Newsletter April 2016

Some of you may already know that after two and a half years here, Claire Kilburn has decided to move back to work in Yorkshire, which will be closer to home for her.  We have found a replacement, Jack Porteous, formerly from Hexham who will be graduating from Nottingham this year and will hopefully start work in July,  in the meantime, we will be sharing the workload between the 5 of us.

TB testing has just about finished with another 6-8 herds to complete before turnout.  The final batch of radial testing around Bootle has finished, and we are awaiting further results on one animal.  As long as these come back clear there should be no further testing required except on the affected farm.

While on the subject of TB, there are new regulations regarding post-movement testing of any animals that move from the High-Risk Area to the Low-Risk Area.  From 6th April if you purchase any cattle from the High-Risk Area then they will need to be tested 60—120 days after they arrive on your holding, unless they are slaughtered within the 120 days.   You are responsible for arranging and paying for the test, with movement restrictions being applied if the test is not carried out on time. It will be an offense to move the animals off your holding without the post-movement test unless direct to slaughter within 120 days– in other words, should you buy them, you must keep them for at least 60 days and get them tested.

There is also a new initiative for anyone wanting to have a part of full dispersal sale to have a  full herd TB test paid for by the government, subject to their authorisation and approval.  It is only an option to herds on a 4-year testing interval, planning to sell at least 20 breeding animals (bulls, in calf or breeding cows or dairy heifers over 15 months of age). If reactor or inconclusive reactor animals are found then, movement restrictions will be imposed which may affect the sale,  however, if the test is clear it may make the animals more saleable.

Remember that all dogs must be microchipped to comply with legislation– this includes farm and pet dogs of all ages.  If your dogs are not yet microchipped then, let us know the next time we are coming to your farm and we will do them when we are there.


Are you using dry cow tubes on all your cows at drying off?  Do they all need it?  You may well have heard plenty about the use (or overuse) of antibiotics in food-producing animals as well as the human population.  Some milk companies are wanting evidence that not all cows are dried off with antibiotics, but instead,  a teat sealant is used.  This has the advantage of providing a physical barrier at the teat canal to prevent bacteria gaining entry into the udder when the cow is dry.  A large number of infections in the first month after calving occur because of these infections when dry  –   data from your milk records can be used to determine whether the cow has been infected when dry, or if it is

A large number of infections in the first month after calving occur because of these infections when dry  –   data from your milk records can be used to determine whether the cow has been infected when dry, or if it is an infection from the previous lactation that has not been cured. If you are thinking of using teat sealants, then it is important to accurately select which cows are suitable for this treatment and that you administer it properly.

Incorrect administration can introduce infection with the tube resulting in mastitis in the newly calved cow or worse.   If you are interested in finding out more about using teat sealants, then please let us know.

BVD and Leptospira booster vaccinations will be due for a lot of you before turnout.  Replacement heifers will need 2 doses of each vaccine.  There is a new single dose BVD vaccine now available, which may be of interest to some of you.  Replacement heifers only need 1 dose to start with, and should not be served until 3 weeks after they are vaccinated.  They will continue to need annual boosters as they will only be protected for 12 months after vaccination.

Huskvac orders can still be taken for your replacement heifers.   This is still the best option to protect your adult cows against the devastating effects of lungworm.