All cattle farmers must be totally committed to producing safe food. They have a duty and responsibility to safeguard the health and welfare of animals on their farm, and should manage their farm to reduce the risk of disease challenge and, therefore, the need to use antibiotics and other medicines.
Cattle farmers should draw up, implement and regularly review an appropriate herd health plan that outlines routine preventive treatments (e.g. biosecurity, vaccination and worming programmes etc.) and disease control policy, in association with the attending veterinary surgeon.
All dairy farmers must be totally committed to producing safe food. Dairy farmers should together with the farm’s veterinary surgeon draw up, implement and regularly review a herd health plan that outlines routine preventive measures (e.g. milking machine testing, teat dip, parlour hygiene) and disease control policy, including dry cow therapy.
Dry Cow Management is an essential part of a dairy farmer’s routine to ensure the health and welfare of their cows. The dry cow period is a high risk time for acquisition of new bacterial infections. The current concerns over the use of antibiotics and possible implications with antimicrobial resistance mean it is timely to review the concept of treating all cows at the end of lactation to both prevent new infections and treat any existing infections.
RUMA guidelines for the responsible use of vaccines and vaccination by dairy and beef producers have been designed to give easy-to-read guiding principles that can be used by all producers in the management of their herds.
RUMA Alliance member AHDB Dairy along with its research partner, the University of Nottingham, has produced a short film for farmers and farm staff to demonstrate the correct technique used to vaccinate cattle safely and effectively.
Practical guide to avoiding milk antibiotic residues is available via a poster from the BCVA (British Cattle Veterinary Association), with pointers on how dairy farmers can make sure their milk always meets the stringent antibiotic residues standards.
Unless advised by your veterinary surgeon, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct number of treatments, between treatments and withholding time. If in doubt, consult your veterinary surgeon, who may recommend the use of an antibiotic residue test.
You must ensure milk is clear of antibiotics and this is part of your milk contract. Follow data sheet and vet advice on all treatments. If you vary treatment (combinations of products, or vary dose, frequency or prolong treatment) this can affect withdrawal times. A minimum seven day milk withdrawal must be applied and the milk tested before being put in the tank.
Further training and information on avoiding antibiotic residues in milk is available via MilkSure, a training and veterinary certification programme for dairy farmers led by Dairy UK and developed in conjunction with BCVA. While centred on residue avoidance in milk, MilkSure covers other areas of good medicine stewardship, such as adhering to correct treatment protocols, medicine storage, and reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance.
RUMA Alliance member the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has issued guidance, supported by RUMA, on the use of anthelmintics in grazing animals in the form of a poster for display. The main points are that:
- Resistance to anthelmintics in grazing animals is serious and increasing
- If not checked resistance could have a catastrophic impact on animal welfare and economic production
- Anthelmintics are a necessary option but their use must be judicious
- Every application increases the risk
Internal parasites (worms) represent an important threat to optimising performance in both beef and dairy cattle. Feed conversion efficiency, growth rates and fertility will all be affected if cattle are carrying large burdens of internal parasites.There is an industry initiative which aims to improve the information available to vets and advisors about the sustainable control of endoparasites in cattle.
AHDB has funded the compilation of a technical manual covering parasite lifecycles, diseases caused and best practice recommendations for use of anthelmintics in cattle.
Parasites represent an important threat to optimising performance in both beef and dairy cattle. Feed conversion efficiency, growth rates and fertility will all be affected if cattle are carrying large burdens of internal parasites. There is an industry initiative which aims to improve the information available to vets and advisors about the sustainable control of parasites in cattle.
For more information visit: http://www.cattleparasites.org.uk/