Page 1

**DF Apr Cover_Layout 1 20/03/2013 17:17 Page 1


They’ll tell you when you’ve got it right

Pages 38-42 Volume 60 Issue 4

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NOAH chief on future of antimicrobials

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April 2013

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Taking a different approach in practice VET’S VIEW Pages 24-25


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**DF Apr p1 Leader_Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:40 Page 1


a word from the


here was good news and bad news at this year’s NFU conference. The ongoing horsegate scandal brought a contrite Mr Tesco to the platform to tell producers they had now seen the error of their ways and promised reform. What the whole saga shows is despite all the big retailers’ comforting assurances for total trust they count for nought, and just how it was no-one knew what was going on beggars belief. However, despite all this Tesco CEO’s promise to shorten the supply chain and use more home production must be welcomed and can only go to sharpen interest in British food. But that consumer desire for home produce will have little fulfilment if they cannot clearly distinguish it on the shelves. Take a recent Asda pork loin label which reads: Origin UK. Produced in UK, pork from EU, packed in UK. Such gobbledegook all goes to give more power to the FFA to get behind the labelling issue and expose those



with misleading signage for their own obfuscatory reasons. Which brings us to the bad news of the conference and Peter Kendall’s spat with Defra Secretary Owen Paterson to get a fair deal for UK farmers in the CAP reform round. With supermarkets falling over themselves with full-page adverts proclaiming their Damascene conversion to source British, the weak pound giving us an unexpected export bonus and the country desperately wanting some domestic wealth creation, you just might think British agriculture had a role to play. Such opportunities don’t come along every day and we must seize them with both hands without being hobbled by any discriminatory CAP handicap!

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Origination by Farmers Guardian, Briefing Media Ltd, Unit 4, Fulwood Business Park, Caxton Road, Preston, Lancashire PR2 9NZ. Printed by Headley Brothers, Invicta Press, Queen’s Road, Ashford, Kent TN24 8HH. No responsibility can be accepted by Dairy Farmer for the opinions expressed by contributors.

APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p2 3 Contents_Layout 1 22/03/2013 08:53 Page 1


CONTENTS april Volume 60 Issue 4

Animal health

Special feature

30-44 Comment

4-6 8-9 16-17 58-59

Latest news Cowmen Comment Potter’s View Good Evans

Latest on tackling BVD, ketosis and forage mineral imbalances

Regulars 24-25 48-50 54 60

Vet’s View Milk Prices Workshop tips Finance


Dairy marketplace New products

The new four-cylinder tractor from McCormick, latest white clover variety, plus an online version of an agricultural costings book



APRIL 2013

**DF Apr p2 3 Contents_Layout 1 22/03/2013 08:53 Page 2


Robotic future


On farm feature

New cubicle housing and the latest robotic equipment is setting up one dairy farm for the next generation



NOAH chief executive Phil Sketchley talks about the implications of the ban on advertising antimicrobials



Vet’s view

Pushing the boundaries to improve client offering

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APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p4 5 6 News_Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:00 Page 1


First Milk share benefits

JFirst Milk has announced it is allocating new preference shares to its members, plus a return on investment which, it says, is in total, worth nearly £9000 to a 1m litre member. The new shares relate to the sale of First Milk’s shareholding in Wiseman to Muller last year, and have been allocated to members based on the amount of capital already contributed to the business, with the allocation worth around £8000 to the average 1m litre member. It is also paying out a 3% return on capital invested in First Milk – equivalent to £900 for a 1m litre producer.

Win a calf coat

rYou could win one of our 10 thermal calf coats (worth more than £100 each) in our 2013 National Pneumonia Survey. This year MSD Animal Health – manufacturer of the long-acting pneumonia antibiotic Zuprevo – is focusing on pneumonia treatment practices. Please spare a few moments to take part – see the insert in this issue of Dairy Farmer or visit ia2013



Coalition warns of need for fair deal from CAP he largest ever coalition of British farming organisations has warned the Government’s CAP policy will damage English farming and domestic food production if it treats English farmers unfairly through the new CAP. The coalition, launched by the NFU, CLA and TFA, has 24 members ‘united in their call for a fair deal for English farmers’. It highlights two threats – more costly and demanding forms of ‘greening’ than will be required from farmers in the rest of Europe, and increased rates of voluntary modulation which will move money from direct payments for farmers to rural development schemes.

English farmers already receive payments lower than their major European competitors, and the coalition is worried that English farmers will be further disadvantaged by the way Defra may choose to implement the CAP in England. Disagreement NFU president Peter Kendall and Defra Secretary Owen Paterson had a major disagreement at the NFU conference on the subject. Now the NFU has written to MPs in England laying out the concerns of the coalition. “CAP reform has never been about the money for us,” said Mr Kendall in the letter. “It’s about fairness and making sure English farmers are not disadvantaged by our own Government.

“It seems to me at a time when consumers are looking to buy more traceable British food, and retailers are looking to farmers here to supply that demand, we also need a Government at home that will support our farming industry. “David Cameron said at our conference in 2008 that: ‘We need to create a level playing field with foreign competitors when it comes to regulation. Our Government often imposes far more onerous standards on British agriculture than exist elsewhere in the EU. These can have perverse consequences. Instead of driving standards up, they just drive farmers out of business’. “What we need is for this Government to deliver on that,” he said.

JTo give producers a fair return and encourage domestic milk production, the dairy coalition this week called for an urgent price increase from April 1. They told milk buyers, processors and retailers they must ‘commit’ to British

farmers and deliver better market returns. This follows the recent Fonterra auction which saw key dairy commodities rise by 14.8% on the previous month, thought to be as a result of tightening supplies following the harsh

New Zealand drought. NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond said: “Yet we’re still hearing that crippling deals being done in the domestic cheese and liquid markets are putting milk prices under pressure.”


Dairy coalition calls for urgent price increase

APRIL 2013

**DF Apr p4 5 6 News_Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:02 Page 2

AFMP on the march


JArla amba and AFMP are in discussions to allow AFMP members to become owners of Arla too. Some 1600 Arla-Milk Link farmers with 1.2bn litres of milk are already ‘owners’, while 1300 Arla Foods Milk Partnership members with 1.5bn litres are not. Currently AFMP members own 3.15% of Arla Foods UK through the JV investment known as MPL. Chairman of Arla Foods Åke Hantoft said: “The work we are now embarking on confirms both parties share the ultimate objective that, in the future, we will be able to offer full ownership to the AFMP members who want it.” Work begins this month with Arla and MPL, AFMP members’ investment business, which has a joint venture company which currently owns a 6.3 per cent stake in Arla UK.

FFA carries on fight for country of origin labels

JFarmers for Action is on the warpath over imports which are being labelled as coming from the UK when they are only packed here, and is calling for all retailers to clearly show the country of origin on all cheese. It said: “The cheese market at the moment is in complete disarray. Cheese is being sucked in from all over the world and the consumer has no knowledge of its origin or its production methods, and for that reason it is imperative that country of origin is clearly shown on all these products. “A large amount of cheese that is coming in to

Farm open day

the UK currently being sold under supermarket own brand is not matching the standards required by British dairy farmers but yet is being used as a tool to drive down British milk prices. Urgency “This has to change and if retailers mean what they say, following the latest food scandal, they should address this with utmost urgency. “If FFA do not see a change in this procedure by the end of March, we may well have to visit retailers to convince them otherwise,” it warned.

rDairy Farmer readers are invited to attend an open day at Tim Gibson’s Hunters Hill Farm, Bedale, North Yorkshire, on Wednesday, April 10, 10.00am to 4.00pm. Tim has kindly agreed to host the day when visitors will have the opportunity to inspect his herd, see the three robots in action, and view the recently installed automatic feeding system. In addition, guest speakers Ian Potter and David Handley will take the microphone at 1.30pm to give you their thoughts on the current state of the UK milk industry. A free packed lunch will be provided for those who pre-register by calling 01677 424 284. Otherwise attendees will be asked to register on arrival at the farm. We look forward to meeting you on the day.

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APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p4 5 6 News_Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:02 Page 3

NEWS News in brief

First Milk recruits

JFirst Milk has announced it is recruiting for new farmer directors because three will be stepping down in October – Tom Campbell, Hugh Parker and Mark James. Any member can put themselves forward for selection, or they can nominate another member. The deadline for nominations is April 30.

Milk decline

JUK milk volumes in February were 976m litres, which were 4.2% lower than last year. Cumulatively we have now produced 11,860.2m litres, which is 435.5m litres and 3.5% lower than last year.

TB cull mounts

JSome 38,000 cows were slaughtered because of TB in Great Britain last year, with 28,284 culled in England alone – an increase of 10%. The results bring the total number of cows slaughtered because of the disease to 105,078 since 2010, and 79,365 in England since that year. The NFU said: “The new figures come despite increased cattle controls, additional pre-movement testing and stricter on-farm biosecurity measures which were introduced in July last year.”



NZ drought tightens world dairy markets JDairy markets are rocketing owing to a devastating drought in New Zealand. All of the North Island has been declared an official drought zone by the Government and conditions are so severe some farmers will have to quit their land. Milk production is down significantly, by 10-20%, and this was undoubtedly the major driver in the first March 5, GDT auction results where the index was up a massive 10.4%. That was the biggest jump in the index since June 2012, when it moved 13%. WMP was the most im-

pressive riser – up 17.62% and $644 to $4298. To put this in perspective, it was the second biggest WMP price jump on record (the biggest being a $688 rise in April 2010), it crossed the $4000 threshold for the first time since March 2011, and it was only the fifth time since the auction began that the price surpassed that threshold. SMP prices SMP prices were the highest since June 2010, and were up 18% on this time last year. Then, at March 19, things got even better. The overall

index increased by 14.8%, with WMP up 21% to $5116, the first time it has ever crossed the $5000 threshold. SMP was up 7.7% to $4050, the highest since June 2011 when the price was $4327. Cheddar rose 13.7% to $4315 – the joint highest price, and the new butter index was up 11.5% to $4550. In the UK buyers had been delaying purchasing decisions in the hope of lower prices, but now sellers are currently not wanting to tender prices for quarter two in case prices increase more than they are doing.

JDairy Crest and its supply group Dairy Crest Direct have launched their ‘transparent’ pricing formula details for farmers on a liquid contract. The mechanism is a cross between a Market Related and Cost of Production contract, with the price based on a formula determined through the bulk cream price, the retail price of four pints of milk, plus the cost of feed, fuel and fertiliser. Dairy Farmer’s milk price analyst Steven Bradley has devised the formula, which

delivers a price which is remarkably similar, over time, to Dairy Crest’s standard liquid price. Over the last three years farmers would have been better off with the formula price compared to the standard litre. In 2010, the formula would have delivered a price of 25.72ppl compared to 24.4 (a difference of +1.32); in 2011 it would have produced a price of 28.48 compared to 26.78 (+1.7ppl); in 2012 an almost identical price of 27.78 (+0.01ppl). Prior to this, though,

between the winter of 2007 and October 2009, the standard price would have been better. Such a formula relies on Dairy Crest’s customers underwriting it, and it admits it has not got buy in from customers just yet, and because of that only 100m litres was being offered in the 2013/14 milk year. The contract starts in April, with the launch price being set by the formula at 29.95ppl – 0.1ppl above the standard Dairy Crest liquid non-aligned price.

DC discloses its price formula details

APRIL 2013

MSD Bovillis IBR WP DF_MSD Bovillis IBR WP DF 20/03/2013 17:53 Page 1

DON’T BE INACTIVE ABOUT IBR Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis is an issue you can’t afford to ignore, with 70% of dairy farms1 and 40% of beef farms2 testing positive for IBR. Research has shown that an infected dairy cow produces 173 litres less milk per year,3 and it takes an extra 4 weeks on average to finish infected beef cattle.4

Marker Live vaccines are the best option for whole herd vaccination, as they have been shown to reduce the risk of an IBR outbreak better than inactivated vaccines and no vaccination.5 For more information, talk to your vet today about Bovilis IBR Marker Live.

The most recommended IBR vaccine in the UK References 1. MSD AH DairyCheck data 2011. 2. MSD AH BeefCheck data 2010. 3. Dr Beer, International IBR Symposium, quoted 179kg – equivalent to 173 litres. 4. University of Reading, Department of Agricultural and food economics – The Economics of Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis, September 2003. www.apd.reading. 5. Based on calculations of A. de Koeijer and M.C.M. de Jong (ID-Lelystad), Tijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde, nr 21, 2000, pp. 656-658, and tables published by Dutch Animal Health Service (2000). Use medicines responsibly. For more information visit Bovilis IBR Marker Live is only available via your or veterinary surgeon from whom advice should be sought. Bovilis IBR Marker Live contains BHV-1 strain GK/D. Legal category: POM-V . Bovilis IBR Marker Live is the property of Intervet International B.V. or affiliated companies or licensors and is protected by copyrights, trademark and other intellectual property laws. Copyright © 2012 Intervet International B.V. All rights reserved. Further information is available from: MSD Animal Health, Walton Manor, Walton, Milton Keynes MK7 7AJ Tel: 01908 685 685

**DF Apr p8 9 Cowmen Cameron _Layout 1 22/03/2013 08:32 Page 1


JOHN Cameron

John Cameron is farm manager of Wood Park Farm on the Wirral, part of the University of Liverpool Vet School, and is currently involved with animal husbandry trials in association with Tesco.

Milk yield has been distinctly average this winter, and although the forage looks okay, there is something missing, possibly energy



uite a few people have asked how Norma got on with her pregnancy diagnosis (PD) after I had mentioned her nocturnal habits the last time I wrote. Paradoxically, we all breathed a sigh of relief when she was confirmed pregnant, although she is far from our best cow with her being slow milking and not very friendly in the parlour. The trouble is we would miss her irascible nature if she had to go as we have become somewhat attached to her wayward character. We have just had our first full three weeks without rain since this time last year and the ground has dried up nicely allowing us to get on the land with slurry and fertiliser to kick start things. I suspect the rain has washed many of the nutrients out and the winter wheat in particular was looking a sad sight so it has had a nitrogen boost. Where we couldn’t get the winter wheat in, we have resorted to sowing spring barley, like many others I expect. Milk yield has been distinctly average this winter, and although the forage looks okay, there is something missing, possibly energy. However, since November, conception rates have been running at 60% and above, which is fantastic for us as normally 40% would be considered okay.


