NBA - Autumn Magazine 2021

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Regional Round Ups Guest Writers News & Industry Health Breed Societies Autumn 2021 | ISSUE 20









has our farm st Cows the happierld! in the wo

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References: 1. Philippe-Reversat et al. (2017) Acta Vet BRNO. 86: 325–332 2. Metcalfe et al. (2020) Vet Record Open 7: e000429 3. Ellis et al. (2018) Can Vet J. 59: 1311–1319 4. Metcalfe et al. (2019) Poster presented at EBC, Den Bosch, Sept 19 *Terms and conditions apply. Go to for more information. Bovalto® Respi Intranasal, nasal spray, lyophilisate and solvent for suspension contains Bovine parainfluenza 3 virus (PI3V), modified live virus, strain Bio 23/A 105.0 – 107.5 TCID50 and Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), modified live virus, strain Bio 24/A 104.0 – 106.0 TCID50. Bovalto® Respi 3 Suspension for Injection and Bovalto® Respi 4 Suspension for injection contain inactivated bovine respiratory syncytial virus, strain BIO-24, inactivated bovine parainfluenza 3 virus, strain BIO- 23 and inactivated Mannheimia haemolytica, serotype A1 strain DSM 5283. Bovalto® Respi 4 also contains

inactivated bovine viral diarrhoea virus, strain BIO-25. UK: POM-V IE: POM (E). Advice should be sought from the prescriber. Further information available in the SPCs or from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd, RG12 8YS, UK. Tel: 01344 746960 (sales) or 01344 746957 (technical), IE Tel: 01 291 3985 (all queries) Email: Bovalto® is a registered trademark of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group. ©2021 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: May 2021. BOV-0111-2021. Use Medicines Responsibly.


Autumn 2021 ISSUE 20

12 Front cover photo credit: Country Girl Media EDITOR Julie Holmes National Beef Association Concorde House 24 Warwick New Road Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV32 5JG 01434 601005

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DEPUTY EDITOR Neil Shand CHAIRMAN Andrew Laughton ADVERTISING Julie Holmes 01434 601005 DESIGN, PRINT & PUBLISHING Ghost Design Consultants A National Beef Association Publication A specialist organisation open to everyone with an interest in the UK beef industry.




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NBA give notice that no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior consent of the publishers. Every care is taken when compiling editorial and advertisements and the publishers can accept no responsibility for errors or omissions arising from publication. Views expressed and information contained in The National Beef Association Magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or of the National Beef Association who cannot therefore be held responsible for any reason arising therefrom. Neither the Association, the Publisher nor the Editors endorses any services or products advertised in this Magazine.



Chairman’s Welcome


Chief Executive’s Report


NBA Regional Round Ups


Fertility trumps carcase traits in search for profit in suckler beef herds


Four new Monitor farmers join AHDB’s expanded project


Achieving balance with a low-cost production sysyem


In My Opinion - Nigel Miller


Guest Vet - Sarah Tomlinson


Breed Society Focus - Longhorn


Consistent high performance the key to beef system’s succeess


Breed Society News


Pre-housing checks for older cattle


Tissue Tagging to eradicate BVD

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Chairman’s Welcome

Welcome to the Autumn edition of the National Beef Association’s ‘Beef Magazine’ Andrew Laughton


hank goodness we have had a much better straw harvest this year than we did last! We have gone from producing less than one bale per acre to - in some cases - over four. It’s a huge relief to see cattle resting in their golden beds. As I have referred to in the past, burning straw in power stations is at best questionable from a green point of view, but when it also deprives livestock farmers of good quality bedding which impacts on animal welfare, it shows how flawed Government thinking can be. We operate muck for straw deals with local arable farmers. However, the spectre of arable farmers not being able to spread muck in the Autumn is too crazy for words. Livestock farmers will need over 50% more storage space in the first instance, not necessarily a problem for FYM but for slurrybased systems this would be untenable. In our area, the easiest and most sensible


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

time to spread muck is in the Autumn cultivations. Whilst detail is as yet scarce, it has been a huge worry for both sectors.

Many arable farmers have realised the worth of manure in their depleted soils – the bag doesn’t do anything for the soil structure organic matter. The cornerstone of the ELMS policy is to improve soil health and structure, so in essence we have two arms of Government working in opposite directions. How on earth…! I fully accept that we have to

take our Environmental responsibility seriously, but I do worry that a self-funding Environment Agency appears to be dreaming up rules such as manure spreading and permitting for cattle sites as ways to swell their own coffers. It is akin to the Police being paid on a prosecution basis. One of the challenges of baling straw are the raft of people who think it is some kind of entertainment to set fire to stacks of bales waiting to be carted. We lost one in such circumstances; we saw a car acting suspiciously and even got a number, but the Police are ineffectual because they cannot prove who lit the match. We seem to have a situation where anti-social behaviour, such as fly tipping and arson for fun seem to be able to continue unhindered, whilst farmers are an easy source of income doing the very things we all know they should be doing. Take care, Andrew.







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Chief Executive’s Report

A year of Consultations Neil Shand


ummer always seems to be the shortest season – possibly because it’s the one many of us look forward to the most. This year, as Autumn approaches, the beef industry has plenty to be thankful for. Farm gate prices remain well above the 5-year average - with input prices continuing to increase, it’s a welcome trend. We have fared better than many other industries during COVID– even within agriculture there are those suffering some devastating side-effects of the pandemic – a glance towards the pig industry would leave you shuddering. This year has been one of consultations. The Animal Welfare in Transport consultation was raised in response to a manifesto pledge to ban the export of live animals for slaughter. The Government response to the consultation has been relatively neutral; they plan to stick to that pledge.

We have asked if there will be a reciprocal ban on animals entering the country for slaughter, in particular cattle from ROI into Northern Ireland, and we eagerly await an answer. It is also noted that within their response they promise deeper discussions with industry, and provision of further detail with reference to how markets - and in particular, time spent at markets - will be considered within journey times. This will be a critical part of future discussions, which will also include a call for clarification in regard to the use of the phrase ‘external temperatures’. This surely


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

remains an uncorrected error, as it is obviously internal transport temperature that matters. The next consultation heading our way concerns labelling; we understand it will look at labelling linked to animal welfare and production types, and possibly even a light-touch look at ecolabelling. We would welcome labelling that highlights animal welfare standards; it would be a great way of highlighting differences between home-produced and imported beef - assuming we can get enough information on imported products. It wouldn’t come without risk – any differences in domestic welfare could be exposed, opening areal can of worms. Ecolabelling could be a complete minefield and an opportunity for the “antis” to try and capitalise on meat-free alternatives that may not be subject to eco-labelling; it’s a consultation to watch very closely. The summer’s controversial topic appears to have been all about Geronimo. Social media, and even the mainstream news, appear to be transfixed by the story of the imported alpaca with TB - I’m pretty sure everyone has heard about his owner’s

struggle with Defra policy. While the disease - and its accompanying emotions - are a common feature of many farming lives, this is the first real case the general public have encountered, and Geronimo’s owner has done her level best to keep his name in the media spotlight. As an industry, we are all quick to criticise Defra, but on this occasion I think a few compliments are in order. Against a backdrop of media propaganda, and with animal liberation groups jumping on the bandwagon, Defra acted quickly to release a factual and clear blog post to counteract the media storm. They have stuck to their policies; whilst fighting against a circus which was not of their creation or choice, Geronimo was collected and euthanised as required by law. The whole sorry saga has had the side-effect of highlighting the grief and pain felt by farmers who lose their livestock to this terrible disease. Once the dust has settled on this individual story, it is hoped that the emotional toll of losing cattle to TB which farmers face on a regular basis - will perhaps be viewed in a different light by the general public.


When used as part of a comprehensive approach to BVD including culling of PIs and biosecurity.

