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Research investigates Herd Health Plans

Posted 13 December 2011

“A lot of work has been carried out and implemented to make human health planning more successful and effective. This is what we are working towards in farm animal health planning.

Stacey (centre) with hamper winners Richard and Helen Franklin

Harper Adams postgraduate research student, Stacey Blease, has been asking West Midlands farmers to air their opinions about Herd Health Plans.

She has issued around 1400 questionnaires to all dairy farmers in the region to find out their attitudes and opinions towards completing the documents, and how useful they find them.

Herd Health Plans were introduced in the late 1990s and are a requirement of many milk buying and herd assurance schemes.

Stacey’s PhD aims to quantify the incidence of disease on dairy farms and identify the factors influencing the effectiveness of these plans.

The 27-year-old from Stockport, said: “These questionnaires are the first experiment that I have done since beginning my PhD in June.

“I’ll be following them up with farm visits and discussions to hopefully find out more.”

Stacey, who completed a degree in Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool incentivised the completion of the questionnaires with the chance to win one of three Christmas hampers.

Drawn at random, the winners were Richard and Helen Franklin of Aqualate Dairy Farm, Newport, Felicity Peak at Pershall Farm, Eccleshall and Richard Brittlebank at Tean Leys Farm, Stoke-on-Trent.

Stacey added: “A lot of work has been carried out and implemented to make human health planning more successful and effective. This is what we are working towards in farm animal health planning.

“I’d like to thank the farmers that have completed questionnaires because they are contributing to this goal.

The findings of Stacey’s research will be relayed back to farmers and vets via the internet and through presentations held across the West Midlands.

To find out more about the project, visit here.

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