APRIL 2013

We haven’t changed anything in terms of getting cows served, still having a 50-day voluntary waiting period. There is a lot of bulling activity and PD sessions are much less nail biting than usual. Have the cows adjusted to not producing as much milk and so are being more fertile? Although milk production has been poor, we are consoling ourselves by thinking all the cows which are due to calve come July onwards will be doing so. Dermatitis trials Having carried out a few trials now to control digital dermatitis, we wondered how important it was to have clean feet before any treatment. So back in January we thought we would test out this theory and had a novel footwash system fitted in the parlour. This consists of a series of jets along the length of the parlour about 25mm (1in) off the ground, which when activated washed just where digital dermatitis lives on the foot (there is a spray nozzle for each foot). Once a line of cows is in the parlour, shutting the back gate activates a two-minute wash. Since the cows got used to it they have been fine as they now barely notice it. But before we started the jetting trial, every cows’ back feet were picked up in the crush, washed, scored for digital

**DF Apr p8 9 Cowmen Cameron _Layout 1 22/03/2013 08:32 Page 2


Jet washers fitted to the parlour floor for the Wood Park herd are used in a trial to ascertain the importance of having clean feet before foot bathing for digital dermatitis.

Farm facts rFarm size: 200 acres (80ha) plus 100 acres (40ha) rented rHerd size: Closed herd of 185 cows, all replacements bred and reared on-farm rYield: 11,100 litres/cow.

dermatitis and photographed (with the help of our students). This gave us the base line. Then for the next three months all the high yielders’ feet were jet washed three times every day as they went through the parlour while the lows were not. Then all were put through a footbath three timesa-week (twice with formalin, once with copper sulphate). We repeated the crush inspection process last week and now have ‘before and after’ data for analysis to see if washing feet does have any effect on the level of digital dermatitis. I will keep you posted on what we find. One development may be to have a product put through the jets with the water to treat the cows, rather than

putting them through a footbath which only gets dirtier as more go through. We finished milking last Sunday morning and heard a clunking in our relatively new bulk tank which sounded expensive! Upon closer inspection, I could not believe the paddles are fixed to the motor in the same manner as in the old Dairykool square tanks, with a grubscrew type bolt which had unscrewed itself. This had allowed the paddle to drop and, unfortunately, still turn on the bottom of the tank. It was a good job the dairy transport people were able to come out and pick up the milk straight away. Guess what has been added to the list of things to check each month!

APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p10 11 MilkWatch Signed off_Layout 1 20/03/2013 17:28 Page 1


milk watch with Boehringer Ingelheim urnout comes early for busy Milk Watch farmer James Willcocks at Tregleath Farm, Bodmin, where autumn calvers have been out at grass since February 18. “It was a week or so earlier than usual,” he says, “but we’ve had steady grass growth through the winter and it’s been of a surprisingly good quality.” An early season analysis showed protein levels to be over 30% in February which allowed intakes of the herd’s winter ration


This month our Milk Watch farmers are dealing with turnout, calving and face important deliberations on sand bedding options.

Turnout comes early and calvings are going to plan

to be cut accordingly. “The cows are only out for four hours a day in the first instance and they’re going on to covers averaging 2250kg dry matter per hectare,” he says. “Around 150 head are on one hectare during that period and they’ll graze it down to 1400-1600kg DM/ha in that time.” The total mixed ration is cut by around 5 per cent in the first instance and will go down further as the grazing season progresses. “We don’t over-analyse

the situation,” says James, “but will simply give them a bit more if they’re clearing it up too quickly or cut it back further if it isn’t finished.” Meanwhile, the herd’s remaining 150 heifers and cows are in the thick of calving, having started in February and soon due to reach completion in this spring calving period. “We had 18 stress-free calvings last Saturday night,” says James, “and of the 46 calvings in total we have so far had 33 heifers.” Extremely satisfied with

this male to female ratio, he says it includes heifer twins for the first time in around five years. “Far better to have twin heifers than one of each but having twins at all really takes it out of the cow,” he says. The twins themselves are all doing very well and the herd too has so far been devoid of any problems. “There’s been no evidence of Schmallenberg which is a great relief and no milk fever either, which is something we rarely experience

Drainage problems persist and calving box b he signs of a wet winter are still in evidence around Myerscough College, Bilsborrow, Lancashire, where Milk Watch farmer Roger Leach is still struggling to drain water away from some of Lodge Farm’s lowest lying land. “It’s our ‘moss fields’ that are the problem,” he explains, “as they’re high in organic matter and act like a sponge, and parts of them have been flooded since before Christmas.” Having dug a ditch to the




nearby dyke, he says: “The field is going to be the car park for our lambing weekend, so it’s exercising my mind at the moment.” Also on his mind is a lameness problem which has flared up for a second time in the dairy herd and swift action has been taken to nip it in the bud. “Our lameness rate has increased from the usual 12% to 18%, which to me is critical,” he says. “This represents a 50% jump which has occurred over the space of 10 days, and if we get an-

APRIL 2013

Roger Leach is considering changing calving box bedding to sand.

other similar increase then before we know it half of our cows will be lame.” Attributing the problem to ‘scald’ rather than digital dermatitis as such, he says it

is already showing improvement since measures have been taken. “We’ve increased the foot trimmer’s visits from every month to every week, and

**DF Apr p10 11 MilkWatch Signed off_Layout 1 20/03/2013 17:28 Page 2

SPONSORED SERIES A word from the vet - milk fever rMILK fever is one of the

most common issues affecting

dairy cows, and a recent study1

indicated that 5% of 2105 calvings were clinically affected by the condition.

The study shows cows that

suffered from clinical milk fever were four times more likely to

be culled in the 100 days after

Edward Hayes is a dairy vet at Synergy Farm Health.


in the days around calving vary

much worse fertility than cows

When attempting to minimise

calving than those which did James Willcocks was pleased with early turnout in mid-February.

now we’ve sorted out our transition ration,” he says. With only two or three clinical cases seen in last autumn’s 150 calvings he attributes this to the ration in the three week run-up to calving which includes round bale silage, whole crop wheat and triticale, second cut grass and maize

silage, plus 150g/head of dry cow minerals and 150g/head of magnesium chloride. “We feel it’s important the magnesium chloride goes in the feed and not in the water where we find it creates a bitter taste and limits the quantities drunk,” says James.

bedding under review we’re foot-bathing every day rather than every other day,” he says. A switch has been made to two different footbath products, used on alternate days, with formalin used to harden hooves followed by zinc the next day for its antimicrobial and healing properties. With cases closely monitored, he is hopeful the herd is on track for a good recovery. Another area of cow health is being addressed through bedding, with

changes being made in the calving boxes. “The theory is we like the cow to have some purchase when she gets up so we’ve always kept these boxes bedded on deep straw,” he says. “But we know straw isn’t ideal as it harbours bacteria, and since its cost is now escalating, we are considering sand.” Reluctant to let go of the comfort straw gives, he says he is contemplating a sand base with a covering of straw, as recommended by his vet.

A cow’s blood calcium levels

according to numerous factors.

These affected cows had

which did not suffer from milk

fever, with calving to pregnancy interval extended by 13 days.

the impact of clinical and subclinical milk fever, attempts to reduce the number of cases

through alterations to transition

More dramatically, cows af-

fected by milk fever were only

half as likely to get in calf within 100 days of calving, with an

cow management are likely to have the biggest impact.

18% lower 100-day in-calf rate.

They were also only half as likely


to be in calf by 200 days after

calving (15% lower 200-day in-

injected under the skin ‘just in

case’ in many cows can appear

calf rate) than unaffected cows.

The use of bottles of calcium,

effective, but in others may do

more harm than good by reducing the cow’s ability to mobilise


Cows which need treating are

her own calcium4.

usually not the only cows with

The use of oral calcium sup-

low calcium. Up to a third of

plements, such as Bovikalc®,

normal will have low blood cal-

ducing the likelihood of individ-

cows that appear clinically

cium levels at calving and have subclinical milk fever2.

This may have much more

may have a role to play in re-

ual older cows going down, and as part of a preventative herd-

based approach for the control

significant effects on subse-

of milk fever.

quent performance and the likelihood of other health issues.

Affected cows are at a signifi-

References: 1.Hayes et al (2012) Vet Rec doi: 10.1136; 2.Mulligan et al (2006) Irish Vet J. 59(12) 697-702; 3.Melendez et al (2004) Am J of Vet Res 65:1071-7076; 4.Goff (1999) Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract. 15(3):619-39.

cantly higher risk of retained

cleansings, a common problem on many farms3.

An educational service from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, makers of Bovikalc®. Advice on the use of Bovikalc or other products should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Bovikalc contains calcium chloride and calcium sulphate. Further information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Email: This is not a veterinary medicine which is subject to authorisation by the Irish Medicines Board. Date of preparation: Mar 2013. AHD 7525.

APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p12 13 14 On Farm_Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:05 Page 1

ON FARM Building a new cubicle house and installing the latest milking equipment at Holly House Farm, near Lancaster, has enabled Derek and Eileen Fox to prepare for the next generation.

Robots move in to slash time spent on daily task ith grandson Daniel keen to join the farm, the Fox family real-ised they would have to modernise to keep the dairy enterprise viable. “We had a simple choice,” says Derek. “We could either invest in new milking and housing facilities or retire from milk production altogether. “It was obvious from an early age Daniel wanted to make a career in dairying, so really that in itself made the decision for us.” Derek and Eileen Fox farm with their son, Neil, and daughter-in-law Tracey at Bay Horse in Lancashire, where they run 260 pedigree Holstein-Friesians with 140 in milk. With Neil and Tracey’s son Daniel, keen to join the family business when he


Derek, Eileen, Tracey and Neil Fox with farm apprentice Jodie Swan in front of one of the farm’s three robotic milking machines.

leaves school later this year, they have committed themselves to a new 108cubicle cow shed and installed three robotic milking machines to replace their long-serving 12-point herringbone parlour. The six-aside parlour, which was installed in 1968, had received various upgrades throughout its 44 year lifespan, but milking was still a protracted affair. “Everything in the old

parlour still worked as it should, but it took far too long to milk the cows.

Milking times “On twice-a-day milking, we were in the parlour for almost six hours a day, which meant we were restricted to a maximum of 130 cows,” says Neil. Having decided to expand and modernise, a new cubicle shed with housing for 108 cows


was erected in 2011. “We were originally going to replace the old parlour with a 24:24 herringbone, which would be located in one of the old cubicle houses,” says Derek. “But we soon realised a parlour of that size would take up too much room and reduce space for cubicles. “So we started to think about installing robots, which could easily be located between the old and new sheds, allowing better use of the space available.” Initially thoughts were on buying secondhand robots, but the family decided they wanted the latest machines. “By the time we would have had them transported to Holly House, we’d almost have been better off buying brand new.” Derek says: “When you’re investing in something that will hopefully see Neil and Daniel through the best part

Dairy Farmer readers are invited to an open day at Tim Gibson’s Hunters Hill Farm, Bedale, North Yorkshire, on April 10, 10.00am-4.00pm. Guest speakers Ian Potter and David Handley. For full details, see p5.



APRIL 2013

**DF Apr p12 13 14 On Farm_Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:06 Page 2


A new cubicle shed with housing for 108 cows was erected in 2011.

of their careers, it’s important to know the machines are still going to be up-to-date in 15 or 20 years time.” Derek and Neil spent the next six months considering their options and visiting other farms with set-ups similar to the one they envisaged. The family was

also keen to limit its reliance on outside labour. Labour “We’ve always been a family farm and have never really employed anyone,” says Eileen. “It can be difficult to find good, reliable people who will consistently milk the

Cows have been trained to use all three Fullwood Merlin robots.

cows with the same attention to details as ourselves.” Eventually they settled on three Fullwood Merlin robots, which were installed in January 2012, and the cows quickly become accustomed to the new set-up. “Once the building work had been completed, it only

Farm facts

r120ha (300 acres) all put to grass for grazing and silage rFirst cut silage: 72ha (180 acres) rSecond cut silage: 60ha (150 acres) rThird cut silage: 45ha (110 acres).

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**DF Apr p12 13 14 On Farm_Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:06 Page 3

ON FARM took two weeks to install all three machines,” says Neil. “They were simply lowered into position, plumbed in and were ready to go. “Within a few weeks the high yielders were being milked up to five times a day, with the whole herd averaging just over three.” As a direct result, milk yields at Holly House have increased from 8300 litres per cow to more than 9000. “Yields are still climbing despite last year’s silage being less than brilliant,” says Derek. “We’ve hardly changed the cows’ diet, so the robots have made our lives easier and improved the herd’s profitability.” The Fox family feed a simple ration based predominantly on grass silage, which has brewers’ grains mixed in at 5-10% as the clamp is being filled. Recently, an additional 100kg of straw has also been added to bulk out the silage and increase dry matter intake. Cows also receive an 18% protein concentrate through the robots. (See daily

Cows now feed at a barrier, with concentrates through the robots.

ration panel). Derek puts yield improvements down to a more natural routine for the herd.

Herd data “The cows are more content and there is less bullying,” he says. “Being able to enter the robots when they want is more natural than waiting in a collecting yard. “Data from the robots shows as soon as a cow has 12 to 15 litres in her udder, she’ll go to be milked. With three robots available, and all cows trained to go through each of the machines, there’s little queuing.” Since the refit, incidences of acidosis have also been reduced. “Before we built

An additional 100kg of straw has been added to bulk out the silage.



APRIL 2013

the new shed, the cows were self-feeding at the silage face. Now they’re feeding at a new barrier, with concentrates being fed through the robots and, as a result, we haven’t had a single case of acidosis.” Derek and Neil have also been impressed by the level of information they now have on each cow’s individual performance. “Before we installed the robots, all cow records were handwritten in a little notebook,” says Derek. “But now everything is automatically stored on a central computer system which all three robots talk to.” Moving across to a fully computerised system has also changed the way cows are managed. “We can now treat each cow as an individual, instead of lumping cows together in groups,” says Neil. “The robots have in-line conductivity meters so we can see in an instant if any cows are showing signs of mastitis, and each cow’s concentrate ration is automatically adjusted

according to her milk output. It all adds up to make life easier and less stressful for ourselves and the cows.” Looking ahead, Neil has set his sights on milking 60 cows through each robot in due course. “We’re still 12 months away from that goal,” he says, “but we’re on target. We’ve been a closed herd for 50 years and don’t want to change that, so we’re happy to build the herd slowly as we bring in our own replacements. “We’ve got 35 heifers coming into the herd in the spring, and by the time we’re up to full strength Daniel will be able to enjoy the benefits of dairy farming without being tied to the parlour at both ends of the day,” he says.

