NEWS IN DETAIL...
Healthy Food from Healthy Animals
Faye Shepherd presented a paper on dairy cattle lameness to the British Society of Animal Science's Annual conference, with the theme this year of 'Healthy Food from Healthy Animals'.
The paper entitled ‘A preliminary study in investigating factors affecting percentage of lameness in dairy cattle on farms in the south west of England’ analysed some of the initial anonymised data coming from the Healthy Livestock (HL) project’s lameness strand. The average herd lameness for the population was returned at 26.5%. A significantly lower level of lameness was observed on organic farms (15.6%) when compared to intensive (25.2%) and standard farming systems (28.1%). No differences in lameness levels were observed across differing housing systems.
Faye works as a technical specialist and training coordinator for the Healthy Livestock project and is also studying for her Research Masters at the College – not surprisingly on cattle lameness. Her work includes coordinating the training delivery through the veterinary practices in mid and west Cornwall as well as monitoring the data from the dairy cow lameness and Johne’s disease strands from all participating farmers across the south west. She presented well to a scientific audience, at the same time promoting the work of the College with the south west livestock farming industry.
Paul Ward also presented a preliminary paper on Johne’s disease. From the preliminary data gained, only 11% of farms were shown to be free from the disease, and 65% either tested positive or have observed incidences. These figures are of significant concern and appropriate strategies need to be implemented to mitigate against the risk Johne’s disease poses. Healthy Livestock offers 70% funding towards determining the disease status on farm, as well as the formulation a control plan with your vet.
The conference demonstrated the importance of scientific work combining with current practice in order to improve the health and welfare of animals, thus improving profitability. Thanks are due to the Healthy Livestock team and the Rural Business School admin team for their work, and particularly to Dr Tim Whitaker for his support.
- A preliminary study in investigating factors affecting percentage of lameness in dairy cattle on farms in the south west of England
- A preliminary investigation into the presence, risk of entry and risk of on-farm spread of Johne's disease in the south west of England