December 2019

Farm Assurance standards, as many of you are aware, now include the requirement to have attended a course on the responsible use of medicines.  We are holding one of these on 17th December and another on 19th December both at 7.30 pm at the village hall at The Green, Millom where there are a number of places still available – cost £25 + VAT (including sandwiches so please book your place). We are planning on holding another in the new year so if you want to attend then please contact us at the office.  Regulations now require that you have an antibiotic review, which necessitates us to print a record of all the antibiotics you have used/purchased in the last 12 months and then to discuss their usage with you.  We will need at least a couple of days notice to get this done for you and then to arrange a time to discuss them with you.


Have you got problems with lame cows and have you considered how best to control it?

1.The first step is to know the main reason your cows are lame  – is it due to infectious causes (foul, digital dermatitis or slurry heel) or non-infectious causes (solar ulcers or white line disease).  Keeping good records of every lame cow you examine and treat will give you this information.  All lame cows should be treated individually with the appropriate treatment depending on the cause

  1. Infectious causes of lameness can be prevented by good hygiene, ensuring cows do not spend a lot of time standing in slurry. This includes having comfortable beds where they can lie properly, without their back feet standing down in the slurry, and if you have automatic scrapers running them often enough so they do not cause a wave of slurry to go over the cows’ feet as it is cleaning the passages.
  2. Footbathing is no substitute for good hygiene but can be used as an aid to controlling infectious causes of lameness—it will not help treat cases and in most cases, foot bathing cows with digital dermatitis lesions will only contaminate the bath and risk spreading the infection further.
  3. Footbaths should be situated to ensure good cow flow, be deep enough (10-15 cm) to cover the horn/skin junction and ideally the accessory claws and be long enough to ensure every cow’s foot is immersed twice. The bath should be stable and comfortable for the cows to walk through. Results are better when feet have been washed off with a volume washer rather than having walked through a  bath of clean water beforehand.
  4. Different products have been used including formalin, copper sulphate and then a product containing glutaraldehyde and organic acids. Ideally, the concentration should be replenished after every 100-300 cows. A 5% solution of copper sulphate has given the best results at controlling dermatitis if used 4 times per week in a herd of cows where >5% of cows have lesions. All cows with active lesions were removed from the herd before foot bathing to reduce the risk of spread of infection.

Further information can be found at

The most important aspect of foot bathing is to use the correct product at the correct concentration, the correct depth and at the correct frequency, and using the correct replacement rate.


Mastitis in sheep can result in dead ewes as well as a major reason for culling some flocks.  The most common bacteria isolated are Staphylococci which can cause the acute gangrenous form (black bag) as well as a subclinical form which will only be seen as lumps in the udder often after weaning but can have resulted in a reduced milk yield and therefore reduced growth rate of the lambs from the affected ewe. There is now a vaccine available, ‘VIMCO’,  to help reduce the incidence of mastitis in ewes.  Sheep need to be given a  course of 2 intramuscular injections, the first 5 weeks before lambing, with a second dose  3 weeks later.  It comes in 5, 25 and 50 dose bottles at a cost of £3.50 per dose or £7 per ewe.  If you are interested in using it then give us a call.


Leptavoid vaccine to protect your cows against leptospirosis is back in stock. Available in 25 dose vials the recommendation is that any cattle that have not been vaccinated in the last 12 months will need 2 doses 4 weeks apart.

There is currently a problem getting Tetra Delta tubes but we hope they will be back in stock again soon.