Daily ration rGrass silage and brewers’ grains: 5.5 tonnes per day (equivalent to 39kg/cow/day) rBlended meal (18% protein): 200kg per day (wheat, soya, sugar beet pulp, molasses, calcium carbonate and trace minerals) rConcentrates (18% protein): fed to yield at 0.35kg/litre, with the highest yielders (60+ litres) receiving a maximum of 21kg/day.

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**DF Apr p16 17 Potter _Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:08 Page 1



This month, Ian Potter tells us how he sees cost of production formulae coming under pressure and looks at better labelling to tell us where our cheese actually comes from.

I am worried that what happened to our liquid market in 2012 is now happening to our cheese market with margins cut wafer thin



esco have, as we go to print, announced that their cost of production (COP) formula will see a 1.19ppl increase for the six months commencing April 1. This will result in a TSDG contracted producer who submits costings to Promar receiving a standard litre price of 32.77ppl. That is the good news. Now for the bad as I see it – this is highly likely to be the last 2013 COP increase owing to two factors. Firstly, if milk production volumes increase by 5% nationally (as per DairyCo’s forecast), the production costs will be spread across more litres. In other words, the 2012/13 drop in production concentrated the costs across fewer litres, hence the average COP rose. Secondly is the fact forward feed prices are currently significantly less than the ones paid last winter, partly due to record crop forecasts in some of the world’s major grain areas. So it is a near certainty, in my opinion, that under COP models it will be cheaper to produce next winter’s milk, and while I am not a costings guru, I have checked out the relationship between a 5% increase in volume and its effect on the COP, and it’s worth about 1ppl or more, and thus is very significant. There could be another big test for COP models coming if global markets continue to strengthen as they are doing, and that is if farmgate commodity milk prices and

APRIL 2013


liquid processor milk prices leap frog retailer COP models. If that happens COP models might have a fairly short life expectancy. Having said that, markets are very unpredictable and are likely to go full circle as volumes increase, or if milk buyers back away from their current insatiable appetite for increased volumes of milk. Cheese labelling Farmers for Action is pushing for clearer front of pack labelling on cheese to clearly state the origin of the milk it was made from. However, as one of my roving correspondents was quick to point out ‘this should be extended to butter’. She was right and Arla should be encouraged to clearly show that Anchor butter – now produced at Westbury – comes entirely from the milk of British cows. The same person recalled comments made in 2007 by the milk purchaser for retailers Booths. The buyer stated that retailers preferred own label to that of branded as they were not in favour of provenance labelling because it gave them ‘greater freedom to source from further afield’. I guess that’s what the beef mince people did – and look where it got them with the horse meat scandal. It’s a fact that the absence of country of origin labelling can be used effectively as a big beating stick to drive down cheese prices. Retailers, the food service/catering sectors, as well as all Government

**DF Apr p16 17 Potter _Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:08 Page 2

‘Website to flash up the less transparent sellers’

Ian Potter

rIan is a specialist milk quota and entitlement broker. Comments please to

procurement departments, should embrace clearer labelling as a way of informing customers of the source of the milk in their dairy products and as a way to encourage them to support British dairy farmers. Large retailers were, not unsurprisingly, the first targets of the push on the clearer cheese labelling campaign. I did a bit of fact finding and learned none of them are squeaky clean, but some quickly could be with a bit of a push. Sainsbury’s is partnered with Arla-Milk Link for its ownlabel cheese, and Asda is partnered to First Milk. That leaves Morrisons and Tesco out of the premier league – both of which do trade the market for cheddar and then have it contract packed. Tesco is the biggest and, on cheese, is partnered to Adams Foods/ The Irish Dairy Board (IDB) and its Leek packing plant. Adams is also tied up with South Caernarfon Creameries and Parkham Farms, which helps Tesco in its claim that 100% of its branded cheddar, as well as all of its territorial cheeses, are packed by Adams/IDB, but are all produced from British milk. To be fair, Tesco’s CEO Philip Clark and the Tesco dairy team are changing the way they work and, from May, Irish cheese will be packaged stating ‘Produced in Ireland using milk from Ireland. Packed in the UK’. Perhaps the next step is to ensure those involved in the market improve front of pack labelling and advertising (which is equally important). It has been suggested we should have a publicly accessible website which states the good provenance labelling companies and flashes up the less


transparent, ethics-bending companies for FFA’s ‘special attention’. My biggest concern with our cheese market relates to margins, however. I am worried that what happened to our liquid market in 2012 is now happening to our cheese market with margins cut wafer thin, or in some cases being non-existent. Our domestic cheese processors are trying hard to maintain milk volume while their producers watch the gap between milk for cheese and liquid prices widen unhealthily. Consequently producers are looking at tempting offers from a myriad of liquid processors all eager to sign them in 12 months or less. Finally, thank you for all the email comments in response to last month’s article and the FSA’s prosecution of Hook Farms for selling raw milk. Some readers subscribed to the conspiracy theory, while another pointed out Dairy UK, at one time, was concerned over a possible UK saturated fat tax and stated that legislation was not the answer and the public should simply be warned of the risks on the packaging. Surely Dairy UK should take a similar position with regards to the sale of raw milk, he said. Finally, I have to thank one learned reader for pointing me in the direction as to why calvings in Southern Ireland – currently 20% up on last year – may not be as it first appears. The increase is partly as a result of BVD tagging changes imposed on farmers, which mean they have to tag their calves earlier. The situation is perhaps not as bad as we first thought, but it’s still one to watch.

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**DF Apr p18 19 Forage Watch 2 (CORR + READ) _Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:12 Page 1

SPONSORED SERIES Part two in this sponsored series looks at laying the foundations for making top quality silage. New Breed UK’s Richard Rolfe and Mole Valley Farmers’ Graham Ragg offer their advice. with Micron Bio-Systems ichard Rolfe of New Breed UK recommends farmers only use seed varieties which have been thoroughly trialled and tested. He maintains the most expensive seed mixture you will ever buy is the one which fails to perform. As a general rule, Italian ryegrass will produce bulk while perennials offer persistence and rapid regrowth. Intermediate and late heading perennial varieties will provide grazing availability throughout the season. Graham Ragg, of Mole Valley Farmers, says: “With the current price of fertilisers, clovers provide a chance to reduce costs. They can fix up to 125kg/ha nitrogen over the season. “They are also ideal in a silage mixture as they raise protein levels and palatability.” As we are now in April, first cut is almost upon us. To produce good quality silage, set your mower so it leaves as wide a swath as possible and try to cut when the crop is dry as this will enhance the sugar content.

Quality silage starts with the right variety




The grass varieties chosen will effect the quality of silage produced.

Leave at least 7-8cm of stubble so any contaminants which can affect silage quality are not picked up. A long length of stubble will help promote faster regrowth. Spread the crop as soon as you can after cutting and do not row up until you are ready to harvest. Dry matter “Aim for a target DM at cutting of 27-28% (25-30% is more practical) to reduce effluent losses when clamped,” says Mr Rolfe. “The lower the DM of the grass to be ensiled, the more acid will be required to preserve it. This can lead to acidosis problems at feed out. “Higher DM silages will have higher field losses due to leaf shatter and respiration. Too high a DM will

APRIL 2013

also reduce palatability and intakes, and we have seen customers having to add water back into the final ration to improve intakes. “There is also a lot of discussion over chop length,” he adds. “It can have a big effect on rumen function and feeding out qualities. For the ensiling process, the ideal chop length is about 3cm. Younger, leafier grass should be chopped at 2.5– 3.5cm to retain more fibre. In lower DM crops, it may be necessary to increase chop length to about 4cm.” Mr Ragg advises putting a layer of ‘cling film’ on top of the pit before sealing with a high gauge black plastic sheet to minimise wastage. “A heavy-duty woven sheet on top of the black plastic will prevent wind

damage and help deter birds,” he says. The importance of creating a good all-round seal is a theme taken up by Mr Rolfe. “Don’t skimp on sheeting – the thicker the better and two layers are better than one. Spoilage of silage on top of the clamp due to poor sheeting and consolidation can be as much as 20%.” Additives are an essential part of silage making, helping to preserve nutritional quality and improve fermentation. Fermentation requires rapid multiplication of lactic acid bacteria which only happens if conditions are favourable and there is sufficient energy (sugar) for the bacteria. Low sugar can mean fermentation is slow, resulting in poor quality silage. Stability Using an additive which contains selected strains of lactic bacteria can help drive down the pH quickly, producing a stable silage with minimum nutrient and DM losses. The dual strain lactic acid bacteria in Micron BioSystem’s Advance additives

**DF Apr p18 19 Forage Watch 2 (CORR + READ) _Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:13 Page 2


Silage sheeting should not be scrimped on – surface losses can be high.

have been selected for their ability to drive the fermentation to a full efficient completion. As soon as the clamp is opened aerobic spoilage starts. The pH rises, heat is generated and moulds start to form. This can also be ex-

aggerated by poor clamp management routines such as the use of loader buckets to remove forage from the face and the non-removal of fallen forage. These factors can be combated with the use of an acetic acid bacterium such as Lactobacillus

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brevis. When these bacteria are exposed to oxygen at the silage face they create controlled levels of acetic acid which help retard yeast and mould growth. If heating and spoilage remain an issue consider the use of an additive such as ProFresh Plus. A dry, granular form of proprionic acid, this offers prolonged control of aerobic spoilage, yeasts and moulds resulting in higher retained feed values with better intakes. It can also help reduce the extra production of mycotoxins which are known to have an impact on milk production. “The use of a

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proven multicomponent preservative such as Advance can reduce DM losses from the silage-making process by 7-10%. This will more than cover the cost of the additive, with additional benefits coming from higher feed values and digestibility,” says Mr Ragg. Grass is the most versatile forage crop available to farmers and is the base of most diets. Getting the silage making basics right can have a huge impact on the quantity and the quality of the silage you will have to feed out later in the year.


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**DF Apr p20 22 Breeding _Layout 1 22/03/2013 11:52 Page 1


Germany has become a powerful force within the cattle breeding world and is demonstrating intent to maintain its position as a major player on the global stage. Bruce Jobson has just returned from visiting the country.

German show puts on an impressive display

n cattle breeding terms, Germany has taken a quantum leap forward and is viewed as a major league genetics player. One factor which strikes you on visiting the country and which accounts for some of the excellent data is that all cows in their first lactation, due to carry a second calf, are mated to a progeny test bull and this provides comparable, reliable data sets. It is not really about one bull being better than an-


other which differentiates competitor products. It is about the reliability of the evaluation system. And at farmer level, that is defined as ‘trust’. German cattle breeders clearly trust their own evaluation system and it is hard to deny their faith. Today, German Holstein and Red Holsteins are aiming at a target performance level of 10,000kg milk at 4% fat and 3.5% protein. That is an impressive goal by any standards, even more impressive due to the

number of registered Holstein animals, currently 1,500,000 and 150,000 Red Holsteins.

Testing programme The nine herd book AI organisations, which form the umbrella marketing arm known as German Genetics International (GGI), test close to 900 Holstein and 135 Red Holstein bulls per annum. This is considered the world’s second largest Holstein sire testing prog-

RMV show progeny groups prove popular attraction

rTop quality Holstein cows were on display at the 2013 RMV Show at Karow, Germany, with 148 milking animals in total entered. The Karow-based show is organised by the local RMV herdbook and featured four progeny groups sired by German bulls prior to the milking class sections. An impressive line-up totalling 37 progeny test daughters from Tilo, Omega, Nog Mato, and Edway were paraded in front of a large crowd of international breeders



APRIL 2013

ramme and the largest Red test programme worldwide. The German evaluation system collects information from all dairy breeds via a central database known as Vereinigte Informationsysteme Tierhaltung (VIT). The evaluations include all traits with an economic value such as milk production and milking speed, and unsurprisingly German statistical methods and evaluation models are considered to be state-ofthe-art.

including visitors from the US and UK. German farmers place strong emphasis on functional type traits as well as dairyness, with production and longevity featuring as key criteria. Respected judge Manfred Uhrig, who has officiated at European level, selected the popular THI Blackw as his Supreme Champion. The Judge Manfred Uhrig with supreme champion THI Blackw. 11-year-old, owned by Thoenes Rainer, Kalkar, is THI Blackw was fresh production records over sired by Comestar Leader 14,700kg at 3.8% fat and with her seventh calf in and bred out of a Jolt dam. November 2012 and has 3.2% protein.

Cogent - WP DF_Cogent - WP DF 20/03/2013 17:54 Page 1

**DF Apr p20 22 Breeding _Layout 1 22/03/2013 12:21 Page 2


Sunrise sale tops €28,500

Prepared for end of quotas

JAn evening auction of elite heifer calves in the European Classics Sunrise Sale preceded the RMV Show at Karow. High genomic animals proved popular with CNN Mogul Dehli achieving a top price of €28,500 (£25,500), and selling to Italy. Dehli is descended from the world famous Dellia family with the five-month old heifer calf rated the highest genomic Mogul heifer in Germany and second overall Mogul heifer in Europe. Two other animals realised more than €20,000.

JDr Profittlich, who has been at the Ministry of Agriculture for the past 15 years, explained the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region is one of 16 Federal German states and has achieved impressive production increases since German unification. “The region is one of five former East German states and our farmers have increased production and performance levels over the past 20 years. From 19922011, milk yield has virtually doubled and the cow numbers required to produce the quota levels

JGerman genomic information is published through the European genomic alliance and this data is currently not published in the UK. Currently, comparative sire evaluations on German genomic bulls are only available based upon actual proven German daughter proofs, and while somewhat retrospective, it provides an interesting comparison. This is akin to going back to the 1970s and rather than using

genomic technology, we are reverting back to a system of conversion formulae. To date, German genomic information appears extremely stable, being derived from an extremely large gene pool of about 600,000 plus Holstein bull calves born annually.