References: 1. Yarnall and Thrusfield (2017) Vet Record doi: 10.1136/vr.104370 2. Kynetec (2019) BVD sales data by value. Full year 2018 3. For active immunisation of cattle against BVDV-1 and BVDV-2, to prevent the birth of persistently infected calves caused by transplacental infection. Bovela lyophilisate and solvent for suspension for injection for cattle contains modified live BVDV-1, non-cytopathic parent strain KE-9: 104.0– 106.0 TCID50, modified live BVDV-2, non-cytopathic parent strain NY-93: 104.0–106.0 TCID50. UK: POM-V. Further information available in the SPC or from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd, RG12 8YS, UK. Tel: 01344 746957. Email: Bovela is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH, used under licence. ©2019 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: Jul 2019. AHD12633. Use Medicines Responsibly.

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Could trace mineral deficiency be holding back the performance and profitability of your herd? Breeding Cows One of the key performance indicators on farm and a major determining factor for farm profitability is a compact calving pattern. Adequate trace mineral nutrition is vital for reproductive performance in cattle and deficiencies can lead to: impaired ovulation, decreased conception rates, infertility, erratic, weak or silent heats and foetal resorption. 1,2,3

Indeed in recent years, trial work has shown that strategic trace mineral supplementation with Multimin™ pre-calving and prebreeding can help to improve calving distribution, with 77.5% of treated cattle calving in the first 20 days versus 65% in the control group.5

incidence of diarrhoea and 7.5% lower incidence of pneumonia and/or otitis than non-treated calves. They also had improved immune function.8


So why not speak to your vet to find out how strategic trace mineral supplementation could benefit the performance and profitability of your herd.

Despite the widespread use of oral mineral dietary supplementation, oral trace minerals are often poorly absorbed by cattle.

Given that the cost of pneumonia is estimated to be at least £82 per suckler calf,9 and that the cost of scour is at least £123 per scouring calf and £37 per calf born,10 treating calves with Multimin™ could deliver a very healthy return on investment.

Oral mineral nutrition is essential for the maintenance diets of cattle but at critical phases in production like breeding, increased demand for minerals, variable oral intake, rumen antagonism and poor absorption can mean oral minerals may not be enough to ensure cattle are in adequate trace mineral status to meet the profitable targets of a compact calving. Trace Mineral Absorption4

In calves, diseases of significant importance: diarrhoea, perinatal mortality and vaccine failure have all been linked to inadequate trace mineral status.6

Multimin™ is a unique combined trace mineral injection for cattle, containing zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Administered by injection it is not subject to interactions and absorption effects in the rumen and acts rapidly, providing a fast, easy and accurate way to boost essential trace minerals ahead of times of high demand, such as breeding, to help improve cattle fertility and performance.


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

It is well reported that the trace mineral status of new-born calves is directly related to that of their dams. Significant mineral transfer happens in the last trimester of pregnancy, so at birth, the liver’s trace mineral levels in calves are typically higher than those of their dams. However, post birth, cow’s milk is an exceptionally poor source of trace minerals and as calves grow, they rapidly deplete their trace mineral stores.7Indeed by 56 days old, calves have used up to 75% of the trace minerals they received from their dams’ in utero. Studies using Multimin™ in calves have shown that treated calves had 8% lower

References 1.Hostetler C.E, et al., Vet J. 2003 Sep;166(2):125-39. 2. Underwood, E.J. (1981) The Mineral Nutrition of Livestock. 2nd Edition, Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux, Slough. 3. Wilson, J. G. 1952. Vet. Rec. 64:621–623. 4. Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle, National Research Council, Seventh Revised Edition, 2001. 5. Mundell J.R. et al. The Professional Animal Scientist 28, 82–88 (2012). 6. Enjalbert F. Revue Méd. Vét., 2009, 160, 8-9, 429-435 7. Suttle N. P., 2010 Mineral Nutrition of Livestock, 4th Edition 2010. 8. Teixeira A.G.V. et al J Dairy Sci 2014. 9. AHDB Calf enteritis and septicaemia. 10. Andrews A.H., BCVA Spring 2000. Vol. 8, Part 2. MULTIMIN solution for injection for cattle. Further information available from Virbac Ltd, Woolpit Business Park, Windmill Avenue, Woolpit,Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP30 9LP. Tel 01359 243243. UK POM-V .Advice on the use of this medicine, or alternatives, must be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Use medicines responsibly

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Boost trace mineral supply and get your cattle ready to perform! Unique combined trace mineral injection Shown to improve cattle health, performance and immunity1,2,3 For more information speak to your veterinary surgeon today References. 1. Machado VS et al. Vet. J. 197:451-6. 2. Mundell LR et al. The Profess. Anim. Sci. 28, 82–88. 3. Arthington J. et al. J. Anim. Sci 90, 1966–1971. MULTIMIN™ solution for injection for Cattle. UK: POM-V . Further information on the SPC available from: Virbac Ltd. Unit 16 Woolpit Business Park, Windmill Avenue, Woolpit, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk IP30 9UP. Tel: +44 (0) 1359 243243 For advice on the use of this or alternative medicines consult your veterinary surgeon Use medicines responsibly

Industry News

Fertility trumps carcase traits in search for profit in suckler beef herds


Pick’s 2019 Nuffield Farming Scholarship, sponsored by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and Worshipful Company of Butchers.

This topic became the focus of AHDB’s Knowledge Exchange Manager, Sarah

Sarah’s scholarship took her to the USA, Canada and Australia as well as Scotland and Ireland. “What really surprised me was

ith the changes in agricultural payments around the corner, there has never been a more poignant time for suckler herd producers to home in on how they can make their herd more efficient and more profitable. Worryingly, AHDB figures found that the average suckler producer in England is losing £196 per cow put to the bull before subsidies and with these gradually being transitioned out, what can the suckler herd do to ensure it has a sustainable future?


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

Sarah says: “Being a beef farmer’s daughter and working for AHDB, I understand the challenges suckler farms face. I wanted to do this scholarship to better understand the key drivers of profitability and the practices other countries are implementing to reduce costs.”

that each suckler farmer I visited had a clear breeding policy which focused heavily on maternal attributes,” Sarah commented. An economic study suggests that fertility is five times more important than growth rate and ten times more important than carcase quality to the suckler producer, so were we missing a trick here in the UK? One of Sarah’s visits was to Canadian rancher, Jerry Holtman. He ran 360 composite suckler cows in Alberta. He asked: “Why as suckler producers do we focus so much on the finishing animal when 70% of the cost of that animal relates to the suckler cow?”

Industry News

Jerry has been selecting for fertility for many years, and in 2019 achieved a 93% conception rate within a 55-day breeding period. Sarah says: “There are big improvements the UK can make in terms of fertility. Currently only 82% of suckler cows produce a calf each year which means 18% of cows are being kept and are not producing any output.” The way cows are managed as youngstock has a huge impact on their lifetime reproductive performance. Therefore, in order to improve fertility, heifers need to be managed effectively and unproductive cows culled, removing any sentimentality. Sarah says: “Calving heifers at two-years of age reduces costs whilst increasing the number of calves the cow produces over her lifetime. In the UK only 35% of suckler producers implement this practice, however, in other countries I was surprised to hear that it has been commonplace since the 1970s.” It seems calving at two-years of age is nonnegotiable in most parts of the world. Sarah continues: “It’s a great way of indirectly selecting for fertility because only your most fertile heifers will have reached puberty by 15 months of age and any barrens can easily be finished by the 30-month cut-off date.” However, Sarah acknowledges that calving at two years isn’t all plane sailing and does require good management. “Calving at two is a really effective way of reducing costs, with the most progressive herds in the UK having a 30% lower replacement cost. However, its success is heavily underpinned by nutrition, genetics and selection. “We shouldn’t fight to keep unsuitable heifers within the herd. Creating weight targets, implementing tight breeding patterns and applying rigorous visual and genetic selection criteria to ensure that only the most productive heifers enter the herd is key.”

Sarah strongly believes that to improve fertility and the success of calving heifers at two years of age, the suckler industry must start focusing on maternal performance. Genetics plays a key part in this, choosing sires with strong maternal estimated breeding values (EBVs) including calving ease, milk, mature size and age at first calving. Sarah says: “Irish suckler producers have also recognised the importance of maternal traits and have recently developed a replacement heifer index which is available across breeds.” Inspired by what she learnt during her Nuffield Scholarship, Sarah, along with her colleagues at AHDB have been developing the AHDB Maternal Matters campaign which will incorporate key findings from her study. It will focus on how suckler producers can improve the maternal performance of their herd by focusing on heifer development and breeding. Sarah says: “We will be running a series of on-farm meetings, press articles, webinars and podcasts with handy tips on heifer development and lifetime fertility. We will also be asking farmers to share their experiences by recording short videos, which we will then publish on social media. We really want to get the industry talking and sharing ideas.” James Shouler will be one of the farmers who will be sharing his experiences. James runs a herd of 65 Simmental cows near Bicester, Oxfordshire and over the last couple of years has really focused on selecting heifers which fit his grass-based system.

