Vets highlight benefits of risk assessments

Only 25% of sheep farmers are meeting their lamb survival targets, according to a study of 100 sheep farmers in Co Galway.

These figures were revealed at the The Cattle Association of Veterinary Ireland (CAVI) annual conference in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, as part of the association’s promotion of the benefits of the knowledge transfer programme.

CAVI chair Conor Geraghty, of Geraghty and Neary vets in Galway, discussed the survey findings. He said risk assessment data is becoming a valuable resource for the individual farmers to improve output.

“Results from year one risk assessment data demonstrate that not all farmers are achieving targets related to health, disease, mortality, or welfare, but that specific issues are now being identified through the knowledge transfer initiative, which are helping farmers to develop solutions and improve practices,” Mr Geraghty told the 150 farm vets at the conference.

Dairy farmer Dick O’Neill described how he now considers veterinary spend as an investment in health, rather than paying for disease management.

Mr O’Neill, who milks 260 cows at Warren Farm in East Cork as part of a milk production partnership, also demonstrated how a proactive herd health management approach developed with his vet has paid dividends on his farm over the last decade.

Meanwhile, Irish livestock vets delivered a number of presentations with a focus on mastitis and selective dry cow therapy, including Conor Beirne (Mountbellew, Co Galway), Willie Buckley (Bandon, Co Cork), Tommy Heffernan (Co Wicklow) and John Berkery (Newport, Co Tipperary).

Presentations included case studies on dairy herds with high SCC and demonstrated how farmers can be helped by their vet to come back to target levels.

Conor Beirne practices in Mountbellew while continuing to work on dairy projects in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. He quoted the example of Almarai in Saudi Arabia, which owns a herd of 90,000 Holstein dairy cows across six super farms.


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