Producers are receiving about 33 eurocents per litre for their milk Dr Profittlich

(quota was restructured owing to unification) has decreased from 225,000 cows to 175,000 milking animals. “Farms in the Mecklenberg region tend to be bigger in size, having evolved from former East German state

co-operated collective farms prior to 1990. “Dairy producers are receiving about 33 eurocents per litre for their milk and traditionally have received a lower milk price than other regions within Germany. “Our farmers are therefore used to producing milk cheaper and, having larger herds, are able to produce it more efficiently. “It is difficult to predict what will happen once EU milk quotas are abolished, but our farmers are well prepared for any changes that may occur,” she said.

ing. The genetic intensity is further scrutinised with the resulting 1000 highest Estimated Breeding Value (gEBV) bull calves selected for evaluation. German evaluations do not include full parent averages in the calculation of gEBVs and instead use a combination of direct genomic value and pedigree sire index. Although the proven German genomic sire information is currently

based upon a relatively small number of results, the performance and reliability appear impressive. The system does not include maternal dam information, only sire, and hence, this may reduce any bias. However, German genomic data within the European genomic alliance is further backed up by an information exchange with France, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

German genomic information appears very stable



Testing From this group, the best identifiable 10,000 calves are available for genomic test-

APRIL 2013

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orre e ... and much more mor


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Figur Figures es based on typical 100 cow her herd d


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**DF Apr p24 25 Vets View_Layout 1 20/03/2013 15:54 Page 1


Efficient use of our time makes for client benefit

On the Cheshire and Shropshire border, farm animal practice Lambert, Leonard and May has led the way with some out of the box thinking. Partner Charlie Lambert tells us more.

eing different and pushing boundaries have been at the heart of our practice since it was formed in 1999, and continue to be important to us. As a young farm vet when our practice began, I understood in order for our newly-born practice to survive, our farmers had to thrive. Considering the journey we have all been through since then, it is encouraging to see so many clients tackling the challenges ahead and




being brave in decision making. It is something we, as vets, have to do too. Thirteen years ago, the concept of not having a huge mark up on medicines was greeted with scepticism, though not by clients who suddenly saw a 30% cut in medicine spend. Charging a flat hourly rate for everything we did was also quite alien in a sector where farmers had always been charged for the specific job. A few eyebrows were raised, but you look at practices now and this type of approach is much more the norm. Last summer, at the

APRIL 2013

height of the Fair Price for Milk campaign, it was clear for all to see that a new bout of changes had to be considered. The impact of long lasting low milk prices would be felt in many areas of the industry, with vet and med spend coming under the microscope. So we cut our hourly rate and offered producers the opportunity to make a 10% saving on medicine prices. Given that our medicines normally track internet prices, this could make a big

difference. We call this new approach Farmers First – Fair Priced Medicines.

Charges But is it too good to be true? On the face of it, perhaps it could appear so, but we spent considerable time looking at our charges. We felt there were still some inefficiencies which could be improved upon. For a start, some crosssubsidisation between different types of work and poor use of vet time through too much poorly planned travelling. Plus the whole area of cash

**DF Apr p24 25 Vets View_Layout 1 20/03/2013 15:54 Page 2

VET’S VIEW Key points rHourly rates reduced by £20/hour for pre-booked work rNon-urgent calls in the current working week have a £25 visit fee rSudden priority calls have a £50 fee to move the call to top of the jobs list flow management. By picking all this apart, we reconstructed our charges and now offer producers the chance to make significant cost savings, while still enjoying the same service. So what is in it for the practice? By encouraging

rAccess a further 10% saving on medicine costs by paying when ordering (credit card, cheque, internet banking) rGet medicines delivered for free on the normal vet visit or, if needed sooner, pay a flat £15 fee wherever you are. clients to book work in ahead we can plan a vet’s day so they are not crisscrossing the countryside. This, for us, means more chargeable work time each day. On the medicines side, by adding an incentive for paying at the time of order,

we don’t have to run a large credit facility. Of course, we recognise the new approach will not work for everyone. This is all about offering choice. And it needn’t work all the time either. If you have a sudden and urgent need to get a vet on farm instantly, access the priority service and pay a flat £50 fee to get your call moved to the very top of the jobs list. But the proof we have of the opportunity the new approach offers is compelling. From the 120 clients whose bills we reviewed, nine out of 10 paid less than they had previously on medicines and fees.

And seven out of 10 saved 5%, while the average saving was 8%. At the top end a small number who really examined everything and implemented a much higher level of planning saved about 15%. Support At the end of the day, as we explain to clients, the practice did not have to make this change. We did it as we want to help and support their businesses. We could see ironing out some inefficiencies could help us deliver this while still maintaining our own business performance.

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**DF Apr p26 27 28 29 IBR Aware2 CORRECT + READ _Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:43 Page 1


IBR aware BR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) is caused by a herpes virus and results in acute upper respiratory tract disease among all ages of cattle. Figures from DairyCheck, from MSD Animal Health, show about 70% of all herds tested were positive for exposure to the virus. The condition can lead to fatal pneumonia and its severity is dependent upon the strain of virus and various management factors. The respiratory form is most commonly seen when store cattle are housed in autumn as animals from different groups


The second part of our IBR Aware campaign launches with a quick disease re-cap and examination of a European neighbour’s eradication programme.

Awareness: Test to identify virus exposure cluding Austria and Switzerland, have eradicated the disease while Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands are currently in the process of eradication.

Erik Mijten: marker vaccines.

are mixed together, leading to increased stress levels. This virus can also lead to reduced fertility or a drop in milk yield in adult cattle. Because IBR is a herpes virus, infected animals remain carriers for life and can shed virus later during periods of stress. Several EU countries, in-

Belgian vaccination protocol THE Belgian protocol dictates infected herds must be vaccinated with gE deleted vaccines, an example of which would be Bovilis IBR Marker Live: rAt 10 months of age: All cattle should have had their primary course to be ‘primo-vaccinated’ ie one dose with a live vaccine or two doses with an inactivated vaccine.



APRIL 2013

rAt 16 months of age: All cattle should be fully immunised meaning the primary course is completed and booster administered. rAll animals over 16 months of age: Sixmonthly boosters, normally given at housing in November and prior to turnout in the spring.

Screening Eradication programmes are generally a combination of screening, vaccination and monitoring. Expert veterinary advice should be sought as all herds differ in terms of disease exposure levels, biosecurity advice and vaccination requirements. The Belgian eradication programme became compulsory in January 2012, following a voluntary phase from 2007. Vet Erik Mijten from of Boerenbond describes the Belgian experience. “The Belgian voluntary phase lasted for five years and allowed everyone to get to the same place,” he says. “This means some people started screening, others had been vaccinating for a while so looked more at monitoring, while others (on the basis of herd history)

simply started vaccinating.” The IBR control programme now states that there is compulsory vaccination for infected herds or herds not proven as free from IBR. Non-infected herds can maintain their status of not having to vaccinate by blood sampling to prove they remain virus free. “Belgium opted to select marker IBR vaccines to help with tracking virus exposure in the screening phase and to make a more simple vaccination protocol,” Dr Mijten explains.

Vaccination The use of marker vaccines, such as Bovilis® IBR Marker Live, allows a blood test to differentiate between antibodies that show up due to natural infection compared to those induced by vaccination. This means when you screen cattle and identify the virus, testing can show whether this originated from a vaccine and, so, is under control, or whether it is a wild-type and capable of causing infection.

**DF Apr p26 27 28 29 IBR Aware2 CORRECT + READ _Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:44 Page 2

SPONSORED SERIES IBR is a complex problem which requires a tailored assement and treatment plan. Here, vet Jimmy More explains his approach to the disease with an on-farm example.

Best approach to manage IBR

BR is often referred to as a complex problem and, to a certain extent, I would agree, says vet Jimmy More from the Galloway Vet Group, Dumfries and Galloway. “Where I would perhaps differ is that I believe the best approach to control and management is actually very simple,” he says. “It is our view that the virus is commonplace and active infection widespread. This means if a screening programme was to take place, antibodies


will show up. It also renders a one-off one-farm screening relatively pointless, unless units around you are also doing it as well as local marts, and a strict biosecurity and buying in policy is adhered to,” Mr More says. Protecting “In the rare occasion no antibodies were to show up, then that will be a naïve herd which needs protecting anyway.” A streamlined approach to IBR control leaves less

Vet Jimmy More: dairy clients start vaccinating from October.

margin for error while still achieving the main objective of avoiding clinical outbreaks. “Vaccination regimes can be complicated, especially when working out booster intervals in relation to pregnancy and the main risk period,” he says. “Dairy unit clients start vaccinating from October onwards, ahead of the

biggest risk period associated with the stress of housing and colder winter temperatures (which the IBR virus likes). A six-monthly booster regime can then be followed. And if stock comes onto a unit of unknown status, it receives at intranasal dose of the vaccine to promote rapid protection.”

Case study: Rerrick Park Dairy, Dundrennan, Kirkcudbright

rIt has been a busy three years for Neil Graham, of Rerrick Park Dairy, Dundrennan, Kirkcudbright. He now milks 715 cows at a new unit developed on a greenfield site, but such growth has meant

looking for pedigree milking heifers from the Netherlands, Germany and latterly Denmark. “As soon as they come on to the farm, the heifers receive their first Bovilis IBR Marker Live dose intra-

Farm facts

r715 milking cows r10,100 litres rThree-times-a-day milking rHoused year-round rVaccinated for IBR, BVD, Lepto, clostridial disease, salmonella.

Neil Graham: disease prevention.

meaning the cows are always healthy.” As well as being covered for IBR, stock is vaccinated for leptospirosis, BVD Stress (mandatory now in IBR is frequently associScotland), salmonella and ated with stress but, as clostridial disease. Neil says, the new buildThe farm’s vet Jimmy ings, consistent feeding regime and cow groupings More says: “Herds such as minimised this throughout Neil’s can be pushed to deliver excellent levels of the cows’ life. “We are achieving around performance and, provided they are supported 10,100 litres per lactation, milking three-times-a-day in through good housing and management, stress and the new 24:48 swingover, but investment in preventa- any associated problems can be minimised.” tive health is significant, nasally to ensure rapid onset of protection,” he explains.

APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p26 27 28 29 IBR Aware2 CORRECT + READ _Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:44 Page 3


Diagnosis: Prompt IBR aware

action helps save cows

ighlighting the importance of a quick diagnosis, farmer Colin Harrington, of Mounsey Bank Farm, Plumpton, near Penrith, says: “If I’d waited, we would have lost cattle.” Mr Harrington was reflecting on the situation four years ago when cows were snotty with mucus candlesticks, milk yield was down and three cows had raised temperatures and were quite unwell. “We’d always vaccinated for lepto and BVD with Leptavoid-H and Bovilis BVD, and that winter we were TB testing as usual. “But a few days later, it was clear all was not well, so we called the vet in.” Suspecting IBR, Mr Harrington also spoke to


Colin Harrington says since the outbreak of IBR on farm, his cattle have been vaccinated every six months.

other farmers and compared symptoms. “Neighbours who had seen IBR in their herds spoke of snotty noses (candlesticks), odd behaviour, milk drop and difficulty getting cows back into calf. They said outbreaks were sometimes linked to stressing the cows, so I thought back to our TB test.” Following the acute situation on the farm, Mr Harrington and his vet decided to use Bovilis IBR Marker Live intranasally to deliver a rapid onset of immunity and dampen down virus activity. “Cattle started eating

Farm facts

r290 pedigree Friesians rMilking 150 cows r9158 litres, 4.12% fat, 3.26% protein rCalving index - 392 days



APRIL 2013

rVaccinated for IBR every six months for four years rAlso vaccinated for leptospirosis and BVD.

again, and were soon back to normal and, when the vet ran some tests, it did come back as IBR,” he explains. Since the outbreak, the 290-strong herd of pedigree Friesians is vaccinated every six months intra-muscularly with the vaccine after an initial primary dose.

Testing Mr Harrington’s vet, Martin Squires from The Green Veterinary Surgery, Skelton, says: “Diagnosing IBR in a herd is often a straightforward case of examining clinical cases. Confirming the disease relies on using laboratory tests which may slow down treatment and preventative choices. “In acute cases, swabs from the back of an ill cow’s nose will show IBR virus present, but by then

rapid spread in the herd will be in progress, with production losses and possibly deaths. Monitoring bulk milk tank antibody levels (such as with MSD's DairyCheck scheme) on a quarterly basis will show if infection enters a naïve herd, or challenges an endemically infected herd, causing a rises in IBR antibody levels, but again picks up infection after the damage is done. The year-round calving herd currently yields 9158 litres making it the second highest Friesian herd being milk recorded. Mr Squires says: “We have busy clients like Colin, who need a straightforward answer to their problem. Twice a year herd vaccination into the muscle offers effective control of IBR.”

**DF Apr p26 27 28 29 IBR Aware2 CORRECT + READ _Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:45 Page 4


Vaccination: Mixing herds can play havoc with planning oving to a different farm, merging two herds and buying in cattle is a challenge for anyone and George Wainwright of The Sycamores, Tetchill Moor, near Ellesmere, found despite careful planning, the unexpected can still arise. Previously milking near Macclesfield, Cheshire, the family identified a bigger unit with an existing herd they could also take on and moved in 2008. “We had previously produced, bottled and distributed our own milk but crunch time came and, to survive and prosper, we needed to make a change,” explains Mr Wainwright. “We took on the 110 cows at the new farm and have added cows since to get to 230 adult cattle.” The Macclesfield herd had


always been vaccinated against leptospirosis and salmonella, while the cows at The Sycamores were vaccinated for leptospirosis and BVD. “Getting all animals onto the same health management protocol was always going to be a challenge,” says Mr Wainwright. “Regular vet meetings with Steve Mosford from Park Issa Vets played an important role in helping work out what to do and when.”

Unexplained Despite planning and attention to detail, such as double-fencing and biosecurity when showing cattle, Mr Wainwright remembers a sudden and unexplained disease outbreak in early autumn 2011. “Quite suddenly, a few cows started showing snotty noses, gunky almost conjunctivitis-like eyes, milk

Merged two herds and bought in cattle rHolsteins, Shorthorns and Guernseys r7700 litres average rYear-round calving rSplit into two

management groups and fed accordingly rVaccinated for IBR, BVD, leptospirosis and salmonella.

Left to right: Philip, George and David Wainwright.

drop for two or three days and unusual behaviour,” he says. “Initially we put it down to changing to a new batch of silage that we knew wasn’t very good.” Mr Mosford says: “When George and his father Philip phoned one morning in September 2011 to say they had two or three cows ‘off colour with little or no milk’ my initial suspicion was of a nutritional problem as there was an issue with one particular clamp of high DM silage tending to overheat at the face. “However examining the cows showed a textbook IBR picture with high temperatures, eye and nasal discharge and a generally ‘unhappy’ cow. Eye swabs were taken immediately for testing and a positive result

on two of the three swabs for IBR was received within a day or so. “Given the seriousness of the situation in the herd following the outbreak, we decided to administer Bovilis IBR Marker Live intranasally to help deliver a rapid onset of immunity,” says Mr Mosford. “All adult cattle were vaccinated and, before long, herd performance was back to expected levels.” Looking back, Mr Wainwright remembers a number of cows previously confirmed as in-calf at five to six weeks returned to service, together with two or three cows which absorbed three-to-four month old foetuses. The herd is now on a six-monthly booster regime.

