Page 15 - Livestock Matters - Spring 2013

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seen the devastating effects of Foot and
Mouth Disease and bTB. We wanted to keep
potential risk factors as low as possible.
‘We were already vaccinating our herd
against BVD, leptospirosis and IBR, so any
new heifers needed to fit in with our existing
vaccination programme. We also had the
Danish Red heifers tested for bluetongue and
bTB prior to introduction on to the farm.
‘I would definitely import cattle again. It's
important to take a long-term view when it
comes to herd health and ensure new cattle
are of the highest health status. We also
found it was cheaper than buying them from
the UK. We chose the cattle from the Danish
farms ourselves and it only took a fortnight
from selection to delivery.
‘When sourcing the Danish Red bull, Bruce
advised us to select a virgin bull, ensure it
had accurate records and was sheath-washed
twice to minimise any risk of campylobacter
before we brought it on to the farm.’
Bruce comments: ‘When buying breeding
bulls, have them fertility tested and get a
certificate from the source farm's vet to confirm
this. Check they aren't carrying any venereal
diseases and if they are being sold as virgin
bulls, check that the records are from a
reputable farm.’
James adds: ‘My advice to other farmers
would be to choose a reputable importer,
source good genetic stock, and select from
farms with true and accurate records and
good procedures. But the most important thing
is to discuss your disease management and
vaccination programme with your vet first.’
Some European countries have disease
eradication programmes in place, whilst
other countries have managed to eradicate
certain diseases. Denmark has a national
cattle database and maintains very good
cattle health records, which has helped
them to completely eradicate IBR.
Livestock importer Chris Dodds, of Chris
Dodds Livestock Limited, explains: ‘In
Denmark, national eradication and
assurance schemes mean herds can
be certified free from IBR, BVD and
leptospirosis. Denmark is also EU-certified
free of bTB. Danish vets must record what
vaccinations and medicines have been
administered to cattle and the reasons
why. So it's straightforward to confirm the
disease and vaccination status of cattle.
This helps reduce the likelihood of
bringing new diseases on to farms.
‘We select the cattle from the source farms
ourselves, but also invite buyers on-farm to
physically pick out their preferred cattle,
so the environment they're coming from
can be seen. Some buyers also like to
select cattle in conjunction with their vet.
‘When importing cattle into the UK
we have a set protocol established in
conjunction with UK vets which governs
the main diseases and their control.
Before cattle leave the source farm they
are checked by Danish vets and their
health status is confirmed.
‘We always advise that buyers have the
health status of their own herd checked by
their vet. This provides the opportunity to
reduce any health problems that may
exist, and identifies any disease problems,
so that new stock entering the herd can
also be protected.
‘Cattle of a high health status may be
slightly more expensive, but we believe
that any additional cost due to the
associated health assurances is well
worth it in the long run.’
Danish Red calves
Diseases to look out for
BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea)
IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis)
Johne's disease
bTB (bovine tuberculosis)
Fluke and other parasites
Contagious mastitis
Digital dermatitis
Venereal disease
Danish Red bull
Chris Dodds
Danish Red cow