A major new initiative has been launched to help vets, farmers and the animal health trade cut the rate of youngstock losses suffered by the British cattle sector.
Statistics show nearly 2.5 million calves are born in Great Britain annually, but many fail to reach adulthood because of disease.
In an attempt to address the issue, MSD Animal Health will roll out an educational programme for vets this summer, encouraging them to undertake more proactive engagement with farmers over youngstock health issues.
The programme will include training, diagnostic tools and best practice advice for calf rearers.
MSD Animal Health vet Alfredo Sanz Moreno said: “On average, 8% of calves are born dead or die within 24 hours of birth on British farms. These are appalling losses and significant costs the industry can ill afford to bear. Fortunately, industry stakeholders are committed to reversing the trend, but everyone must work together to give committed youngstock rearers the tools to make a real difference on farm. This new initiative aims to do just that.”
Priority areas for improvement, according to Mr Sanz Moreno, include colostrum feeding practices, environmental management issues and disease prevention. “Unfortunately, up to 50% of calves born in Britain do not receive enough good quality colostrum. Addressing this alone would help the industry make great strides towards reversing such depressing youngstock loss statistics. It is also estimated around 50% of livestock housing in Britain is not able to provide adequate ventilation. Infectious diseases too, particularly scours and pneumonia, continue to take their toll despite the fact we have highly effective vaccines and other animal health products available to help farmers manage these problems,” he added.
The initiative is supported by an educational website featuring practical video content and an opportunity to register for regular e-newsletters.
For more information visit www.healthyyoungstock.co.uk