James says: “I want a cow that rears a calf every year, is cheap to feed and produces at least seven to eight calves in her lifetime. They need to be low input and low management. We had some fairly big Simmentals which were driven by chasing 200-day and 400-day weights. I want to bring this back to around 700kg to reduce maintenance costs.”

James Shouler In the past, James has tried calving at twoyears of age, however, he struggled to get his first calvers to rebreed. James says: “I realise now, I had just got the management wrong, I went to see a couple of farmers who had been doing it for a decent amount of time and learnt from them. It’s just about getting nutrition right and using easy calving, maternal bulls.” James has now been calving his heifers at two-years of age with success for the past two years. He will be discussing more about this heifer replacement policy in an episode of the AHDB Food & Farming podcast released on 18 October. Find it here: https://

Maternal Matters An AHDB initiative putting a spotlight on the importance of maternal performance in driving profitability in the suckler herd. The series includes: •

How improved maternal performance reduces cost

Using maternal genetics to breed profitable females

Calving heifers at two to reduce cost of production

Reducing calf losses

Heifer management for rebreeding success

To find out more about the AHDB Maternal Matters campaign visit

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Focus on AHDB’s new Monitor Farms

Four new Monitor Farmers join AHDB’s expanded project A

HDB’s Farm Excellence programme has been expanded again this year after ongoing success with its Strategic Farms. It has recruited four new Monitor Farmers who will join the 14 existing Strategic beef and sheep farms.

Introducing AHDB’s new Monitor Farms

These farmers will embark on an exciting four year programme, which will see them work with consultants, farmers and other industry specialists to make changes to their business which in turn will drive profitability.

Harry Sordy farms at Alnham Farm, which has been in the Sordy family for over 90 years. Located within the Northumberland National Park and rising to 1350ft, the 1450ha mixed farm comprises 80ha arable land, 15ha of kale mix and approximately 100ha of temporary pasture with the remainder permanent pasture and temporary grassland.

A key part of the programme is encouraging farmers in the region to be part of the Monitor Farmers journey. Sarah Pick, Knowledge Exchange Manager, said: “Each Monitor Farmer will host a number of on farm events over the four year project. It’s really important that farmers attend these events, we want them to share their experiences and discuss possible solutions to the challenges the Monitor Farmer – and they themselves face.” Topics discussed during these events include making the most from grass and forage, improving animal performance and how to adapt to the changes in support payments. The topics discussed will be relevant to the Monitor Farm business and specific regional challenges. As well as on farm events, each Monitor Farmer will also deliver webinars and podcasts which you can listen to in your own time.


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

Harry Sordy, Northumberland

Harry runs a herd of 240 spring calving Aberdeen Angus x Simmental cows, with youngstock sold either as stores at 10-12 months of age or finished at between 18-20 months. The farm also has a flock of 3000 hill and upland breeding ewes. Sordy said: “I’m thrilled to have been chosen to take part in the project. Joining the programme offers my family business a unique opportunity to surround ourselves with like-minded farmers and industry experts, giving us the best possible chance to take our business forward. It’s a fantastic way to open doors to other farmers at a time when the industry is faced with an incredible amount of change and I look forward to welcoming guests to our on-farm events.”

Focus on AHDB’s new Monitor Farms Ian Farrant, Herefordshire Ian Farrant, along with his family, finish 750 dairy beef cattle each year, sourced mainly from the family dairy business. Underley, is a grazing approved finishing unit, with calves purchased at between two weeks and two months old and finished predominantly from grass by 16-21 months of age. The Farrant family moved to Underley 15 years ago, separating the beef finishing from the family dairy business located in Oxfordshire. The 250ha farm lies on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border and comprises grassland with a mixture of permanent pasture and ryegrass/white clover leys with 40ha of maize, 60ha of wheat and a hazelnut orchard. Farrant said: “We’ve been involved with similar projects in the past and found it a great opportunity to get outside advice and opinions on our business. It’s slightly nerve-wracking to open your farm to others, but we’ve found it’s so valuable to share ideas and gain advice from other local farmers. “The key focus for us is looking at soil health, a better use of mixed species leys and using our farmyard manure more efficiently. But we’re always open to new ideas and suggestions from others and I look forward to seeing it evolve.”

Rob and Liz Priest, Devon Rob and Liz Priest do not stray away from a challenge and are currently in the process of moving to a new farm in Cornwall. However their aim will always remain the same, producing beef and lamb organically and from grass. They run a herd of 75 Stabiliser suckler cows, which will be moving with them to the new farm. All youngstock are finished from predominantly grass and forage at around 24 months of age. Rob and Liz are strong believers in the benefit of rotational grazing and have been carrying out the practice for the past five years. As well as the cattle, the couple also farm a flock of 480 ewes, split into two groups, indoor and outdoor lambers. Ewes consist of Aberfields, Highlanders and Mule crossbreeds with lambs sold deadweight. Liz Priest said: “I have been following the progress of the other Strategic Farmers over the past few years and watched what they have achieved and wanted to give it a go.” Rob Priest added: “We are very driven by facts and figures and like to be honest with people and share our information. We are hoping the programme will push us and push the business if we are answerable to other people.” The couple have recorded a podcast and is available at: https://ahdb.

David Cross, Norfolk Located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in northwest Norfolk, David farms in partnership with his father John as tenants of Sedgeford Hall Estate. A closed flock of 900 ewes tupped by EasyRams run alongside multiple arable enterprises including barley, wheat, potatoes and sugar beet. Of the 360ha of tenanted land, 80ha of temporary grassland feature heavily within the arable rotation whilst around 30ha are sub-let to a free range pig operation. Cross said: “I am keen to develop a resilient farming operation that isn’t dependent on subsidies. This will allow me to viably integrate my sheep with the farm’s arable enterprises while ethically promoting the environment. Being an AHDB Monitor Farmer gives me and other farmers the chance to learn and discuss how we could achieve these goals and ensure our farming businesses remain compliant and robust for the years ahead.” Pick added: “We hope you are excited as we are about following these farmers’ journeys over the next four years and we look forward to seeing you at their events”.

Join a discussion group Over the next couple of months a discussion group will be set up around each Monitor Farm. The topics discussed during these meetings will be solely driven by the needs of the members of the group. Sarah says: “discussion groups are a great way to share ideas and challenges in greater detail with other likeminded farmers. It also provides an opportunity to benchmark, if that’s something you’re interested in”. To find out more about the discussion groups please email: sarah.

Dates for your diary Nine of our Strategic Farmers finish the project this year. They are hosting final on farm events this autumn to discuss the changes they have made over the four year project and the impact this has had on their business. •

Mark Jelley, Northamptonshire, 5 October

Bertie Newman, Dorset, 7 October

David Barton, Gloucestershire, 12 October

Ian Norbury, Cheshire, 14 October

Johnny Haimes, Devon, 19 October

Joe Howard, Nottingham, 11 November

Edward Dean, Cumbria, 23 November

Guy Prudom, North Yorkshire, 30 November

To find out more and to book your free place at one of thea events, visit: To find out more about the Farm Excellence program and to follow our new Monitor Farmers’ progress, visit: www.ahdb.

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Achieving balance with a low-cost production system Aiming for low-cost production alongside a healthy worklife balance, led brothers Aled and Iwan Evans to focus on producing high-quality grazing and homegrown forage.


or us, it’s all about balance,” explains Aled. “We want our system to be as low cost as possible while still achieving our production goals so having the right homegrown feed is vital. It means we reduce our need for bought-in concentrates and minimise risk when markets are volatile. But having a good work life balance is important too so we make decisions based on the data and plan well in advance.”

across the grazing season, with animals normally changing cells every 24 hours. The platform has been designed to carry 2000kg/liveweight/ha with stock allocations based on this figure. To keep an eye on

things, we measure grass growth weekly using a plate meter and are currently trialling the Ruumi satellite grass growth measurement system.”

