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Farmers urged to consider bluetongue vaccination

Farmers Weekly

Farmers are being urged to recognise the risk of bluetongue spreading to British shores and should carefully consider whether to invest in vaccinating livestock against the virus, says the British Veterinary Association (BVA). This message was reiterated by the NFU, which says there is a “fairly good risk” of bluetongue spreading to England from France – where a total of 154 cases of bluetongue serotype virus 8 (BTV-8) have been reported since August. The outbreak in France and what it […]

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Ministers remove 'last hurdle' on brucellosis testing

Farmers Weekly

Pre-export brucellosis testing on cattle in Northern Ireland will be abolished next month, the agriculture minister has announced. The decision will come into force on 1 February and is for breeding cattle over 12 months old, coming almost four years after the last confirmed case of the disease in the country. See also: TB compensation cuts for farms with ‘risky practices’ Agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill described the move as the latest in a “gradual dismantling” of the brucellosis scheme after […]

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Health and safety tips for taking slurry samples

Farmers Weekly

Taking slurry samples is key to ensure spreading rates are correct, however slurry lagoons are one of the most dangerous areas on farm. Here is some advice for staying safe when taking samples this season. Above-ground storage Ideally, slurry should be fully agitated and sub-samples taken from the reception pit. If this is not possible, provided there is safe access from an operator platform, the five sub-samples can be taken from a range of positions, using a weighted two-litre container […]

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How to analyse your slurry nutrient content

Farmers Weekly

As the NVZ closed period for applying organic manure draws to a close (on 31 January), dairy farmers are being urged to check their samples before spreading. This will ensure crops are provided with the correct level of fertiliser, after a study revealed a wide variation in slurry nutrient content. More than 1,500 slurry samples taken between 2006 and 2015 found dairy slurry was not delivering the balance of nutrients expected, when compared to recommended figures in Defra’s RB209 fertiliser […]

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Top Holstein bulls neglected due to inbreeding fears

Farmers Weekly

Commercial Holstein-Friesian farmers have been warned against neglecting the breed’s leading sires over unfounded inbreeding fears. Many farmers avoid popular sire lines from O-man, Goldwyn and Shottle because “they’ve been used everywhere”, when in reality these sires of popular lines are still at a “safe level of inbreeding”. AHDB Dairy told the British Cattle Conference heard on Tuesday (19 January) the general guideline for inbreeding is 6.25%, although the level of inbreeding was rising fastest in the Holstein, increasing from […]

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Match starch feeds to forage carefully to avoid acidosis

Farmers Weekly

Failing to correctly match supplementary starch feeds to the low dry matter, acidic silages in many winter rations risk triggering sub-acute ruminal acidosis (Sara), cutting milk from forage and reducing income over feed costs (IOFC). That is the warning from KW senior nutritionist Mark Scott, who says farmers should choose starch feeds best suited to improving rumen fermentation rather than basing their decision on feed costs. Starch plays a key role in supporting milk yields and protein levels, as well […]

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Q&A: How EU drug rules could affect beef and dairy farmers

Farmers Weekly

Draft EU legislation looks likely to make reporting of on-farm antibiotic use mandatory. What does this mean for cattle farmers and how would it work? Brian Lindsay from the Cattle Health and Welfare Group (CHAWG) and Liz Redmond from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) answer some key questions What changes to medicine reporting are expected for cattle farmers? The EU is taking action to slow the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. The draft Regulation […]

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Johne’s control plan improves cow and calf output

Farmers Weekly

Separating dairy calves from their mothers within six hours of birth is helping one dairy farmer tackle Johne’s disease as well as improving calf growth rates. West Sussex farmer David Hamilton-Fox, Cowdray Estate, started trialling the early removal of calves in autumn 2014 as part of the plan to tackle what he calls the “niggling irritation” of Johne’s in the herd. Previously he couldn’t separate calves from their mother until 72 hours due to organic requirements. However, since switching to […]

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