Bovilis IBR Marker Live

rUK’s leading IBR vaccine rSingle dose primary course* rSimple and easy vaccination programme. *It is possible to start vaccination from two weeks old intranasally, however a booster vaccination at three to four months old will be required.

APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p30 31 BVD _Layout 1 20/03/2013 15:56 Page 1


Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) can seriously affect fertility and production and opens cattle up to other diseases. Vet Jonathan Statham, of the Bishopton Veterinary Group, tells us more.

BVD may be preventing cows fulfilling potential VD has been described as the most important viral disease of cattle and has been estimated to cost the GB cattle industry about £40 million per annum. The virus causes financial loss because of its effects on fertility and production. It also affects the immune system causing other diseases (such as calf scour and pneumonia) to be more common and more severe than they might otherwise be. In adult, non-pregnant cows, symptoms of BVD infection are usually slight and difficult to spot, with a brief temperature rise and sometimes diarrhoea. However, infected animals often have reduced fertility with poor conception rates and returns to service. In addition, in dairy herds, increased mastitis and a raised bulk milk somatic cell count may be a consequence of BVD suppressing the immune system. But it is the range of effects of BVDv on pregnant cattle which causes




most concern and must be appreciated in order to successfully control the disease in your herd. The virus can cross the placenta and will infect the foetus. This may result in foetal death and an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, and if the cow does not abort she may give birth to a stillborn, weak or malformed calf. PI calves The worst possible outcome occurs if the dam is infected during the first third of pregnancy, before the foetal immune system has developed. In this situation, the developing foetal immune system never recognises the virus as ‘foreign’ and so never acts against it. This results in the birth of a persistently infected (PI) calf. PI calves remain infected for the whole of their lives and continually shed huge amounts of virus which infects others. PI animals will eventually die of mucosal disease (MD) with most dying between six months and two years of age. Classic

APRIL 2013

Jonathan Statham: herd scheme.

signs of MD include a profuse, unresponsive, sometimes blood-stained diarrhoea, a reduced appetite and progressive weight loss and weakness. The nose is frequently crusty, with ulcers in the mouth. Erosive lesions around the coronary band and within the interdigital cleft may also be seen. Some female PI animals may live long enough to breed, but if this happens every calf will also be PI, putting more animals at risk. BVD may infect adult animals acutely and be cleared by the immune system. We are still learning about the importance

of these temporary BVD infections. Acute BVD infection in bulls, as well as any other signs it may cause, will also affect semen production and quality causing poor fertility, and BVDv may be shed in semen for months. PI bulls will shed BVDv in their semen lifelong, and should not be used for breeding. BVD can only be fully controlled and eradicated from a herd through an integrated herd health planning approach. This begins by mapping the presence or absence of disease on the farm. It may be done cheaply and relatively easily by blood sampling 5-10 home-bred animals, aged 9-14 months old, in each separate management group for the presence of BVD antibody. Presence This is designed to show presence or absence of BVD in a herd, as a negative herd would produce all negative results. Positive results may indicate either presence of current BVD infection, or

**DF Apr p30 31 BVD _Layout 1 20/03/2013 15:56 Page 2


rJonathan Statham will be speaking at this year’s National Herdmans Conference at Harper Adams University College on April 15/16 along with a whole host of other top speakers. All inclusive fee is

£99+VAT to cover single bed and breakfast, gala dinner, lunch and full delegate pack. ■ For more information on the event please contact LKL office on 01722 323 546, or email carol.adlem@

possibly an historic exposure or vaccination, and would indicate further investigation with the support of your vet. Testing using a blood test for the virus itself or tissue testing such as ‘tag and test’ (ear notch) may be the next steps to control by

identifying and removing all PI animals, whether they look healthy at the time of sampling or not. Some European countries are following this approach in their national control programmes for BVD. However, in stock dense countries with frequent

PI animals will get mucosal disease and show with ulcers in the mouth.

cattle movements, vaccination of all breeding females prior to service is essential to prevent the formation of PI calves during pregnancy. Schemes A range of cattle health schemes includes BVD control and is directed by

the Cattle Health Certification Standard (CHeCS). Now is the time to work with your vet to identify priorities for BVD control in your herd and set up a plan of attack. For more information, contact Sophie Throup at XLTS on

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APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p32 33 Genus_Layout 1 20/03/2013 15:58 Page 1

TechTalk by Rosebeck Lameness Control Routine or Reaction ? Lameness in UK and Irish dairy herds accounts for significant financial losses along with the usual cow welfare concerns. A report from Kingshay Farming Trust only a few years ago detailed the loss for the average herd with levels of lameness costing around £88/cow. Other groups and academia estimate losses of £100 per cow or more. This figure takes into account reduced dry matter intakes, reduced milk yield and infertility through extended periods from calving to conception. The treatment of individual acute incidences will no doubt increase this loss. Monitoring lameness by locomotion scoring is vital to clearly see the degree of problem on any individual farm. Prompt treatment protocols for acute cases are also important as reducing the spread of infection is as important in lameness control as they are in mastitis control. It is when we come to lameness control that there appears to be a widening gap between those who work to a clear routine and those who react to a flare up or worsening on farm scenario What is constantly proving the most successful approach is routine use of foot baths at an appropriate frequency. Reducing the time between baths will seriously limit the ability of bacteria causing the infection to recover and re-infect. The product choices are simple; there are really just two types of foot bath products, antibiotics and biocides. Antibiotics will ‘cure’ infection, irrespective of how many cows go through the bath or how dirty the solution becomes. However, the use of these should be limited; it is better to treat the individual cow than mass treat all cows too often. Biocides on the other hand cannot make claims to cure; they can only kill the bacteria that cause the infection. Organic matter will deactivate all biocides to varying degrees, so limiting the number of cows per bath before adding fresh solution is important and repeat bathing to keep on top of the infective bacteria is vital. More expensive biocidal foot bath products often withstand the presence of muck longer and provide a greater degree of hoof conditioning compared to low cost options. So make your choice wisely and maintain a regular schedule. Get into a routine so you don’t have to react when it gets bad. Neil can be contacted by email: For further information call VOLAC on 01642 718814



APRIL 2013


To improve herd performance, producers need to focus on tha tracked by the multitude of problems they face at any one tim

Stay focused and you can reach target ressure on margins means dairy farmers must be focused on driving efficiency improvements through all aspects of their business, whether heifer rearing, forage management or reducing disease losses. Genus vet Mr Cook says: “The problem is that there are so many areas where a farmer can look to drive improvements, the challenge is to identify the big areas and to then ensure significant and sustainable progress is being made.” He says the starting point has to be measuring performance as this is the only way to quantify the extent of any problem, and by setting appropriate benchmarks be able to see whether progress is being made. “Measurements can also be used to diagnose the root cause of the problem. For example, knowing when in lactation new mastitis cases occur can be used to spotlight the cause of the problem and the best course of action.” Mr Cook uses data from a recent analysis of performance


between herds on Genus ABS’ Reproductive Management System (RMS) and a sample of 500 NMR herds to illustrate the point. The NMR herds were specifically selected to represent a cross-section of commercial dairy herds, and this is part of an annual study carried out by Dr James Hanks at the University of Reading to document typical performance. Reproduction “Farmers who sign up to RMS are focused on improving reproductive performance,” Mr Cook says. “They adopt strict protocols, make use of specialists to detect heat and inseminate cows, and use detailed information to assess

John Cook: measure and compare.

**DF Apr p32 33 Genus_Layout 1 20/03/2013 15:58 Page 2


that element they wish to improve and not get sidetime. Genus vet John Cook illustrates the point. performance. They set targets for key stages in rebreeding cows including voluntary waiting period, timing of pregnancy diagnosis and how to proactively manage the resubmission of nonpregnant cows. And the analysis shows as a result they are able to make big improvements in fertility. (See table). “The NMR herds are by no means badly managed and will be using a range of approaches to get cows back in calf, such as activity monitors.”

He suggests the data clearly show the improvements which can be made through a focused approach to management, arguing the results for mastitis attributes help demonstrate this. Parameters “When you look at the data for the key mastitis parameters, which is an area where no different specific management improvement schemes were employed between the two groups, you see similar results for the

Focusing on one improvement area will help to drive progress.

NMR and RMS herds. “There is no appreciable difference in average cell count, in the number of cows with cell counts

Analysis of performance between herds on Genus ABS’ RMS and NMR herds NMR 500 herds Genus RMS herds Fertility performance Percentage of cows served by day 80 51% 64% Percentage of cows conceived by 100 days 27% 34% Calving to first service interval (days) 93 76 Calving interval (days) 419 408 Percentage of cows eligible for service actually served (%) 30 45 Mastitis performance Average SCC (’000cells/ml) 199 200 Percentage of cell counts over 200,000 22 22 Percentage of cell counts over 500,000 8 9 Percentage chronic cells over 200,000 12 11

above 200,000 or 500,000 cells/ml or in chronic problems. The herds using RMS were not focusing on improving udder health and as a result no improvements were made. “The lessons from this analysis are quite clear. With focused management, the use of accurate and timely data backed by specialist input, it is possible to improve efficiency and through that increase income and reduce costs,” he says.

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**DF Apr p34 AH Ketosis_Layout 1 20/03/2013 15:59 Page 1

ANIMAL HEALTH The prevalence of ketosis in newly-calved cows may be higher than thought with a consequent loss in performance. Peter Hollinshead looks at the role of the UK’s first bolus for lowering the risk of ketosis.

New bolus could help reduce level of ketosis p to one-third of UK dairy cows may be at risk from ketosis which in its subclinical form can well go undetected leading to depressed performance in the rest of the lactation. However, that problem may now have a solution in the first ever bolus being launched in this country to help prevent susceptible cows from lapsing into a ketotic state. Mike Steele, vet with launching company Elanco Animal Health, explains: “The problem usually arises in transition cows where there is a huge drop in intake a week before calving and a week after calving.” This then leaves the cows at risk of falling into a postpartum negative energy balance with all the attendant problems which arise from that. In its search for energy the cow will mobilise body fat which, if on a large enough scale, will overwhelm the liver which will convert any excess into ketones. “If we can make that en-




The bolus aims to help prevent susceptible cows from lapsing into a ketotic state.

ergy from the proprionateproducing bacteria in the rumen that will mean the liver is less overwhelmed. Essentially it means the cow needs to get more out of what she is eating and restore her energy balance,” says Mr Steele. “In EU clinical trials the incidence in herds was 32% at blood thresholds of 1000 micromoles of the ketone, beta-hydroxybutyrate, but this was reduced to 8% with use of the bolus,” he says. He adds the risk was not eliminated totally as ketosis is a multi–factorial problem and other transition management factors are involved that could also affect rates. So how does the new Kexxtone bolus help and what is in it? It works by releasing monensin which alters the modus operandi of

APRIL 2013

the rumen bacteria allowing more energy to be extracted from the feed. Interestingly the same active ingredient, monensin, was used as a growth promoter before it was banned under EU legislation for that specific purpose some years ago. Glucose “The monensin is effectively shifting the rumen bacteria to produce proprionic acid which is then used to produce glucose,” he adds. He is reassuring on the product’s safety in the light of the active ingredient’s former use and history. “It wasn’t that it was considered unsafe – it was just the EU decided it didn’t want to go down that road,” he says. And he stressed it must not be confused with an antibiotic. “Once you take it

away the rumen bacteria revert to their previous activity which they wouldn’t with antibiotics.” If around one-third of cows are at risk, which are the potential ketotic cows? They need to be identified early as the bolus needs to be administered 30-35 days before calving to give it enough time to work. To determine which cows to treat, Mr Steele says first do a cow-side milk assessment using Elanco’s newly launched Keto-Test on individual cows to ascertain prevalence in the herd. If this is high then start to target individual cows. “Look at the F:P ratio in the previous lactation – cows are considered at risk if this was greater than 1.5. And pay attention to cows with body scores in the dry group above 3.5 and those which have had a displaced abomasum,” he advises. Interestingly, no claim has been made for fertility or yields, but ketosis could depress yields in parity 3+ cows by 300 litres. Cost of the bolus is yet to be disclosed.

DF_04_P35_DF_04_P35 22/03/2013 11:09 Page 21

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**DF Apr p36 Minerals_Layout 1 20/03/2013 16:00 Page 1

ANIMAL HEALTH Last year’s wet weather could impact on the mineral content of this year’s forages, leading to cow health problems. Adam Clay of Frank Wright Trouw explains the risk.

Wet weather may have upset mineral balances he wet summer and winter may have led to higher levels of leaching, resulting in an imbalance of minerals in cow diets. “Forages are typically a variable source of minerals as they are dependent on the status of the soils,” says Mr Clay. “Some minerals are in short supply, while others at high levels can be antagonistic to other minerals,” he says. (See graph). “In addition, damage to the soil structure will reduce the ability of the roots to absorb nutrients from the soil. Combined, this may lead to lower mineral levels at grazing, so it is important to take steps to improve soil


fertility, including liming, and reducing compaction to improve availability.” Mr Clay says modern dairy cows are working extremely hard, but can cope provided all metabolic systems are working well. Minerals and vitamins are involved in all core body functions, including metabolism, reproduction and cellular repair. A deficiency or toxic level of any mineral will potentially compromise a number of metabolic functions. “As forage is a significant proportion of the diet, it is vital to understand its mineral content. For example, in 2012 grass silage iron was 44% higher than in 2011, and at high levels iron can bind with

Grass silage is a poor source of minerals 250

Supply as % of allowance

200 150 100 50 0






Cu Mn Element





Based on a 625kg cow giving 30 litres with a total DMI of 20kg, 11kgDM from grass silage. Source: Frank Wright Trouw.



APRIL 2013

copper, making it less available to the cow. “Conversely selenium, which is essential for the immune system and general health, was 10% down last year,” he says. “Commonly, a deficiency of selenium will show as an increased incidence of retained cleansings and poor bulling activity, and can also result in higher cell counts.” Greater risk Mr Clay urges farmers to pay close attention to mineral nutrition this spring. If farmers cut back on buffer feeds and parlour concentrates to reduce costs, he says they will reduce the chance to provide effective mineral supplementation. “We all know staggers can be a problem at turnout. There are many ways to supplement cows to reduce the risk, including compounds, mineral blocks and water treatment. “Such flexibility does not exist for other minerals which may be deficient in grazed grass diets, so farmers will have to rely on more mainstream methods

Adam Clay: avoid blanket use.

of supplementation,” he explains. However, he advises against blanket increases in mineral levels, saying this can result in feeding minerals which are not deficient. Forages, he says, should be analysed for mineral content. “The aim must be to understand the specific problem and then to target supplementation with the most cost effective solution. “For example, if iron and molybdenum are locking up copper, it is more important to feed the correct form of copper than just to increase the level fed. “Similarly, if selenium and zinc are in short supply, adding a source with high bio-availability can be more cost effective,” he says.

