Today is the Moredun Sheep and Cattle Health and Welfare Day with industry leaders coming together to speak on the latest work within the sector. With vaccines, diagnostic tests and disease control strategies being constantly developed at Moredun, it is vital to share this information to further develop new ideas. In drawing together these discussions, we hope the event will inspire further research to be undertaken and encourage open communication within sheep and cattle farming.
With representatives from Moredun Research Institute and MSD Animal Health, alongside our own Harper Adams staff, the talks span a range of topics including the approach to sheep scab, fighting fluke and vaccine successes. The welfare and health of animals is indicative of how efficient and thorough farms are in the early detection of illness - a topic discussed by our own Dr Emma Bleach.
The Harper Adams senior lecturer led her talk around the early detection of disease in cattle, by drawing together a variety of data from calves to heifers in order to understand how early prevention can make a great difference to the welfare of cattle. She spoke about monitoring the activity of calves reared on our dairy unit, comparing the pattern of movement for a normal calf against on that was ill.
Emma commented on the “difference in their lying patterns”, showing graphics and statistics to show an eight day window of illness and recovery. She explained that “the number of times they lie down in a day and for how long in each bout can occur before the calves become ill. With lame lying increasing before they become ill, we can pin point indicators and work towards early prevention and treatment.”
Backing up her evidence with research from her co-authored paper on Johne’s disease, as well as her active research on dairy cow fertility, Emma’s work fed into the other discussions around vaccination and healthy livestock led by Dr Alastair Nisbet and Dr Kat Baxter-Smith amongst others.
Speaking to Emma, she commented on the importance of such events explaining how “making people aware of how to uptake this information on the farm and keeping it at the forefront of farmers and researchers minds means we can continue to reinforce the stories shared today and control incidents more effectively. I want people to think all the time about prevention and treatment, keeping aware of ways they can further the health and welfare of their livestock.”
Harper Adams host a variety of industry events across the academic year. Our next event is the Sustainable Transformation Energy Project (STEP) Campus Infrastructure Day on January 23rd. You can find out more about the event here.