Aled aims to graze for around 270 days a year, with only home-grown grass and red clover silage fed when grazing is not possible. This year grass is on target to grow 15.8 tDM/ha with 38kg N/ha – up from 13.2tDM last year. Grass is sampled every two weeks, with early August results showing 11.8 ME, 20.5% crude protein and a D-value of 75%, giving a feed cost of 5p per kg/DM. “We manage the grazing platform rotationally using TechnoGrazing principles,” says Aled. “TechnoGrazing involves mapping the whole farm using GPS and breaking down the grazing areas into cells. These cells are allocated to different stock groups

Farm Facts • Rest Farm, Carmarthenshire • 550 acres • 650 cattle as part of beef rearing and finishing unit • 750 New Zealand Romney and Highlander breeding ewes • Additional store lambs

Aled Evans


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

• 128 acres as a TechnoGrazing platform

Feature Beef cattle on rotational grazing platform based on TechnoGrazing principles

This measured approach to grazing management is having a positive effect on livestock performance. Cattle transitioned onto spring grass are gaining 1.5-1.6 kg/day, and lambs raised from birth to slaughter gaining over 300-400 g/day on grass followed by white clover. Aled uses Germinal Aber High Sugar Grass mixtures including Aber HSG3 with the latest ley including plantain to increase diversity and drought tolerance. “In our rotation we use a mixture of highsugar grasses, white clover and plantain, alongside red clover and forage crops, including hybrid brassicas,” Aled explains. “Picking the right grass mixture is an important step in the reseeding process and really makes a difference to the productivity of a ley. Aber HSG mixtures have enabled us to produce 13-15tDM/ha/year over the past few years, helping us reduce cost of production. We also like to use red clover as it’s a great way to introduce more homegrown protein into the diet, and its nitrogenfixing abilities help reduce fertiliser costs. “Adding a brassica crop into the rotation suits our system well. Not only does it act as a good break crop before a grass reseed, but it also provides an additional source of home-grown forage and protein when demand is high.

“The hybrid brassica, Redstart, is particularly useful because of its ability to establish aggressively and turn around quickly. Achieving a good yield relatively quickly is key as this means we avoid taking land out of the grazing platform for too long.” Aled alternates between spring and autumn reseeds depending on stock numbers and demand levels each year. “If we have more bought-in store lambs, we plant the forage

crop in autumn to meet the feed demand in January and February, before carrying out a spring reseed. But if we have lots of breeding ewes, we sow a forage crop in spring, such as stubble turnip or Redstart, to meet the grazing demands of lambs and ewes in the drier summer months. We will then carry out a grass reseed in the autumn, and this is what we have done this year. We planted stubble turnips in the spring and we’re now going in with an autumn reseed to include Aber HSG, plantain, timothy, white clover and red clover. “All our reseeding decisions, including time of year, are very much based on data. As well as our grass growth figures taken throughout the year, we use FARMAX NZ software to visualise the entire grazing platform and test out different scenarios up to a year in advance. Following this approach, the percentage we aim to reseed each year can vary but is normally around 10%.”

Aled holding grass mixture containing clover

Weekly grass growth measurements using a plate meter

All reseeding on Aled’s farm is carried out by a contractor. “For us this is another way of keeping the costs low,” explains Aled. “We are trying to avoid keeping too much expensive equipment on farm so using a contractor helps avoid this. They are also specialists in what they do with the latest machinery, increasing the likelihood of getting a really good fine, firm seedbed. “Using a contractor has also given us the chance to try direct drilling for the first time this year. We’re hoping this helps us improve our soil structure and organic matter content, as well as reduce our carbon footprint. “To keep our system costs low without affecting productivity is all about planning ahead and making reseeding decisions based on data. This ensures we are always being proactive rather than reactive and helping us achieve the best results we can.”

Hybrid brassica, Redstart

Stubble turnip, Vollenda

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Consistent high performance the key to beef system’s success The combination of high energy moist feeds and fast growth is resulting in a highly efficient finishing period at Lilburn Estate’s bull finishing unit in Northumberland, producing extremely consistent results in a sustainable and highly profitable operation.


beef production system that has remained largely unchanged for 25 years, Lilburn Estate’s bulls are slaughtered at just over 13 months of age after an intensive finishing period based on moist co-product feeds, not cereals. After weaning at six months, bulls are finished in seven months and one week – an average lifetime liveweight gain (LWG) of around 1.6kg/day. Carcases average 365kg dressed carcase weight (DCW) with a 55% killing out percentage, and are predominantly R4s, with approximately 35% Us, depending on breed. Mortality rate is just 2%. “We’ve tried other systems in the past, but nothing works as well as the moist feed mix we get from KW,” outlines head cattle


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

steward Davey Heads. “In addition to the mix, the bulls have free access to water, rock salt and straw in racks, and get a vitamin and mineral premix that includes Vistacell live yeast and rumen buffer.” The moist feed mix is created during clamping, with all feeds delivered by KW at the same time. The three feeds – C*Traffordgold wheat-gluten moist feed, Maxibeet sugar beet feed and processed bread – are mixed on the floor in a ratio of 6:2:1 and stacked to a height of around 3m, excluding as much air as possible. After adding a sprinkle PDV salt, the clamp is then sealed with a layer of cling film and covered with polythene sheet. The mix is ready to feed out immediately, and will keep for up to 18 months.

Lilburn Estates Davey Heads


Rapid beef finishing

Moist feed benefits

Driving feed intake

“The bull calves come into the finishing unit straight after weaning at six months old, and we split them into groups of 40– 50 based on weight,” Mr Heads explains. “They’re kept in straw yards, and stay in the same groups until they go to slaughter.

According to KW nutritionist Dr Anna Sutcliffe, moist feeds have a lot to offer when it comes to efficient beef finishing.

“Achieving consistently high intakes is essential for efficient finishing,” Dr Sutcliffe continues. “Moist feeds are highly palatable, cut ration dust levels and reduce ration sorting, all of which improve both the level and consistency of intake.

“The shed holds 700 cattle, and we’re currently finishing 1,240 bulls and 1,000 heifers each year. Each bull eats around 2.6t of the moist mix, which works out at an average of 12kg/hd/day, and you can see how good the ration is by the consistency of the muck and the performance we’re getting.” In contrast to the rapid finishing for the bulls, any heifers not earmarked as replacements for the suckler herd or destined to be sold as breeding stock follow a more extensive route to slaughter. Autumn-born calves weaned in the spring go out onto good grazing, then spend a second winter on grass silage before heading to the finishing unit for 2–3 months on the same moist mix as the bulls. Spring-born heifers are overwintered in straw yards on grass silage, with a second grazing season followed by the same 2–3 months in the finishing unit. Typically consuming around 0.8t of the moist mix, the heifers are typically finished by 19-20 months of age, producing carcases of around 310kg DCW.

“The main objective when finishing cattle is to combine fast muscle growth with the fat cover needed to meet carcase specification, and for minimum time and cost,” she states. “Ration energy density and dry matter intake (DMI) are the critical factors determining cattle energy intakes, growth and fat deposition,” she says. “Balanced with the correct amount of protein, the result is faster finishing that requires less feed and produces greater margins per head.” The C*Traffordgold wheat-gluten moist feed used at Lilburn Estate, for example, contains 13.4MJ ME/kg DM of energy and 20% crude protein. Unlike other moist feeds, the energy from C*Traffordgold comes from a balance of highly digestible fibre, starch and yeast fragments.

“The digestible fibre also reduces the incidence of acidosis and eliminates most of the typical gut problems and immune challenges associated with cereal-based diets. So you get faster, more uniform growth and finishing.” The subsequent improvement in carcase consistency increases average carcase value, whilst the more efficient nutrient utilisation generally reduces total feed costs. “You can tell from the smooth, well-digested muck that the feed value in the ration is going into growth, not being wasted,” she adds. “Moist feeds also require no processing before being fed, and can be clamped outside to free up shed space. “As for all finishing, a good supply of clean fresh water is essential, plus access to straw to stimulate proper rumen function. But get it right, and the results will outperform nearly all traditional cereal-based rations,” concludes Dr Sutcliffe.

