Posted By: Bibby - Farm Vet

A Pathway to Enhanced Animal Health and Welfare

At Shepton Vets, we are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and welfare of all animals under our care. As part of our proactive approach to veterinary services, we recently utilised the Animal Health & Welfare Pathway (AHWP) funding to conduct an in-depth investigation into a farmer's mastitis management. This complex and multifactorial disease can have a significant impact on dairy herds, and we sought to identify and resolve potential challenges to optimize animal health and productivity.

Understanding Mastitis and AHWP Funding:

Mastitis is a common concern among dairy farmers, and identifying its underlying causes requires careful examination. With the help of AHWP funding, we had the opportunity to thoroughly assess the milking cow environment. By combining milk recording data and mastitis case data, we pinpointed that the cases were of environmental lactation period origin.

Environmental Challenges and Recommendations:

During our visit to the farm, we utilized the Dairy Co Mastitis Control Plan Questionnaire, which revealed a significant issue - the shed lacked sufficient air outlet. The shed's older style, with narrow cubicle passages, led to dung buildup between milkings, creating a moist environment prone to issues like E. coli mastitis. We immediately recognized the need to improve ventilation and proposed raising the closed ridge to allow better airflow while still preventing rainwater from entering the building. Additionally, we discussed the potential implementation of an auto scraper or robotic scraper to reduce slurry buildup in the shed, enhancing overall hygiene and cow comfort.

BVD Sampling as Part of AHWP:

As an added benefit, the AHWP funding allowed us to perform BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) sampling during the visit. This proved to be a crucial diagnostic step, as it not only helped address potential BVD issues on the farm but also fulfilled a contractual requirement for the producer.

Enhancing Animal Health and Welfare:

Our AHWP-funded investigation proved invaluable in identifying key factors impacting mastitis management on the farm. By addressing environmental challenges and adopting preventive measures, we aimed to optimize the overall health and productivity of the milking cows. We believe that taking a proactive approach to herd health management is essential in ensuring a profitable and sustainable dairy operation.

Continuing the Path to Better Herd Health:

We are thrilled with the results of our mastitis investigation and the positive impact it can have on the farm's future. With the availability of AHWP funding, we encourage other farmers to explore the possibilities of comprehensive investigations into their herd's health and welfare. By working together, we can continue to improve animal well-being, productivity, and the overall success of dairy farms in the UK.

If you are interested in exploring AHWP funding for your farm or would like to schedule an investigation, please don't hesitate to contact Charlotte in our office. Let's work together to ensure the best care for your animals and the prosperity of your farm.


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