2014-09-10   facebook twitter rss

Innovative Dairy Product Wins Award for Boost to Cow Health

A temperature-monitoring bolus which spots signs of illness in dairy cattle up to two days before any physical signs appear has won a major award for agricultural innovation.

The BellaAg Bolus, which is sold in the UK exclusively by Wynnstay Group, constantly measures the core body temperature of dairy cows and heifers, alerting farmers to any changes which can be early indications of illness.

Dr Huw McConochie

Dr Huw McConochie

By enabling farmers to act quickly, the bolus helps producers intervene at an early stage of disease, potentially reducing the need for antibiotics.

The bolus's potential for improving agriculture was recognised by judges at the Royal Welsh Show, who presented Wynnstay with the Royal Welsh Award of Merit (Machinery and Tradestands).

The annual award is presented to an exhibitor at the show's Tomorrow Today exhibition, which showcases innovations in agriculture.

Accepting the award, Wynnstay senior dairy specialist Huw McConochie, said the technology, which is new to the UK, could have significant implications for the dairy sector.

"The response from farmers at the show has shown that the dairy industry is very receptive to new technology which has significant potential benefits for safeguarding animal health," he added.

Rob Davies of Allen & Partners Veterinary Services in Whitland, Camarthenshire, said his experience with the Bell Ag bolus has shown it helped identify and treat sick cows more quickly and effectively.

"We have a farmer who has used the Bell Ag temperature boluses for several years and they have helped him find sick cows in the very early stages of disease, sometimes even before other symptoms have become apparent," said Mr Davies.

"Identifying illness quickly ensures the cows better-respond to treatment, meaning less treatment is often required and there are fewer deaths due to infection and toxaemic conditions."

In future, taking consistent and regular readings with the boluses will help identify temperature patterns which can be used to diagnose different conditions, Mr Davies added.

"As we continue to use the most current boluses we are beginning to see recurring temperature patterns associated with different activities such as eating and drinking," he says.

"Different ailments show different patterns too, so in future as we learn to interpret these patterns I believe we will be able use them to detect when a cow is bulling.

"We can also use those patterns to diagnose various conditions and target our treatment better too, especially before any symptoms are seen."


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