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


NBA Regional Round-ups

REGIONAL COUNCIL CONTACTS NORTHERN William Walton - Chairman Northumberland, NE47 Email:

SOUTH WEST Robert Venner - Chairman Email: Phoebe Hart - Secretary Tel: 07309 666895 Email: phoebe.hart@

WALES Contact Head Office Tel: 01434 601005

NORTHERN IRELAND Stephen Heenan - Chairman County Down, BT30 8RT Tel: 07889 159496 Email:

SCOTLAND David Barron - Chairman Email: Duncan Todd - Secretary Kilmarnock KA3 2TN Tel: 07734 812704 Email:



The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

NBA Regional

s p u d n Rou

Northern Ireland

CAFRE Bursary Winner 2020 - Richard McNabney. I am Richard McNabney and I am delighted to be the recipient of the 2020/21 National Beef Association Bursary. I am 19 years old and come from Broughshane, County Antrim. On our home farm we have suckler cows and sheep as well as a contracting business, with our main work involving spreading lime throughout all of County Antrim. I went to secondary school in Cullybackey College outside Ballymena and achieved 10 GCSE’s, with my favourite subject being Agriculture in which I got D*D*. I left school after GCSEs and enrolled at CAFRE, Greenmount Campus where I completed the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture qualification. I achieved D*D*D*and in September 2020 progressed to the Honours Degree in Agricultural Technology which is a Queen’s University Belfast, Honours Degree delivered jointly by CAFRE and QUB. I have always been interested in agriculture and chose to study agriculture at College as I am keen to learn and expand my knowledge within the subject. The Honours Degree in Agricultural Technology includes a placement year and I am hoping to complete this in the agri-food industry in either the red meat or milk processing sectors. A placement in industry will help broaden my experience of agriculture as I have already completed a full years’ placement on a farm for my Level 3 qualification, as well as having hands on experience of farming on my home farm. I am also considering completing my placement outside Northern Ireland and am considering travelling to New Zealand to experience a different

culture and system of farming. The NBA Bursary will help greatly with travel costs, if this is the route I take. After graduating from the Honours Degree I am unsure as to what direction I am going to take. I have the option of going home to the family business where my two brothers and my father currently work or I may look for a job in the industry to widen my experience before going home. My ultimate aim in the future is to be able to farm fulltime. Richard McNabney

NBA Regional Round-ups

Scottish Beef Association Scotland’s rural politics seems to have been on ice since we wrote our last column in May. At that time we called on the then ‘new’ Cabinet Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, to get on with implementing the outputs of the Suckler Beef Climate Group Programme Board which had brought forward some progressive and achievable actions to help the industry reduce its already globally low emissions.

Unfortunately, whilst COVID remains a headline grabber, our industry must now take note of the recent power-sharing agreement signed at Holyrood between the SNP and the Greens. At face value this seems to present a real challenge for our beef farming industry and the SBA Board will make a sustained effort to engage with our elected politicians as we continue to highlight the many benefits that beef farming brings to the wider Scottish environment and economy. There is little doubt that there has been a ‘Green’ influence in yet another new group set up to examine the future of the industry – the Agricultural Reform Implementation Oversight Board (ARIOB) which was established just in time to meet the government’s 100-day manifesto commitment. We are delighted that SBA Director, Scott Henderson, will join the ARIOB, however

we also realise the challenge facing all the farmer representatives is huge given the heavy influence held by the environmental lobby and the ongoing involvement of senior civil servants who have already shown their desire to slash our national beef herd by advocating the needless slaughter of over 300,000 healthy cattle. SBA Chair, David Barron, recently met with Ms Gougeon and pressed her for information on her plans for the future of the industry. This was part of a range of topics that were discussed, however reducing emissions and striving for Net Zero remains the key priority for the Scottish Government and will dominate discussions for some time to come. Away from politics, Scotland’s cattle keepers recently received a letter informing them that the transition from the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) operated by BCMS to ScotMoves+ operated by Scot EiD is underway. Abattoirs and livestock markets are in the process of moving over and from 4th October 2021 all cattle births, deaths and movements in Scotland should be reported to Scot EiD. We welcome this transition and the modernisation that comes with it. This change over promises better use of the data generated on Scottish beef farms and more access for farmers which, in the longer

term, will aid on farm decision making. Feedback so far is that the Scot EiD team have been working hard with all industry stakeholders to make the transition as smooth as possible and we will continue to offer our support to Scot EiD as they move through this process. Looking back on 18 months of cancelled shows and events due to COVID19 restrictions, the SBA Board feel that the agriculture events calendar for 2022 could be very congested as many play catch up with several rescheduled events already being shoehorned into an already busy schedule. We view Scotland’s Beef Event as the flagship gathering for Scotland’s beef sector and we want to make sure it holds pride of place in the farming calendar. To make sure of that the Board are now planning for a great event in 2023. As we see COVID restrictions being eased and sales and shows becoming more open to everyone we continue to ask everyone to be aware of the guidance in place when attending shows and markets. It is a critical time of year and we want to see all of our members stay safe during the hectic backend. Neil Wilson

South West The South West NBA enjoyed a highly informative and very pleasant farm walk at Warson Farm, Lydford, Okehampton on Tuesday 27th July, courtesy of David and Sylvia Andrews. Attendees enjoyed a beef burger and salad, a discussion on the Good Beef Index and then a walk around the Warson herd of pedigree Aberdeen Angus. David is pushing the slaughtering industry to change the way it values and pays for finished cattle. Details of David’s innovative approach maybe found on Our thanks go to David and Sylvia for a most enjoyable evening. South West members are also busy organising this year’s Agrifest Show, which is to be held at Westpoint, Devon County Show Ground on Wednesday 3rd November. There will be a prime stock show for cattle and sheep, calf shows for beef and dairy, the South Devon Herd Book performance Championship, the Harper Feeds young bull of the year competition, tradestands, and on farm machinery demonstrations, wich this year will be held at Roy and Troy Stuart’s. Access to The Stuart’s will be gained via minibus from the show. Along with a full schedule of seminars, it is looking to be a very full day. Beef prices still continue apace, so members are generally content with their lot and hopefully will be able to enjoy a day out at Agrifest in due course. Rob Venner AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Guest Vet | James Russell

t e V t s Gue James Russell

Outgoing President, British Veterinary Association

Putting the vet-farmer relationship at the heart of farming policy


remember reading once that a farmer was more likely to change their life partner than their vet. I’m not sure how true that is, but as a young vet it really struck home to me the importance of the strong and trusted two-way relationship between a farmer and their vet. As a practitioner, I strove to be the best in that relationship that I could. Sure, just like with my life partner, there were times that I was late with no explanation, didn’t hear the right words, and missed the priority topic, but on the whole I hope that the spirit of mutual respect and trust remained strong. In my role as President of the British Veterinary Association, I haven’t had as many of those direct contacts on farm as I would like. However, I carry with me the knowledge that every livestock holding across the country could benefit from strengthening the vet-farmer bond. My job now is to try and make that as mutually beneficial as I possibly can. It is this mindset that I take to the meetings of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway steering group. This group, consisting of farmers, vets, government, and industry, is tasked with making the transition from CAP subsidy of farms through Single Farm Payments and similar, into the new world of payment by results, welfare grants, and crucially, incremental improvements in the health and welfare of the nation’s flocks and herds. The keystone of the Pathway will be the annual health and welfare review, to be carried out by a farmer’s own vet wherever possible. The opportunity here, for each Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) registered livestock keeper to receive a free veterinary visit to set priorities for the farm for the next twelve months, is immense. Equally immense are the potential bear traps on the way. Nobody wishes to see this be a


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

repetition of work done for farm assurance reviews, trading standards reviews, or the existing herd health planning carried out between many farmers and their vets. Data collection will also form a part of this, and as a vet, I am excited to be able to look to a future where we are better able to work with farming clients to predict and prevent outbreaks of disease based on in-depth epidemiological knowledge. This builds on our current biosecurity tools used to risk assess herds and flocks in a way which means that vaccines and management interventions can be targeted in a most appropriate way. In short, I see a broadening of the relationship between vet and farmer to encompass those for whom we have been an emergency service in the past into sharing the benefits of more proactive healthcare. The Pathway won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. While there will be some common risks and opportunities shared by farms across the country, there are unique circumstances at play for every holding. The review offers vets and farmers an opportunity to mutually tailor solutions to the needs of each farming enterprise to make it relevant and impactful. The Pathway exists only in England. With agricultural policy being devolved, we continue to engage with all four governments of the UK to centre the vetfarmer relationship in future plans across the nations. We have regular contact with the Welsh Government as they develop their new Sustainable Farming Scheme. Scotland and Northern Ireland have recently published documents providing more detail of their post-CAP plans which we will respond to. All of this will take time, effort and money.