DF_04_P37_DF_04_P37 22/03/2013 12:11 Page 21



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**DF Apr p38 42 AH Interview_Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:42 Page 1

ANIMAL HEALTH From this autumn, producers will be left in the dark with the ban on the direct advertising of antimicrobials in the farming press. Peter Hollinshead talks to the National Office of Animal Health’s chief executive Phil Sketchley about the implications of this.

Will anthelmintics be next in the firing line?

ow the Veterinary Medicines Directorate has announced that advertising of antimicrobials to farmers must cease from later this year – do we know when exactly? Yes, the VMD has stated this will come into effect on October 1, 2013, when the Veterinary Medicine



Regulations, which are reviewed on an annual basis, are re-issued.

Last year the industry managed to forestall this ban claiming farmers were professional people which we believe they are – was the pressure from the European Commission too great and ultimately a ban proved inevitable? Firstly, it was the UK

regulators that decreed, in the first VMR in 2005, that the farmer could be regarded as a professional keeper of animals, and therefore they felt that it was appropriate for responsible advertising, particularly if it was educational and informative, to be directed towards the farmer. Not all member states took the same view, and in almost all other member states advertising of any prescription only medicines is not permitted. Would it be true to say the Commission, which is behind this, is trying to make the regulations uniform across the EU? Yes it is. The reason for this change in the UK is the result of a communication from the Commission to the UK Government, that is the VMD, where they raised the point in terms of the interpretation of the directives into national law. They felt farmers shouldn’t receive advert-


APRIL 2013

ising material for antibiotics as they felt it could put undue pressure on the veterinarians to supply specific products and that the decision should be entirely that of the vet, which, of course, it always was as they are POM-V. Were you surprised this year there was not even a period of consultation with the industry, unlike last year when there was consultation... it was simply declared as a fait accompli? Clearly the VMD have now had a direct challenge from the Commission in terms of the interpretation of this directive, and I think it has been made clear to them that they are obliged now to bring in this prohibition on advertising to farmers of antimicrobials. As the pharmaceutical companies’ umbrella organisation, what is NOAH’s reaction to this... were you shocked by it? I think in some respects we were half expecting it but we are nevertheless

**DF Apr p38 42 AH Interview_Layout 1 20/03/2013 16:04 Page 2

ANIMAL HEALTH disappointed with the approach of the Commission in the fact we believe our industry does approach advertising in a very responsible manner, and that the material provided to farmers is educational and informative. A few years ago we modified our Code of Practice which made it clear all communications to farmers on antimicrobials should focus on being informative and educational, and we feel this has been done very responsibly, particularly in articles in the farming press which help farmers both

with an understanding of the diseases they are treating or preventing and that they are using these products, antibiotics or not, correctly. But that element of a better understanding obviously didn’t weigh strongly enough in the balance to make them think again about imposing the ban? It hasn’t had that desired impact, and whether there will be an opportunity to review this in 2014 we have yet to see. But clearly the Commission is under pressure from a societal point of view to address the issues of anti-

microbial resistance and clearly they are looking at both the use of these products in humans, through physicians in hospitals and in general practice, and also their use through the veterinary profession as well. I think it must be stressed the general views now are that the problems of antibiotic resistance in human medicine are due to the use of antibiotics in humans and not directly related to their use in animals. But of course there are always different views, and I think it is based on the fact that if there is any element

of doubt, then they are making these decisions on a precautionary principle approach. Will the ban affect all forms of print, not just farming papers, but vets’ newsletters, conferences, show stands etc? The actual definition of this is not apparent, but from our understanding of the way it is written, it applies to all aspects of communications, not just to conventional advertisements, but includes veterinary surgeons’ newsletters. It will be permissible to make reference to the use of antibiotics but not overt

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**DF Apr p38 42 AH Interview_Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:42 Page 3

ANIMAL HEALTH brand promotion, so a company would be able to have educational discussions through vets at say farmer meetings where they were discussing disease control, but the use of brands would not be permitted. So, the active ingredient of the medicine may be used but no brand as such which may influence the choice of the farmer? Yes, conventional brand promotion will not be permitted but if the communication through the vet or company is educational, then it would be permissible for the brand to be mentioned at the end of the educational feature. For example, it could say at the bottom of the piece this material is presented to you by company X, makers of product Y, where Y is the brand name, but it wouldn’t be allowed to go on beyond that. So those in the print media will not be allowed to refer to antimicrobials by product name in farm stories or even when describing treatment for a specific disease in any editorial we do? Yes, my understanding is that would be regarded as promotional and would not be permitted under the proposals. And yet if you refer to



these medicines by referring to the active ingredient, most people would be lost? Clearly the active ingredient can be referred to but not the brand name as such. Will farmers have to learn a new code whereby they learn the name of the molecule and associate it with a brand name... is that what will happen? I think that is the inevitable situation. Now the premise of the ban is the fear of widespread antibiotic resistance particularly in human beings – which we would all agree is a very serious matter – but do you think the case of resistance transfer has been proven, and to what extent do you think that veterinary usage is to blame? This is a complex area. I don’t think there is any clear evidence that the use of an antibiotic in an animal can directly result in antibiotic resistance and treatment failures in humans. As I mentioned earlier it is due to the fact the antibiotics in humans have selected for resistance, and the antibiotics in animals have and do select for resistance, but the lack of evidence would indicate there is no direct correlation for this link between the

APRIL 2013

human resistance and veterinary resistance. Indeed we can see some organisms that are sensitive to antibiotics in animals which are resistant in humans. And of course the vast majority of antibiotics in the veterinary sector are the older, more traditional antibiotics, whereas in humans it is the more advanced antibiotics whose use is limited in the veterinary profession. Which is rather shocking and would tend to undermine the very platform on which this thesis has been built? I can see your point, but we have to remember from a Commission point of view they are there to protect both animal health and welfare and human health and welfare, and one might consider this an over use of the precautionary principle but while this

scientific debate continues we will see this situation stay like it is. So advertising of antimicrobials to vets can still take place, but without some form of coercion on vets to use older classes of antimicrobial molecules or to prescribe less antibiotics, will the desired objective ever be met? Our view at NOAH is we don’t believe the banning of advertising will make an impact on antibiotic resistance. What will have an impact on antibiotic resistance is to ensure the right antibiotic is prescribed for the right condition and that it is used in accordance with instructions. Let’s move on to anthelmintics. As I understand it, these will only be available in due course



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**DF Apr p38 42 AH Interview_Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:42 Page 4

ANIMAL HEALTH on vet prescription and the Suitably Qualified Persons, who are the specially trained people who often work in merchant outlets, will no longer be allowed to sell these without that vet prescription. Is that correct? No. At present anthelmintics are available both as prescription only through the vet (POM-V) but the majority are available under the POM–VPS category, and what that means is that they can be prescribed by vets or by Suitably Qualified Persons. But there has recently been a call by the British Veterinary Association to switch the current VPS medicines into POM–V which would then mean that vets only would be allowed to prescribe them. But I would draw your attention to a communication from the VMD that they are not minded to change the present situation. Let me go back if I may – there is still a resistance problem with sheep and to some extent with cattle, but if this goes ahead how far do you think this will change things – anthelmintics will still need to be administered to sheep but under the direction of the vet rather than the SQP? There are in excess of 4000 SQPs in the country in the more rural areas, and if they were not allowed to supply



or prescribe them it would then be incumbent on the vet profession in these areas to take it up. But I think in many sheep areas where there isn’t that close engagement between the sheep farmer and veterinary surgeon, then the move may not be as effective in terms of communicating to those sheep farmers. I believe the vets’ professional body, the British Veterinary Association, were urging this move on antibiotics and anthelmintics – did they consult with you at any stage, and if not do you feel as a trade body you have been bypassed? They didn’t consult with us directly but of course we have been well aware of the discussion going round a wide group of stakeholders, and I don’t think we have been bypassed. Some may say from a vet’s point of view, banning advertising of antimicrobials is a better halfway house than the alternative which is taking dispensing of medicines totally out of their hands, and asking them to register every prescription of antibiotics and amount used as happens in other countries. This would then be on a central database so it could be seen whether any vet is wildly out of kilter. Do you think such

APRIL 2013

thinking has any element of truth in it? It’s probably not for me to comment on, but I am aware of other member states where this situation does already exist and they still have issues with resistance there. My personal concern was that if vets weren’t allowed to supply the medicine it may mean less engagement between them and the farmer, and I believe vets going on farm play an extremely important role.

and are there any other measures coming down the track? This is where you need a crystal ball. There is a review of the European veterinary medicines directives starting now and the first draft should be out by the end of June. We don’t know the content of this yet. There has been discussion in the European Parliament but the answer to your question is that, yes, I think change is inevitable in some key areas.

I suppose what I was driving at was whether vets would settle for this halfway house as the fear of the alternative, ie even tighter control, would be an even worse spectre for them? I think that is best put to the veterinary profession. We want to make sure all antibiotics are prescribed correctly as it’s more about what is prescribed and how they are used rather than who supplies them.

Is there anything to shock us? No, I don’t think there is as we are probably well fore-warned, and I would expect it to be focused around the subjects we have been discussing here.

Finally, are we just at the start of a tightening up on medicine use

DF_04_P43_DF_04_P43 22/03/2013 10:59 Page 21


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**DF Apr p44 AH Immunity _Layout 1 20/03/2013 16:07 Page 1

ANIMAL HEALTH Dairy farmers have long chosen their bulls on production or type traits, but now there is a new selection kid on the block, immunity, which could have a far reaching impact on the very topical disease of TB. Chris Walkland reports.

Can specific sire choice help in fight against TB?

ith a growing interest in more robust cows, one semen company has followed this through to its logical conclusion. Breeders using Semex’s new Immunity+ range are able to choose sires which have been identified as having the highest immunity status in their bull stud, says the company. Since the immunity trait has been shown to have a heritability similar to that for milk production, using these sires will progressively improve a herd’s resistance to disease, according to Prof Bonnie Mallard from the University of Guelph, Ontario.


But does this increased immunity include TB? Could the technology increase the natural immunity of cows against this disease? That is the six million dollar question an increasing number of farmers are asking Prof Mallard.

Selection The answer, she says, is yes. That’s because TB is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and in order to fight mycobacterial infections a strong immune reaction is required within the animal. Technically the response required is called a Type 1 Cell -Mediated Immune Response (CMIR), and this is one of the things the new technology measures, and which is used to select the

Types of adaptive immunity rOverall immunity is a measure of the strength and effectiveness of both the CMIR and AMIR responses. rSelection for overall immune response strengthens the first and subsequent response to pathogens, and gives a more robust



APRIL 2013

immune system. rBoth CMIR and AMIR have a high heritability ie 25% compared to production traits (heritability of 25% to 30%), conformation traits (15% to 40%), and most health and fertility traits (5% to 10%).

Prof Mallard: immune response.

sires to be classed as Immunity+. (See table). “It is common scientific knowledge a strong CMIR is critical in the control of mycobacterium and there are many scientific articles to prove this," she says. "And since we select Immunity+ bulls to have a significantly higher CMIR than normal sires, it goes without saying that these sires will have a stronger immune response to Mycobacteria tuberculosis (TB),” she adds. Johne’s disease is also caused by a mycobacterium bacteria, so there are also implications for increasing a herd's natural immunity to this disease too. Although it is not yet fully known what effect this technology will have on TB, Prof Mallard’s research showed a

27% reduction in mastitis, 17% less metritis and 32% fewer cases of retained placenta. On TB, the nearest evidence Prof Mallard has relates to Johne’s disease. Work centred on 781 Holstein cows which were tested for paratuberculosis and were placed in four categories: negative, inconclusive, positive, strong positive. Simultaneously, individuals were categorised for their ability to mount a general antibody (AMIR) and cell-mediated immune response (CMIR), and were categorized as low, medium or high. CMIR had a significant association with paratuberculosis infection status. Cows with higher levels of CMIR were less likely to demonstrate evidence of paratuberculosis infection. The conclusion was a higher cell-mediated immune status was associated with a lower probability of paratuberculosis (Johne’s) seropositivity. Other elements reveal that High Immune Response sires also breed offspring with a stronger response to vaccination and cows with higher quality colostrum.

DF_04_P45_DF_04_P45 22/03/2013 10:57 Page 21

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**DF Apr p46 47 Healthy Milking Hold (CORRECT AND READ)_Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:14 Page 1




fficient milk production and maintaining healthy cows is at the heart of all successful dairy farms. For most units, mastitis and cell counts are an ongoing challenge with aspects that, left unchecked, can cause significant financial losses. With this in mind, this new series will be examining some of the main aspects of Healthy Milking. Dairy vet and milking specialist, James Allcock, from Precision Milking goes back to basics. The cluster and the cow’s teat are the site of regular daily contact which by its nature is pressurised, fraught with risk and influenced by many factors, he writes. Mastitis can be the result of many different things. Perhaps the cow picks up bacteria from




In the first in a new series looking at innovation and development in milk harvesting and udder health, we are going back to basics with dairy vet James Allcock from Precision Milking.

Healthy milking – a science or an art?

Hyperkeratosis is common and can help bacteria multiply on teat skin.

bedding or maybe it is from a liner which has not been properly cleaned, particularly if it is old and cracked. However, the actual process of udder infection happens in one way – bacteria are present in significant numbers around the teat end orifice, get into the teat canal and cause mastitis. Hyperkeratosis Many factors make the teat orifice more prone to bacterial infection. Narrow point-ed teats are subject to pressure over a smaller area and this leads to hyperkeratosis – a rough skin surface with folds which are perfect for moist milking organic material to accumulate and for bacteria to multiply.

APRIL 2013

Sudden vacuum variations can also lead to liner slip, one of the consequences of the variation in teat size through the herd. For standard round liners it is difficult to have one liner size fitting all teats. Research has shown adding air above the teat ori-

fice in triangular liners makes the teat less likely to experience variations in vacuum. The addition of air at the mouthpiece helps prevent the vacuum climbing up to high levels during periods of low milk flow such as that which occurs under conditions commonly referred to as ‘over-milking’. It also makes sure air enters behind the milk so minor pressure changes do not change milk flow direction, so milk flow is more efficient. Once inside the teat bacteria may be killed by the cow’s own defences, or may Massage during the ‘closed’ phase must be for sufficient time for fluids to move through the tissue capillaries.

