June 2024 Newsletter

The seasons this year have certainly presented their challenges. Grass is now growing with plenty having been cut, I am hopeful that the maize in the ground will enjoy the warm soil and grow well. We need to start thinking about parasite and worm control. The warm wet conditions allow the emergence of gut worm larvae on the leaf of grass for the calves or lambs to ingest. We aim to turnaround dung samples on the same day and give you meaningful results and advice so please make use of this service. It is always better to know what you are treating rather than just worming willy nilly; if not for the cost saving then for the slowing of wormer resistance. Don’t forget that there is more grant money available this year via the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway. For those that claimed Dairy or Beef last year, you are able to claim for a different species this year so Dairy farms can generally claim beef so long as the minimum of 11 beef animals are present. Beef farmers that claimed last year may be eligible for sheep this year etc. The numbers required for eligibility/grant value is as follows: Beef- 11 Cattle / £522; Dairy- 11 Cattle / £372; Sheep- 21 Sheep / £436

You may remember that we informed you that the VMD (Veterinary Medicine Directorate) changed the rules for us to prescribe flea and worming products to Pets back last September, requiring that they are seen before we could sell to you. From 17th May the VMD has made changes to the way we are allowed to prescribe to Farm Animals too. The main thing that will affect you, is that we must record why any drugs are sold onto farm, so our Reception Team will ask you what the drugs you request are for. Whilst you might feel this is quite obvious, please bear with them and answer appropriately!

Secondly, we must also stop using antibiotics for prevention or prophylaxis. (We have been moving towards this with you all, already.) However, if we still need to do this we must record why and demonstrate that we have talked to you about a particular disease outbreak and come up with a plan to prevent the situation arising again. Examples could be use of antibiotics in a pneumonia outbreak and moving to improving ventilation and using a vaccine in future. We will discuss individual cases with each of you as they arise, and any ongoing problems, such as a blanket use of Dry Cow Therapy in dairy cows or using blanket antibiotics for calf scours.

Lastly, there are some changes to withdrawal periods, particularly in milking cows, when we use drugs ‘off label’. Again, we will discuss each individual case with you, as they arise. We are hoping we can document some of these factors in Herd Health Plans or on the clinical records we hold for each farm, but we will need to ensure that these methods would meet the VMD requirements, before we implement them.

We are holding a Sheep Focus meeting on Thursday 6th June at 12.00pm to discuss the recently launched sheep wormer Startect, as well a review of sheep fertility and techniques to improve reproductive performance. Please call to book a place, all are welcome, and refreshments provided!

Great to see so many of you at the North Somerset Show and Congratulations to the James and Rachel Hardwidge and Lias Team for winning our quiz!

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