It will also need a veterinary workforce to deliver this on the ground. We know that there is a veterinary workforce shortage which is pinching right now. We have experienced a perfect storm of increased demands on vet time coinciding with a reduced supply of vets to meet those demands. Covid-19 and the end of free movement reduced the flow of vets into the country. Increased pet ownership and Brexitrelated trade certification have placed more demands on our time (from January to July 2021, an estimated 170 years of veterinary time had been spent signing export health certificates for foodstuffs travelling from our farms destined for EU markets). This has been exacerbated by the ongoing challenges of veterinary teams being ‘pinged’. All of this taken together mean that we are working as hard as we can to continue to provide a comprehensive service to all our farmers. Making use of allied professionals as part of a vet-led team will help. We are already seeing greater use of lay TB testers in England and Certification Support Officers in our export chains. The biggest difference we can all make though is to help keep vets in the profession and keep farm vets working on farms. One of the starkest comments made to me in recent years was from a young vet who told me that he didn’t think he could risk being a farm vet any longer because he had a child and couldn’t put himself at danger of injury. To bring back my relationship analogy, it is more important than ever as we work together through a turbulent time that we look out for and look after each other. Like any successful relationship, both parties will need to continue to work to maintain and develop it over time. If we can do that together, then the benefits for us all will be fantastic.

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Guest Vet | Nigel Miller

n o i n i p O In My Nigel Miller

Chair of Ruminant Health & Welfare


he impact of Johne’s disease on affected cattle is too familiar with the control of the mycobacterium [MAP] an ongoing challenge in a significant number of herds. Beyond the clinical scour and weight loss, there are reductions in fertility, production efficiency and welfare; both producers and veterinarians consider the control of Johne’s disease to be an industry priority. In many ways CHeCS health scheme standards are the cornerstone of cattle disease management. The announcement by CHeCS, at the end of April, that new Johne’s testing standards will be introduced is therefore an important milestone in the journey to control MAP across these islands. A change that is designed not only to underpin a consistent approach across all the health scheme providers, but by strengthening risk standards, to safeguard Johne’s control progress across the national herd. There has been a protracted debate regarding testing protocols. The main pillar of the health scheme approach is screening for antibody through herd blood testing. A 2% false positive rate is a recognised feature of the blood test and therefore follow up testing of blood positive animals through screening faecal samples for evidence of the mycobacterium has been allowable. Different providers have implemented different levels of secondary follow up testing. The divergence of the approach to follow up testing has created the potential, for herds with similar levels of


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

infection, to be designated a different risk status, depending on the health scheme provider’s policy on secondary testing.

The changes to testing standards introduced by the CHeCS Board cut in at two levels; the primacy of blood testing is confirmed, as it has the potential to identify infected animals before active disease is established. The use of faecal screening [which may deliver false negatives and only identifies animals where clinical disease has taken hold] as a secondary follow up test will be limited.

In future secondary [faecal] testing will only be allowable in low risk herds where there are 2% or less blood positives, [or one animal +ve]. Special arrangements will remain in place where recent Tb skin testing may have compromised the sensitivity of the blood test. Although the change to testing procedures appear minor the transition to a more rigid system will cause challenges for health scheme providers as they adjust to the new system and for some herd managers, the possible down-grading of herd risk-status, may affect market access or value. Transition is never an easy process, there are unfortunately costs, but clearly health scheme standards must evolve where standards may be compromised. Cattle Health status including Johne’s disease is going to become increasingly important, not only to underpin our efficiency and welfare aspirations on farm, but to fit with potential export demands,[ including the EU Animal health Law reporting standards], and to reduce GHG emissions as we move towards net zero. CHeCS have, despite the pain associated with change, put disease control and the interests of the national herd first. As new diagnostics, technology and understanding emerge, CHeCS will have an important role in what can be difficult, but essential change management. We as producers must support the evolution of our health schemes to meet the challenges of the future.

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Spread-a-Bale | Advertorial

Spread-a-Bale: one of the most indispensable pieces of kit on the farm


f you would like to save time, save labour and save straw this winter, then talk to Geoffrey Rodgers who manages a 30-cow pedigree herd of mixed Continentals and 85 sucklers near Ballynahinch, County Down. Our Spread-a-Bale is one of those pieces of kit I wouldn’t be without. Bedding up time has been reduced over our six-month winter from two hours to 20 minutes a day - a massive labour saving that’s enabled the machine to pay for itself within two years. Added to that, we’re making 30% straw savings worth up to £80 a week. “The machine is reliable and makes for a safer environment. I no longer have to get in the pens to manually shake out the straw with a fork. And unlike other machines that shred straw, it creates minimal dust and the risk of flying stones has been eliminated.” Geoffrey explains he decided to invest in a bedding machine for convenience. “We’d seen Spread-a-Bale at various events and in the farming press, and decided a Mini from its range was best suited for our operations; it was small enough to get inside our sheds and move around and it could attach to the loading shovel. Furthermore, the machine is able to load the bales straight from the stack,” explains Geoffrey who annually makes 400 round barley straw bales. “Three winters on and our Mini is proving to be a reliable machine; it’s one of the first things I hitch up in the mornings, and it consistently delivers; we’ve reduced daily usage from two to 1.5 round bales since the machine enables me to manage the amount of straw spread and achieve a nice even spread.”

Bedding and feeding straw, hay and haylage is one of the most laborious jobs. Cheshire livestock farmer, Michael Hughes decided enough was enough; two decades ago he designed, developed and patented Spread-a-Bale, a simple, reliable and efficient time saving machine which rapidly became suited to all operations, regardless of scale and livestock species. Today he heads up the British based company which is now synonymous with high quality machines built in its own factory for the agricultural and recycling markets. The company has a global network of dealers and distributors trading in 25 countries and within five Continents.

Spread-a-Bale: the benefits Unlike other mechanical blowers, choppers and spreaders, Spread-a-Bale’s spreading rotors gently accelerate the product, they tease the bale apart and throw it with minimum dust generation. Saves straw: longer straw makes for a longer lasting bed. Our customers commonly report • up to 50% straw saving over manual spreading with square bales, up to 25% for round bales • up to 25% reduced requirement over other mechanical spreading systems Saves time and labour: one person can spread one rectangular bale typically in 45 seconds – faster than any other available spreaders, shredders, choppers and bale processor Reduces dust and subsequent health risks for both farmers, operators and their livestock: minimal dust reduces the risk of pneumonic conditions and eye infections and in turn reduces antibiotic usage Improves welfare: the entire system has a much-reduced carbon footprint over any other mechanised system

Spread-a-Bale is continuing to drive innovation. Whilst existing models have been continually upgraded, in the last months three new options have been launched. The HD a heavy-duty option designed to facilitate the spreading of high density, compact rectangular bales, it features an increase in hydraulic power and up to 100% increase in torque by different configurations varying on the application. The XL option designed to accommodate extra-long bales, offers an extra 30cm long body on both Midi and Maxi Spread-a-Bale machines. The HR head features a single horizontal rotor which enables straw to be delivered in a linear spread pattern, one metre wide and thrown up to 12m with minimal dust generation.