**DF Apr p46 47 Healthy Milking Hold (CORRECT AND READ)_Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:14 Page 2

SPONSORED SERIES A healthy udder

THERE is a large blood supply to the udder – about 400 litres of blood pass through it to produce one litre of milk. Milk is synthesised and then secreted by the five billion cells which line small chambers called ‘alveoli’ in the glandular parts of the udder. Most milk is stored in the alveoli between milkings. Up to a third of the milk volume in the modern dairy cow accumulates in larger chambers which lie just above the teats. These are known as the ‘gland cisterns’. In high yielding cows there is considerable capacity for storage of milk within the gland cisterns. All live body tissues need a regular supply of ‘fuel’ multiply and cause infection. Many advisers believe the cow’s defences depend on teat condition and the impact of the machine milking on tissue circulation. The combination of vacuum and pulsation characteristics on the teat are critical. Correct and appropriate pulsation will massage the teat and the delicate capillaries within it gently and evenly. If pulsation is not working correctly teats can swell up due to accumulation of fluids and

materials and a system for removing the spent ‘waste products’ of cell level metabolism. The tissues of the teat are no different. It is the circulation of blood within the teat that serves to provide this supply and waste removal process. The heartbeat of a cow, and so her blood pressure, governs the way in which her capillaries transport good they may become less able to control bacteria. Blood flow Effective pulsation aims to restore normal flow of blood through the tissues by providing external massage to areas which have been exposed to the milking vacuum. This massage must be occurring with just enough force and for sufficient time to allow blood to flow from the teat. It is also important the tip of the teat is squeezed to a greater extent than

The system

fluids and also waste products to and from various tissues. Studies have shown the disturbances of pressure across the teat during milking can disrupt this process, so limiting the delivery of fuels and the removal of waste. A well-designed pulsating liner has to become a temporary substitute for the normal circulation of blood trapped within the teat that is being milked. It has to gently squeeze the teat at the right point and for sufficient time. If this is not the case, red teats, blue teats or ringing may occur, all leading to teat deterioration and increased mastitis and SCC.

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the barrel. This ensures fluids move correctly. Together, machine vacuum, pulsation settings and liner design ensures the forces are appropriate. While these features are within the control of skilled milking machine engineers, there are also some cow-tocow and operative variables which show fine tuning of milking machine performance is something of an art. For more information, see, or call 0870 731 5010.

BENEFITS By understanding milk harvesting, MilkRite's products allow efficient and effective milking to occur, with minimal negative impact on the teat so improving overall udder health and parlour efficiency. The newly launched Impulse Air liners feature a unique air inlet within the liner’s mouthpiece which prevents vacuum building up and damaging the teat. At the same time it allows the milk to move away more efficiently from the teat, so improving output.

Air can be added at the mouthpiece of the liner.

APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p48 49 50 Milk Prices _Layout 1 22/03/2013 10:32 Page 1


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Muller looking to attract more milk

JLooking to increase the volume of direct supply, Muller is offering a 1ppl recruitment incentive. This is over and above the MWMG standard litre price (30.5ppl for our standard) for all milk produced in the first year. The incentive will be paid at the end of the first 12 months of supply, after which the new supplier will revert to ‘existing member’ status. Existing members not currently aligned to one of the company’s major supermarket customers will have the opportunity of participating in an expansion incentive starting from this April.

Members producing at least 2% more milk than in their previous year’s production will be entitled to the full 1ppl paid at the end of the year. While members who produce equal to or up to 2% will receive 0.5ppl at year end. Members who fail to produce their previous year’s volume will receive no expansion incentive. The new recruitment and expansion incentive is not connected or affected by future market movements in the standard litre price. Our flagship standard will therefore remain at 30.5ppl until the next market related move actually changes the milk price.

JThe first to react to the Muller-Wiseman recruitment drive was farmhouse cheesemaker Parkham Farms, North Devon, which has introduced a new monthly paid 1ppl loyalty bonus from Apr’13 with no conditional tie-in clauses. With suppliers always

having been able to give three months notice to terminate supply contracts and from any month, the company claims to already be working within the terms of the voluntary code. The loyalty bonus is a monthly flat 1ppl paid on all litres and takes our standard

Parkham Farms tops for cheese



APRIL 2013

**DF Apr p48 49 50 Milk Prices _Layout 1 20/03/2013 16:13 Page 2

Milk price analyst Stephen Bradley on the latest milk industry developments.

News in brief...

United base price cut of 0.65ppl JOn the back of its decision to end its monthly milk auction from Feb’13, United cut its Jan’13 base price by 0.65ppl to 28.35ppl taking our standard litre down to 29.24ppl. This means members

have received a milk price cut of 2.65ppl in the first two months of 2013. Given the auction has now ceased, the hope has to be for a more stable United milk price for members moving forward.

Sainsbury’s hits 32.05ppl from April JFollowing its latest quarterly Cost Tracker Model review, Sainsbury’s is to lift its SDDG standard litre price by 0.46ppl to 32.05ppl from Apr’13. The increase follows the previous lift in price of 0.93ppl from Jan’13 and takes our standard litre price for our Muller-Wiseman supplier up 0.46ppl to 32.05ppl. The other two SDDG prices remain at slightly different lev-

els for our standard litre despite having the same level of increase from April. Our Arla SDDG supplier price increases to 31.93ppl after the company’s haulage charge, while our Dairy Crest SDDG supplier price moves up to 31.90ppl, which takes into account our latest rolling 12-month average profile payment of 1.06ppl (for Jan’13) based on RPA figures.

litre (4%bf and 3.3% prot, Bactoscans of 30,000/ml and SCCs of 200,000/ml, 1mltrs/yr on EODC but before seasonality, profile, balancing, capital retentions or annual incentive schemes not directly linked to dairy market price movement) price up to 31.23ppl, making

this the highest milk price for cheese of any buyer we monitor on a regular basis. The company has also increased its volume bonus payments. The scaled bonus runs from +0.15ppl for volumes above 3000ltrs up to 1.8ppl for greater than 14,001ltrs per day.

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**DF Apr p48 49 50 Milk Prices _Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:56 Page 3

MILK PRICES Latest milk prices from D.C – M&S ∞ D.C – Waitrose ∞^ MüllerWiseman – Sainsbury's Central Scotland MüllerWiseman – Sainsbury's England D.C – Sainsbury's MüllerWiseman – Tesco Scotland MüllerWiseman – Tesco England Arla Foods – AFMP Sainsbury's •• Cadbury – Selkley Vale Milk Arla Foods – Tesco •• MüllerWiseman – The Co-op Dairy Group Arla Foods – Standard (former Asda) •• (•••) Caledonian Cheese Co – Profile ‡ Wyke Farms Parkham Farms D.C – Davidstow ∞ Blackmore Vale Farm Cream Barber A.J & R.G Yew Tree Dairy Caledonian Cheese Co Meadow Foods Lakes ± Meadow Foods – Level Meadow Foods – Seasonal Arla Foods – Standard (Former Non-Aligned) •• (•••) Wensleydale Dairy Products Paynes Farms Dairies Grahams Dairies Joseph Heler MüllerWiseman – Aberdeen MüllerWiseman – Central Scotland MüllerWiseman – England D.C – Liquid Regional Premium ∞ ¶ South Caernarfon Arla Foods – AFMP Standard •• (•••) Saputo UK – Level supply # Milk Link – London Liquid (••••) Milk Link – West Country Liquid (••••) Milk Link Rodda's ¢• (••••) Belton Cheese Glanbia – Llangefni (flat) Saputo UK – Seasonal # Glanbia – Llangefni (Constituent) Milk Link – Manufacturing ¢• (••••) First Milk – Highlands & Islands § First Milk – Liquid § First Milk Balancing § First Milk – Cheese § United Dairy Farmers ≠ Average Price

Dec'12 4.0/3.3 Before Seas'lty (i)

32.15 31.97 30.66 30.66 30.51 31.58 31.58 30.54 30.16 31.33 30.50 30.09 30.14 29.25 29.00 28.85 29.20 29.11 29.50 29.64 29.00 29.00 29.00 30.09 29.48 29.91 30.00 27.99 29.50 29.50 29.50 28.85 28.53 30.09 27.96 28.74 28.74 29.15 28.05 28.35 27.66 28.28 28.75 28.46 29.15 28.25 28.00 29.89 29.51

Jan'13 4.0/3.3 Before Seas'lty (ii)

32.15 31.97 31.59 31.59 31.44 31.58 31.58 31.47 32.21 31.33 30.50 30.38 30.24 29.25 30.23 30.10 29.20 30.10 30.50 29.74 30.00 30.00 30.00 30.38 29.48 30.20 30.00 28.99 29.50 29.50 29.50 29.85 29.28 30.38 28.95 28.64 28.64 29.05 29.05 29.10 28.65 29.02 28.65 29.06 29.15 28.50 28.50 29.24 29.97

Jan'13 4.0/3.3 1mltr SAPP **(iii)

32.59 32.36 31.59 31.59 31.88 31.58 31.58 31.46 32.21 31.33 30.50 30.37 30.49 29.25 30.72 30.54 29.20 30.10 30.50 29.74 30.50 30.00 30.00 30.37 29.48 30.20 30.00 29.99 29.50 29.50 29.50 30.29 31.27 30.37 28.95 28.13 28.13 28.54 29.05 29.10 28.65 29.02 28.14 28.28 28.39 27.74 27.73 29.23 29.99

12mth Ave Feb'12 Jan'13 (iv)

31.68 30.72 30.65 30.65 30.56 30.38 30.38 30.25 29.91 29.82 29.54 28.92 28.90 28.85 28.74 28.73 28.68 28.57 28.54 28.40 28.30 28.27 28.27 28.25 28.20 28.18 27.99 27.99 27.97 27.97 27.97 27.80 27.70 27.65 27.63 27.51 27.51 27.47 27.47 27.41 27.33 27.31 27.11 26.94 26.92 26.53 26.52 26.41 28.45

Diff Jan'13 v Dec'12 (i) v (ii)

N/C N/C 0.93 0.93 0.93 N/C N/C 0.93 2.05 N/C N/C 0.29 0.10 N/C 1.23 1.25 N/C 0.99 1.00 0.10 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.29 N/C 0.29 N/C 1.00 N/C N/C N/C 1.00 0.75 0.29 0.99 -0.10 -0.10 -0.10 1.00 0.75 0.99 0.74 -0.10 0.60 N/C 0.25 0.50 -0.65

Notes to table Prices paid for 1mltr producer supplying milk of average constituents 4% butterfat and 3.3% protein, SCCs of 200,000/ml and Bactoscans of 30,000/ml on EODC excluding capital retentions and MDC levies. SAPP = Seasonally Adjusted Profile Price. (i) Dec’12 prices before seasonality. (ii) Jan’13 prices before seasonality. (iii) Seasonally adjusted profile price for Jan’13 taking into account monthly seasonality payments and profiles of supply. ** Seasonal adjusted profile supply for 1mltr supplier (using monthly RPA figures) for Jan’13 = 2,664ltrs/day, flat supply=2,740ltrs/day. (iv) Table ranked on the seasonally adjusted price for the 12mths to Jan’13. § SAPP reflects 12mth profile adjustment of -0.28ppl. ¢ SAPP reflects 2,723ltrs (Aug to Dec’11 daily average) paid as ‘A’ ltrs with the remaining ‘B’ ltrs paid @ 95% of the ‘A’ price (i.e constituents plus Market Related Adjustment) for Jan’13. • No 'B' litres/day applicable for Jan’13 with daily volume of 2,664ltrs/day being below the 'A' volume of 2,723ltrs. 0.5ppl production bonus for Milk Link, First Milk and Glanbia Cheese not applicable for Jan’13 SAPP with daily production not within our 3% tolorance of Jan’12 based on RPA monthly figures.••* No balancing charge from Jul'12 through to Jan’13. ∞ Price before seasonality includes 12mth rolling profile payment of 1.06ppl to Jan’13 (unchanged on previous month). ∞^ Price before seasonality includes 12mth rolling profile payment of 0.45ppl to Jan’13 (unchanged on previous month). ± Price before seasonality includes 12mth rolling profile payment of 0.5ppl to Jan’13 (unchanged on previous month). # Constituent payments priced by volume. ≠ Seasonality built into monthly base price. Arla Foods—AFMP Asda and Non-aligned prices merged into Arla Foods AFMP Standard from Oct'12. (•••) Dec'12 price increase effective from the 10th Dec'12, 0.29ppl increase this month picks up the first 9 days of Dec'12. (••••) Dec'12 increase effective from 3rd Dec'12 with 0.23ppl decrease from 7th Jan'13 combining to result in 0.1ppl cut for Jan'13, futher 0.04ppl cut for first 6 days in Jan’13 captured in Feb’12. ¶ Price includes Regional & Support Premiums. ‡ Non-seasonal price includes 12mth average rolling profile of 0.5ppl to Jan’13 (unchanged on previous month). Tesco milk prices include the 0.5ppl bonus for co-operation with Promar costings. cannot take any responsibility for losses arising. Copyright:



APRIL 2013

DF_04_P51_DF_04_P51 22/03/2013 11:17 Page 21


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- William Thomas, Trevear Farm (Dairy) B<P8;M8EK8><J1 z:fdgc`\j]lccpn`k_9J/''.Ç,'p\Xij[\j`^ec`]\È z9\cfn>ifle[ZfejkilZk`fe]fi^iXm`kp]\\[ zG`g\j#gldgjXe[Ókk`e^jZfee\Zk\[kfnXccj zI\Z\gk`fekXebefki\hl`i\[ zFgk`dld[\gk_]fikXeb\ii\dfmXcXe[kfgjk`ii`e^ z:lkflk]fi\ekip&\o`kg`g\jZXjk`en`k_\Xj\ z8ggc`\[kfjcfg`e^j`k\jÅYli`\[fe\j`[\#]lccp \ogfj\[Xefk_\i


K\c1'(0)++-+)/* email:


EE-3120 -3120 5 50kW 0kW Wind Wind TTurbine urbine

Watch W atch the the full full video video case case sstudy tudyy here: here: w



**DF Apr p52 53 New Products_Layout 1 20/03/2013 16:16 Page 1


NEW products

Seed catalogue 2013 update

JSome of the highest ranking British-bred perennial and hybrid ryegrass varieties, as well as a long lasting red clover, are included in British Seed Houses updated catalogue of quality grass and clover seeds mixtures for 2013. Featuring strongly are intermediate and late heading perennial ryegrasses from the Ibers Aberystwyth University Aber High Sugar Grass breeding programme, with white clover and Puna II perennial chicory an option. Cutting leys include the first commercially available long lasting red clover AberClaret. ■ The catalogue is available to download from, or call 01179 823 691, or 01522 868 714.



