October 2023 Newsletter
It was good to see so many of you at the Bath & West Dairy Show last week. The rain seems to have subsided for a while to allow some maize to be harvested and a bit of late silage has been made, so hopefully forage stocks are adequate despite the challenging seasons.
Autumnal weather and animals coming back into housing are two of the biggest contributing factors in developing pneumonia in calves. Now is the time to act to limit the challenge on your farm. Please talk to the farm vet team about which pneumonia vaccination and protocol will be most suited for your system. Vaccines are certainly not the holy grail and we need a holistic approach to prevent pneumonia. Housing/ventilation can help reduce the challenge while vaccines help to top up the immunity to prevent disease. You may well have read about the calf housing grants that are now available, so it could be a good time to overhaul your calf house!
We will be holding a calf rearing meeting on the 7th November. The emphasis of this meeting will be on managing bought in dairy beef calves but all are welcome. Further details will follow but if you would like to book a place feel free to put your name down by calling the surgery.
We are holding a Dairy Cow Lameness and nutrition meeting on Wednesday 6th December. We will be starting at the Surgery before a farm walk and trimming demo at Pine Farm, Wrington Hill, by kind permission of the Garrett Family. Please call to book your place.
We have had a recent spike in numbers of BVD cases. For that reason, we thought it would be good to hold a meeting to refresh our memories about BVD as it is such a complicated disease. The provisional date is the evening of 16th November. More details will follow.
We have had some interest in Medicine courses for Red Tractor compliance. If you would like to add your name to our waiting list then please call and as soon as we have enough participants, we will run the course.
As we head into autumn the number of lungworm outbreaks are at their peak. Lungworm, caused by the parasitic worm Dictyocaulus viviparous, results in a typical husky sounding cough, varying degrees of difficulty breathing and nasal discharge. Affected cattle can often be poor doers (either poor growth rates or loss of condition) with loss of appetite and reduced milk yields as they struggle to cope with the worm burden present within the lungs. Cattle pick up lungworm from grazing infected pasture. The average cost of a lungworm outbreak is estimated to cost around £140 per adult cow for dairy herds and between £50 and £100 per beef cow. Cattle can produce an immune response to lungworm larvae and adult worms whether infected naturally or by using a vaccine such as Huskvac. Vaccination is by far the most predictable method of building herd immunity to help reduce the impact of lungworm on farm. Cattle are given two doses of the oral vaccine four weeks apart pre-turnout. However, if you have cattle coughing at grass now, they need treating as a matter of urgency. Once cattle are exposed, immunity is normally then protective for future grazing periods. If you’d like to discuss lungworm control on your farm contact one of the farm team, we will be happy to help!