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The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021 01244 394258

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In My Opinion | Rob Venner

n o i n i p O y In M Robert Venner

Environmental Politics G

Currently food is in plentiful supply but The IPCC report headlines if global warming, or should I say when global warming causes parts of the planet said to reduce emissions to be unsuitable for food production due to rainfall, flooding, desertification, consumers should reduce extreme rising sea levels and fires, surely land that can grow grass to rear beef will be vital. their beef and dairy all grassland is planted to trees to reduce consumption, fly less, drive Ifgreenhouse gasses from aviation, transport and industry, it will not be available to raise less, turn their heating cattle. down and change to an Politically we should be Agricultural emissions over the last 20 years ethical energy supplier. have already reduced due to efficiency. taking a much longer-term Milking cows used to produce 4,500 ltrs of milk per lactation, now cows produce view as we can’t live off 9,000 ltrs or more, so there are half as Consumers due to Covid 19 have been trees and in the short-term many cows producing the same amount forced to fly less and during the first of milk, with half the resultant amount of lockdown they certainly drove less. Usual consumers should be asking emissions. Suckler cows have also become commuting and the shear volume of traffic more efficient producing faster growing on the M5 currently, would suggest no themselves do I need to calves to result in bigger carcasses, through one is currently driving less. Once county continental and improved native breed restrictions are lifted on travel it will be drive or can I walk? Will it genetics. interesting to see how many return to flying away for their holidays. be a staycation or shall I Conversely over that same I’m yet to see the sales of woolly jumpers fly abroad? Where is my so I doubt consumers are turning 20-year period more people increase their heating down but some may have woollen jumper and how is changed to an ethical energy supplier. take flights for holidays my electricity produced? Beef farmers will soon be advised to use and multiple car families less fuel, less fertilizer, less feed, yet finish their cattle younger and improve the fertility are now not uncommon. of their cows. How this will be achieved will That way GHG emissions will be reduced far be different for every farm. Aviation and transport more than giving up beef and dairy products In pure carbon terms under 16-month in the future, when food will not be so emissions are increasing. bull beef has the lowest carbon footprint. and plentiful, grassland to produce beef will be HG reduction politically starts with a date in time. From that date agriculture, aviation, transport and industry all have to reduce their emissions going forward. Politically that makes it easier to administer but is so unfair on agriculture, which has tonnes of historic carbon locked away in soil organic matter, hedges, trees, scrub, woods and forests. This is totally opposite to aviation, transport and industry, which have released tonnes of carbon historically and have no capacity to offset.

However, a shed full of bulls does nothing for biodiversity and wildlife habitat. Environmental politics within environmental politics.


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021


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Guest Vet | Sarah Tomlinson

t e V t s e Gu Sarah Tomlinson

TB is the most important infectious disease affecting cattle keepers in the UK.


n 2020 over 40,000 cattle were slaughtered in the UK as TB reactors. TB is at the front of most farmers minds when making any management decisions, the fear or a breakdown is so real. Alongside the devastating effects TB breakdowns have on a farm’s finances and performance the mental and physical health of the farmer, the farm staff and surrounding family can suffer too. If there is one positive to gain from the Geronimo story, it should be that the public are more aware of the pain and anguish a TB reactor causes for all involved. I have worked as a farm vet in Derbyshire for 20 years and have seen first-hand the devastation a TB breakdown can have, that is why I am passionate about using ALL the tools in the box to control this notifiable disease. In the most recent government consultation looking at the future of wildlife control, the NBA was very firm in its response, that although we acknowledge badger culling cannot last forever to stopping new cull licences being issued after 2022 was too soon. The government’s response to this consultation has been published and unfortunately despite the science and evidence available and lack of support from the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and farming organisations, the government will no longer issue badger control licences after 2022. There will, however, be provision that where there is evidence badgers are contributing to the


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

spread of TB in cattle the reduction of badger numbers will be allowed “epi led wildlife control”. A similar model already exists in the Low Risk Areas of England. We know the culls are working. In 2019 the Downs report showed in the first two cull areas in Somerset and Gloucestershire new herd breakdowns were reduce over the four years by 37% and 66% respectively. The South West as a region is now at a thirteen year all-time low for TB despite only now introducing 6 monthly cattle testing, which has been compulsory in many Edge Counties of England since 2018. Whilst I really do understand the anger and frustration this U-turn in TB policy brings;

I am adamant that we should not let this undermine the time, emotion and financial commitment farmers have given to TB control over the last decades. Nor should it prevent engagement in good disease biosecurity to reduce the risk or duration of a TB breakdown. Farmers have access to TB biosecurity “tools” such as the TB Advisory Service (TBAS) in England, Cymorth TB in Wales, CHECS TB herd accreditation and the new CHECS TB Entry Level Membership across the UK. The CHECS Entry level Membership is designed to facilitate a conversation regarding TB as an infectious disease. The

Sarah Tomlinson | Guest Vet

Badger electric fence. Covid19 Pandemic has if nothing else made us aware of how infectious disease spreads and how individuals doing small seeming insignificant things such as hand washing, and social distancing can add up to help tackle a national disease. A recent study showed the cost of a TB breakdown on farm can be around £18,600 and more, so why wouldn’t you engage in “no regrets” TB biosecurity? Just because you cannot control all the risks it should not stop you engaging in what you can control. Within each CHECS TB Entry Level risk factors there should be an option that most farm businesses can achieve with a varying level of risk reduction.

The key areas identified, where risk can be controlled and, in some cases, eliminated, are based on the industry developed five-point plan to manage TB biosecurity risk. These are all based on science and evidence. The TB skin test is 99.98% specific this means the probability a TB skin test reactor has TB is very nearly 100% (this is pretty good as far as scientific tests go- the Covid lateral flow test is only 99.68%). Approximately 70% of reactors do not have lesions at slaughter as we are testing regularly and catch the disease early (this is good news as these are less infectious to others in the herd). The limitation of the skin test is the sensitivity, this is the probability of finding all the infected animals, at best this is 80%, which in practice means we can miss 1 in 5 reactors. (incidentally the Covid lateral flow test is 76.8% much worse!) This mean when

Badger proof feed trough. purchasing even clear tested cattle there is a risk of introducing TB into the herd. By knowing the TB history of the stock, you are potentially bringing on to a holding allows the risk to be understood and managed. In certain areas of the country, we know we have an endemically infected badger population contributing to the spread of TB. Reducing badger and cattle contact (social distancing!), mainly through protecting feed and water sources can massively reduce the risk of and the length of a TB breakdown. TB bacteria can survive for up to 60 days in water so if you can prevent badgers sharing cattle troughs, this is one risk pathway reduced. Equally in areas of the country where there is no evidence that badgers are infected with TB but TB in cattle has been identified, engaging in badger biosecurity is important to keep TB out of the badger population. The CHECS TB Herd Accreditation includes the entry level biosecurity but also mandates the need for isolation and post movement testing of purchased stock. Herds are accredited on the years TB free. Those level 1 or above are recognised as lower risk herds by APHA and therefore are allowed to remain on annual testing in 6 monthly testing areas and retain full compensation for reactors in certain situations.

vaccination can have in the future of TB policy farmer led badger vaccination in East Sussex and for a new TB test (DIVA)which will allow us to tell the difference between TB infected cattle and those vaccinated with the TB vaccine BCG (the same vaccine used in humans and badgers). The BCG vaccine is not a great vaccine in humans, badgers or cattle. Approximately one third of cattle get good immunity, one third get some immunity and one third get no immunity. Both trials should show how cattle and badger vaccination could be part of the future of TB control policy as more “tools in the box”.

For more information about the CHECS schemes diseases/bovine-tb/ For more information about the TB Advisory service

The TB Advisory Service and similarly Cymorth TB in Wales, can offer more detailed bespoke advice and recommendations for your farm. DEFRA has announced more funding to allow the TB Advisory Service to carry on offering free visits and one to one advice on how to manage TB biosecurity in a bespoke way for your farm. (If you have already had a visit, you are eligible for the new funding) These visits are available across England for keepers of Cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, deer and camelids. The TBAS report highlights 4 recommendations specific to your farm with the information and rough costs of what these measures will need to implement. More positive news for TB control includes trials to help understand the role badger

For more information about Cymorth TB

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Pre-housing checks for older cattle


bit of time spent on pre-housing checks and vaccination planning can pay dividends when it comes to preventing health issues in youngstock of all ages, says Sioned Timothy, ruminant vet adviser at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health.