This month, we feature the latest hardtop and white clover variety. Plus an online version of an agricultural costings book.

Four-cylinder newcomer for McCormick JMcCormick has unveiled its most powerful and bestequipped four-cylinder tractor in its all-new X7.460 series. Production of the new machine is due to start this autumn. It features a 4.5litre engine, with more than 160hp for draft work and 175hp when the Power Plus boost system is engaged; a semi-powershift transmission with allelectronic operation; and a new cab with a big glass area and ultra-modern controls. Argo Tractors plans to build three versions of the four-cylinder machine, with rated power output

starting at 130hp. Six cylinder variants with power outputs up to 212hp are also planned. New hood styling matches that of the smaller McCormick X50, but the

newcomer has a more striking cab and interior design which sets it apart from current McCormick models. ■ Details on 01302 757 566, or

JLimagrain UK is marketing a versatile, new medium to large leaved white clover variety called Violin. According to the England and Wales Recommended List, it combines high DM yields in the second and third year, with good

persistency. A larger leaf with excellent persistency makes Violin suitable for cutting and grazing leys. Its leaf size confers the potential for high yields, while it also has good persistency under hard defoliation pressure.

In 2013, it will be included in some of Limagrain’s white clover blends, including the pelleted seed blend CloverPlus. Violin is also available to seed merchants. ■ Details on 01472 371 471, or

Limagrain markets new versatile white clover variety

APRIL 2013

**DF Apr p52 53 New Products_Layout 1 20/03/2013 16:16 Page 2


Pocketbook goes online

Truckman adds to its hardtop range

JThe John Nix Pocketbook has launched an online version. Available with the same information as the paperback, it becomes the first agricultural costings book in the UK to go online. Subscribers receive 12 months access, but the special introductory offer of £17.50 is limited. ■ Details from


JAuto Styling Truckman has created the most comprehensive collection of hardtops for the new Ford Ranger after it added two new units to the range. Truckman is now able to offer Double, Space and Single Cab variants of the high roof, high capacity Classic hardtop. The Truckman Classic Single Cab (retail prices are gel white at £1109.06, painted £1640.63 ex-VAT), and the Ranger Utility Top Double Cab (from £1695.54

ex-VAT) are designed for commercial applications. The Classic Single Cab has steel reinforcements and the strongest hardtop rear door available. With its additional high-

roof capacity and high strength integral ladder rack, it also features a high gloss exterior and an easy wash down interior. ■ Details at, or 01325 363 436.

New products are featured in each issue of Dairy Farmer. Please send details and pictures to Jennifer MacKenzie at, or call 01768 896 150.

You can grow Fieldstar almost anywhere • • • •

Grow Fieldstar for maximum energy. Excellent early vigour: Stiff: Not susceptible to eyespot. At 34% dry matter Fieldstar produces more starch than any MGA Listed variety. Available with Take Off.

Only from

APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p54 Donovan _Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:09 Page 1


WORKSHOP tips with Mike Donovan

This month, Mike Donovan tells us about tractor weights and tyre pressures.

Front-end weights

ecently I've been effect on the tractor but have taking an interest very different causes and in ‘power hop’. cures. Power hop is created This is the oscilla- by the interaction between tion which hapdriven front axle and rear, pens when a badly set up and is created by a tension tractor is working hard in or wind-up between the two the field or down the road. drives. The result is the ‘Power hop’, and front and rear tyres its close relation are constantly ‘rear bounce’, breaking and are no good for regaining r's perato o e h t e either driver or traction, and rUsneual to set tydr ing a lo ma r machine, and the flexible es fo ressur d speed. p in the wrong walls of the an circumstances, radial tyres take could cause an up these forces like a accident. spring, and then release Both have much the same them so the tyre jerks back into position. The answer is to allow the front axle wheels to slip more. Apart from tyre pressures, the balance between front and rear needs to be correct. For drawbar applications the tractor needs to have 35% of the total tractor weight on the front axle and 65% on the rear. Hopping is reduced as the front axle tyres are inflated, but you need to be aware of the maximum pressure of the The linkage lifts the box from tyre. Taking weight off



near to the centre.



APRIL 2013

The half-tonne box can have a further half-tonne of weights added.

the front will also help. For bouncing, the cure is to raise rear tyre pressures and add weight to the front. Tyres take a huge quantity of air and adjusting for road and field work is practically impossible, so it boils down to compromise. The front weight is another area where technology has perhaps moved away from the ideal. Front leaves are being replaced by single weights, so the tractor either has a tonne or more on the front or nothing at all. Simon Percival has a large contracting business near Bedale, North Yorkshire, and has found making his own front boxes is well worth it. He makes them with a hinged lid which provides storage for tools and he has added a weight bar

to the front of the box so he can continue to use the older leaf weights. The effect of these is increased by the 0.9m (3ft) extra distance from the front axle. The box weighs half a tonne and the leaves are another half a tonne, which provides a flexible loading on the front axle. Use the operator's manual to set tyre pressures for loading and speed. Setting tyre pressures at a constant psi, as was the regular way with crossply tyres, is no longer adequate.

About Mike

r Mike is a machinery columnist offering tips on building or modifying farm equipment. Sign up for his free newsletter at

DF_04_P55_DF_04_P55 22/03/2013 11:11 Page 21







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DF_04_P56_DF_04_P56 22/03/2013 12:01 Page 22



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Dairy Equipment FABDEC DARI KOOL, BULK MILK TANKS (most sizes available) Ice Builders and Plate Coolers. Parlours designed by the Farmer for the Farmer. Replacement troughs for any parlour. Also secondhand equipment, ACRs, Vacuum Pumps, Motors, Jars, Stainless line, Claws, Pulsators, Milkmeters, Feeders, etc, etc. Everything for the Dairy Farmer Call Vic/Tracey Brown now on Tel: 01260 226261 BRITISH MADE TRIED & TESTED YARDSCRAPERS



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Phone for the South West (01271) 882229 The rest phone (01948) 662910/663143 or fax 663143

APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p58 59 Evans _Layout 1 20/03/2013 16:23 Page 1


GOOD Evans

Curry comb was vital part of my early dairy training

This month, Roger Evans reflects how his early training in dairy hygiene is standing him in good stead when it comes to present day practice.



ow far can you look forward and how far can you look back? Well you can look forward as far as you like, but you would only be guessing. You can look back with some accuracy. The big players in milk procurement are busy fighting for a larger share of the market. They are dangling inducements – inducements they might not fulfil until 2015. They don’t know where their standard litre price will be then and neither do we. We can look back, however, to last year to give us a guide. They wanted to cut the milk price by 4ppl. I can’t see any evidence that tells me that they wouldn’t do that again. When I was about 16 I was forced to enter a Young Farmers milking competition. Lest I should mislead you, this is a very old story. We were required to milk one cow and the cow was tied up in a shippon and milked with a bucket unit, which was the norm for the time. You were required to take with you two smocks, one white and one brown, a milking hat, three buckets, two or three cloths, a curry comb, and one of those old fashioned strip cups with a black lid on it. The competition was judged by the ladies who went about doing dairy inspections. I


APRIL 2013

was going to say they were maiden ladies, but it’s not for me to comment on their sexual status, but wherever you went in the country there always seemed to be single ladies of 50 years or more. To say that most of them had a touch of facial hair would be unkind, but true nonetheless. Best practice in those days was to put on the hat and the white coat and then put the brown coat on top of that. Then with a bucket of warm water, brush and curry comb we would have to groom the cow from roughly its middle backwards. The idea was to remove all loose hair and muck before you milked her. Suitably brushed and combed you would run a damp cloth all over the cow to make sure there was no loose hair anywhere. Even at that tender age, I had worked out that this grooming was a throwback to milking by hand into open buckets, but the spinster ladies hadn’t moved on in their thinking. Next we had to give the udder itself a good wash with warm soapy water and dry it off. Then, and only then, could you apply the machine and milk the cow, but only after you had removed the brown coat. Among all the criteria you were judged on, the most important was cleanliness of milk and woe betide you if you left any milk in the udder. Everyone’s milk was put

**DF Apr p58 59 Evans _Layout 1 20/03/2013 16:23 Page 2


To say that most of them had a touch of facial hair would be unkind, but true nonetheless

through a fresh filter and the filter was held up to the light for inspection. The lady judges also got down with a bucket and stool and squeezed and pulled at each teat, searching for even the tiniest drop of milk. I was competing against seniors who were in their 20’s and more confident than me, so I left the unit on much too long to make sure I had all the milk. So much so I thought the cow’s eyeballs would get sucked in. But I do remember thinking as I cycled home just how ridiculous it had been. My musing led me to the conclusion that if it took you 10 minutes to prepare each cow, then there is no way you will milk more than six cows an hour! But there are lessons to be learned, even from the ridiculous. In our search for high outputs in our parlours we have cut out as much pre-milking preparation as possible. But I sense we are all taking a step back (or forward to a better place) because premilking dipping and taking fore milk from every teat is back in fashion. A lady friend of mine called to pick me up to go to a mastitis meeting. Start again. A lady, who is a friend of mine, called to pick me up to go to a mastitis meeting.

That’s better. You have to be ever so careful as at a previous meeting our lady vet attended and, as she hadn’t been before, the chairman introduced her by saying she was involved with Roger Evans! That’s how rumours start – the fact that I start a lot of them myself is irrelevant. Anyway this lady turns up at our kitchen door. My wife is with a friend and not met her before, so I introduce them and they are weighing each other up, as women do, and an obvious topic of conversation is this friend’s bandaged hand. “What have you done?” “Dislocated my finger.” “How did you do that?” “Trimming a cow’s foot.” I’m just a spectator to all this, but this banter completely throws me. I’ve said often before the main reason we have women is to iron shirts but here we have one that can trim cows’ feet as well! Oh, for such a woman. I’ve never been lucky with women. When I was single I only used to get girlfriends who drank gin and tonic. All my friends met girls who drank halves of mild. Mind you, my girlfriends were better looking though!

APRIL 2013



**DF Apr p60 Finance_Layout 1 22/03/2013 09:59 Page 1


In February we outlined the new payroll system from HMRC which will affect all farm businesses. With the deadline for implementation fast approaching, Kate Pullen from Promar looks at what you will need to do to get started.

How do you get started on RTI? You should review the employment records of all staff to make sure all the information is correct


hanges to the way details of payroll information are reported to HM Revenue and Customs are changing fundamentally from April 6, 2013. Under the Real Time Information (RTI) system employers will have to provide detailed information electronically every time an employee is paid rather than annually as is currently the case. Although the scheme becomes operational on April 6, businesses will actually join the programme between April and October on a date specified by HMRC, and on that date you will have to supply information back to April, so it is vital to start thinking and planning for it now.


Expert opinion rYou will have to provide detailed information every time an employee is paid. This applies to all employees aged 16 and over, irrespective of the amount earned or hours worked.



APRIL 2013

You will have to provide detailed information to HMRC every time an employee is paid. This applies to all employees aged 16 and over, irrespective of the amount earned or the hours worked. It covers all seasonal and casual staff and will capture staff who previously fell outside the PAYE scheme because they earned less than the National Insurance threshold.

Preparation 1. Get registered with HMRC. You will need to register for PAYE online and have a login to the HMRC website. 2. Decide how you are going to submit information. Data provision electronically is mandatory so you will need to make sure your system can handle this. You will need a RTI compliant payroll system. If you have fewer than nine employees you can use software provided free by HMRC. If you have more employees you will have to purchase a payroll package. Alternatively, you could use a bureau service such as that offered by Promar. 3. Get your records in order. All employment records

must be accurate and up to date. It will simply not be permissible to have temporary NI numbers, missing addresses or dates of birth etc. So you should review the employment records of all staff to make sure the information is correct. In addition you will need to make sure you get accurate data for all new employees. You will need to keep accurate records of hours worked. 4. Plan for casual and relief workers. You will need to collect full payroll information on all staff so plan how you will do this. Do you have all the details on regular casual staff and how will you collect it for new casual staff? It must be complete and accurate before you pay them for the first time. 5. Plan how you will schedule providing the data. You will need to be organised to submit data prior to, or at the point, that a payment is made. So if you pay staff weekly they must be reported on weekly. And this includes seasonal workers, casual and relief staff. More information on 01270616 800, or email

Boehringer yellow_Boehringer yellow 22/03/2013 12:41 Page 1

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You know where you are with a box of yellow.

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Reference: 1. Bradley A.J. Bovine Mastitis: An Evolving Disease. The Veterinary Journal 2002; 164:116-128. The advertisement is brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, makers of Ubro Yellow. Advice on the use of Ubro Yellow or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Ubro Yellow contains penethamate hydriodide, dihydrostreptomycin sulphate, framycetin sulphate and prednisolone. UK: POM-V IE: POM. Further information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Email: Date of preparation Feb 2013. AHD 7505. Use Medicines Responsibly. ( Withdraw milk for human consumption for 132 hours after the last Ubro Yellow treatment.


Boehringer WP_Boehringer WP 22/03/2013 10:30 Page 1

With the dairy industry reviewing the use of some antimicrobials in food producing animals, it is likely that the antimicrobial landscape is about to change. You may therefore want to reconsider your routine intramammary treatment for clinical mastitis. Ubrolexin® provides equivalent cure rates (using fewer tubes)1 than the 2nd most commonly used intramammary tube,2 a tube that contains cefquinome, one of the antibiotics under review. 3 Ubrolexin® can get you where you want to be. Without compromise. Talk to your vet.

S T E P T H I S WAY. References: 1. Bradley A.J & Green M.J Journal Dairy Science 2009, 92:1941–1953. 2. GFK data, 2012. 3. Vecqueray R. Proceedings of NEDPA, March 7th 2012. Advice on the use of Ubrolexin or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. This adver tisement is brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim, makers of Ubrolexin. Ubrolexin contains cefalexin monohydrate and kanamycin monosulphate. UK: POM-V. Fur ther information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Email: vetmedica. Date of preparation: Mar 2013. AHD 7548. Withdraw milk from supply for human consumption for 120 hours after the last Ubrolexin treatment. Use Medicines Responsibly (


Dairy Farmer April 2013 Digital Edition  

Dairy Farmer April 2013 Digital Edition