they got coccidia, or is there a problem with the wormer you have been using? A composite faeces sample from a number of affected lambs may be required to get the answer. Consider the use of worm egg counts during the next few months rather than just worming your lambs—you may save time and money by only dosing them when they have a worm burden.
Lambs require 2 doses of clostridial vaccine to confer protection, with the second dose being given 4-6 weeks after the first.
Ticks seem to be causing problems already this year. As well as treating lambs with a pour on or dipping before they go to the fell injecting them with long acting oxytetracycline can help reduce cases of tick pyaemia.