Milk recording organisation CIS has launched a quarterly disease testing service for Johne’s disease, IBR and BVD. The three tests are an add-on to the regular milk recording service and are considered to be a vitally important part of modern herd management.
The tests are carried out on regular milk samples – so keeping costs to the bare minimum - and results are displayed graphically through the award-winning ‘Your Herd’ web interface. Colour coding highlights individual animals’ health status, and drilling through the interactive documents reveals disease trends for individuals as well as the herd.
Although results will be available on paper for those who prefer, most of the company’s users will receive their results via the internet, in order to make use of the interactivity and ease-of-use of this software, which won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2008.
“These tests are vitally important to the modern dairy farmer as they not only impact on animal welfare and bottom line profits, but they are increasingly insisted upon by the milk buyers,” says Sue Cope, from the CIS. “We have also surveyed our customers and found that 98 per cent of them agree, and have expressed their intention to start health testing on an individual cow basis.”
Vet, Bruce Richards from the Paragon Group in Cumbria concurs and says: “This is a very cheap and convenient way forward. The former practice of having to blood sample a whole herd of cows put most people off. But this will stimulate farmers to take an interest in the diseases in their herds and it gives us the opportunity as vets to put in place a plan of action and monitoring.
“Johne’s, IBR and BVD are all major infectious diseases in different ways which we find are often subclinical and not obvious to see.
“In the case of Johne’s, if we can identify the positive mothers so they don’t infect their daughters and other newborns, this will become key to the disease’s control.
“Similarly, BVD could be an underlying cause of calf scours, infertility and respiratory conditions, while poor fertility and foetal absorption may be being influenced by IBR.
“Most people will have at least IBR and BVD in their herds but these tests will indicate whether they are at a level that needs to be controlled.”
The price for all three tests varies with herd size from 50 to 70p/cow/month on a 12 month contract.
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