2013-07-15   facebook twitter rss
Vet Opts for Peace of Mind with Schmallenberg

Vet Richard Hood manages to combine part time farming with working in a busy mixed practice by managing, with meticulous attention to detail, stabiliser suckler cows, Mule ewes and Friesian calves to beef.

One of nine vets in the long established and growing Grove Veterinary Centre in Ballymena, Richard joined the practice five years ago after graduating from Glasgow University.

Vet Richard Hood and fellow vet Mairéad O’Grady of MSD Animal Health with ewes being vaccinated against Schmallenberg Disease on his Ballymena farm

Vet Richard Hood and fellow vet Mairéad O’Grady of MSD Animal Health with ewes being vaccinated against Schmallenberg Disease on his Ballymena farm

“At home we run March lambing mule ewes put to Texel tups with all lambs finished and sold through George Robson of Doagh, “Richard explained.

“Lambing later as the days and the swards lengthen makes life a lot simpler at a busy time in the veterinary calendar. Naturally flock health has a high priority and this year an extra vaccination has just been completed, a single 2ml injection of Bovilis SBV, the only vaccine available against Schmallenberg virus infection.

“Schmallenberg infection is a risk I simply cannot take with the 2014 lamb crop as the problem has been massive on farms across the water and in counties south of the border. The disease was first confirmed in Northern Ireland last October and recent AFBI blood test results indicate that disease has already spread throughout Northern Ireland. The threat of losses at lambing next spring is significant.”

Having seen Stabiliser cattle on farms across the water and at a neighbour’s Richard founded a small suckler herd.

“As a vet I see a lot of disasters around calving time so the easy calving and docile temperament of the Stabiliser cow saves a lot of time and effort. Easily fleshed and easily got back into calf, these cattle are bred to do the job with minimal hassle and are ideal for part time farmers.

“An added advantage is that, being polled, calves are tagged at birth and left to get on with the business of growing fast.

“However cows are getting an extra vaccination against Schmallenberg infection this year to prevent dead or live deformed calves early in 2014.

“Cattle require two injections of 2ml Bovilis SBV intramuscularly four weeks apart before cows are put to the bull or artificially inseminated. A small price to pay for peace of mind that profits won’t be decimated,” affirmed Richard.

“That has been my decision, but farm businesses differ so I would urge those with ewes, beef or dairy cows to discuss the issue soon with their own vet as vaccination should take place before breeding.”

MSD Animal Health

   
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