Thousands of farmers are registered with Myhealthyherd; some of our members explain how the tool has worked for them.
Practical Use of Myhealthyherd for Johne’s Control
Martin and Carol Beaumont, Shorn Hill Farm, Twycross
When they bought in stock to boost cow numbers, the Beaumonts got more than they’d bargained for – the introduction of Johne’s to the herd.
Although Johne’s disease is by no means a big problem in Martin and Carol Beaumont’s Holstein herd, by being proactive, they aim to make sure it never becomes a bigger issue. “We started to notice a higher proportion of bought in cattle were leaving the farm as culls so we started looking for reasons for this and found that it quite often it surprised us as it was the big, fit cows that tested positive” says Mr Beaumont.
“We discovered that although the herd was low risk, or green, for some diseases, it was scoring red for Johne’s, says Mr. Orpin.
Mr Beaumont stopped buying in cattle three years ago and says he would now only buy from herds that test for Johne’s, as well as for other diseases, including BVD.
Disease Control Drives On-Farm Performance and Stores Price
David Monkhouse, Loq Housop, Bishop Auckland
By taking a more preventive approach to livestock diseases, David Monkhouse says he has reduced his annual vet bill and lost fewer animals at Low Houslop, Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham. He credits his vet Debbie Brown, of Castle vets in Barnard Castle, with raising his awareness of the risk of transmissible diseases – particularly BVD in his suckler herd – and for making him aware of how useful Myhealthyherd can be in the battle against disease.
Mr Monkhouse says the web based health scheme for which he signed up in December 2008, has proved a useful tool for managing the threat of contagious livestock diseases. “After feed costs, the annual vet bill is one of the most expensive inputs on the farm” he says. “A preventive approach makes sense, because healthier livestock perform better and keep vet bills down to a minimum. As well as being better for wekfare, it improves my job satisfaction.”
Reaping Fertility Benefit of Tackling BVD Head-On
Jeremy Harland, Old Lodge Farm, Barnard Castle
Eradicating BVD in Jeremy Harland’s 70 cow dairy herd has tightened up calving to conception intervals and helped cut overall fertility losses by 0.47ppl. While even further savings from better health and fertility are likely, eliminating this virus has definitely left a lasting change in Mr. Harland’s approach to herd health and biosecurity.
To help establish the best strategy, Mrs Brown used a program which assessed the farm’s biosecurity strengths and weaknesses using a simple traffic light system – Mr Harland’s changes turned an initial red score into a mix of amber and green.
Calving to conception interval is now back down to 96 days from 140, and there are fewer cases of scour and pneumonia in calves.