“Everyone thinks of pre-weaning disease prevention, especially respiratory issues, but don’t overlook older stock returning to housing after a summer out at grass. There are potential parasite problems and also the stresses associated with housing can lead to respiratory disease outbreaks,” she says.

“This is a group that can be easily missed yet, as the future of your herd, it’s important to protect your investment in them and ensure good growth rates,” Ms Timothy adds. Many advisers use a checklist as stock move back in to housing. This typically covers areas from management practices, housing, preventative healthcare and feeding. “Problem areas, which require careful consideration on many units, include reducing stress and ensuring appropriate housing conditions,” says Ms Timothy. “It’s important to recognise that housing puts stock under pressure. Steps should be taken and protocols in place to minimise this. Youngstock should, ideally, remain in the same social group, if facilities can allow this.” Potential parasite infestations – lungworm, gut worms and liver fluke – should be on the check list and dealt with prior to housing. Again, this helps to reduce stress on young stock at the point of housing, as they face new environmental and nutritional challenges. A bit of forethought and planning can head any issues off before they arise so minimising growth setbacks or health problems.


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

“Managing a successful transition to housing is largely about mitigating risks ahead of the start while complying with any guidelines on housing and management set out in guidelines,” she adds. Taking respiratory disease as an example, there are published guidelines on space allowance for different housing systems, with loose housing the most common approach (see Table 1). Table 1 – space allowance for group-housed calves* Weight of calf (kg)

Approximate age (months)

Minimum (statutory) area (m2/calf)

Recommended area (m2/calf)





















“Remember that young stock will grow over the housing period and check that stocking density will remain appropriate for the entire period to avoid an increased risk of respiratory disease,” says Ms Timothy. Maximum group size of 12 if advocated for older calves of two months onwards, because this makes it easier to identify sick calves. And no more than 30 calves should share the same air space and, ideally, they should not share space with older cattle. Ms Timothy recommends considering the vaccination status of older animals in the run up to housing. “This can be especially important if older and younger animals are sharing the same shed or air space,” she adds. “If young calves have been vaccinated to protect them from pneumonia, then administering a booster prior to housing will ensure they have high immunity to key respiratory pathogens. “If youngstock have not been previously vaccinated then consider

Feature this ahead of housing. It’s certainly a conversation to have with your vet,” she advises. Where an injectable respiratory vaccine is used, ensure that animals have received both doses of the primary course ahead of housing so that they effectively protected once housed. Administering a vaccine, such as one from the Bovalto® Respi range, to protect against the key Sioned Timothy respiratory viruses RSV and PI3 and the bacterium Mannheimia haemolytica during a late summer can be a practical approach. “Injectable vaccines will typically offer protection for six months after the primary course is administered. So, a late-summer dose will offer protection during the transition period and well into winter housing,” Ms Timothy explains.

cattle are herd animals and there should be enough space for 10% of the group to eat or drink together at any one time. “Really it’s about planning and doing a bit of preparation,” Sioned Timothy concludes.

“Avoid the housing rush by going through the checklist well ahead of time and you give yourself the best chance of producing robust and resilient stock capable of fulfilling their growth potential.” *source - AHDB

Intranasal vaccines like Bovalto® Resp Intranasal, containing the viruses RSV and PI3, are an alternative option if there is less time available ahead of housing to allow immunity to develop. A single dose of intranasal vaccine will rapidly stimulate local immunity in the respiratory tract, with protection persisting for three months. “Making vaccine planning part of your youngstock management plan is a really good step, and once done, it will be easier to ensure the timing of vaccination is correct,” she adds. As with younger calves, housing and bedding conditions are also important, as is water and feed trough cleanliness and space –

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The role of Vistacell live yeast in high starch beef finishing rations


ne of the biggest challenges facing beef finishing units is the need to provide the energy and protein levels required to drive rapid growth without causing digestive upsets. And it’s particularly important during the final 100 days of the finishing period, when maximising daily liveweight gain (DLWG) is essential to overall profitability. “Rolled cereals, maize meal, distillers grains and soya hulls are all commonly used ingredients in finishing beef rations,” explains Ms Kayley Barnes, AB Vista’s Ruminant and Equine Technical Manager. “However, the inclusion levels need to be carefully managed to avoid upsetting the rumen, especially when it comes to rolled barley or wheat.”

Rapid starch breakdown Depending on forage quantity, type and quality, concentrates can be included in excess of 10kg/head/day and can account for over 50% of the dry matter intake (DMI) in finishing diets. However, the limit will depend on how certain cereals interact with one another, and the resulting impact on the rumen environment. “Some cereals have a faster rate of starch breakdown in comparison to others. For example, the rate of starch breakdown in rolled barley and wheat is quicker than in maize meal,” adds Ms Barnes. Some units will feed up to 60% of the total concentrate as rolled barley, this can overload the rumen due to the fast release of starch, especially if insufficient fibre is provided. However, if rolled barley is included at a lower rate (below 40% of total concentrate) alongside a slower degradable starch source such as maize meal (up to 50% of total concentrate) it creates a more balanced release of starch in the rumen. “The inclusion of cereal starches is necessary to supply the energy needed to optimise DLWG in intensive finishing units. But issues arise when high levels of starch are degraded too quickly, causing overload that changes the microorganism population within the rumen,” Ms Barnes explains.

Live yeast benefits When the balance of microorganisms is altered within the rumen, it can negatively affect rumen function and result in a rumen pH drop below 5.8, the threshold for sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) below which digestion is compromised. “For intensively reared beef cattle, the rumen will typically spend long periods below pH 5.8 unless a live yeast such as Vistacell or rumen conditioner like Acid Buf are used to maintain a balance in the rumen,” Ms Barnes explains. As the rumen drops further below pH 5.8 fermentation efficiency is even further disrupted as the normal fibre-digesting microbes begin to die off. This delays performance recovery when the rumen pH rises and limits DLWG. “Reducing the extent and time of any drop in rumen pH is therefore critical if feed conversion efficiency, feed intake and growth performance are to be optimised,” adds Ms Barnes.


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

Supported by trial work An independent trial carried out by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada compared rumen pH fluctuations in beef heifers receiving either 4g/head/day of Vistacell live yeast, the same dose of deactivated yeast, or no yeast. All heifers were fed a balanced mixed ration with an overall 50:50 forage-to-concentrate ratio. The heifers were then fed a large meal of barley grains following a day during which only 50% of the normal ration was fed. Both forms of the yeast significantly improved average rumen pH and reduced time spent below pH 5.8 (Table 1), with the live Vistacell the most effective.

Table 1 – Effect of yeast addition and viable state on rumen pH in beef heifers (Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2013) Before acidosis challenge Control

Vistacell yeast Live





Average rumen pH



Minimum rumen pH


Time below pH5.8 (hr/d)


Dry matter intake (kg/d)

After acidosis challenge Control

Vistacell yeast Live



















“Although all treatments were affected by the acidosis challenge, DMI was maintained only by the active Vistacell treatment. After the acidosis challenge, the DMI for the inactivated yeast and control groups fell by 5% and 15% respectively,” Ms Barnes explains. The cattle receiving the metabolically active Vistacell also appeared to recover from the challenge quicker, tending to have a higher postacidosis average rumen pH and less time spent below pH 5.8.

“This research shows just how much impact Vistacell live yeast can have in helping to support rapid, efficient and profitable finishing,” Ms Barnes concludes.

The expertise to succeed from

within Specifically developed for use in ruminants, Vistacell represents a combination of advancements in yeast technology. By considering strain selection and physical form, Vistacell ensures the highest delivery of live yeast to the rumen to maximise performance and reduce the negative effects of acidosis.

Yeast technology powering performance


Tissue tagging to eradicate BVD


Transiently Infected (TI) animals are nonPIs exposed to the BVD virus, exhibiting a wide range of clinical signs or none at all. If tested after they have recovered, they will show previous BVD exposure with antibodies present but not the BVD virus. They can remain in the herd and are not a source of infection unlike a PI.

radicating Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) from your herd and staying clear of it means healthier and more productive stock, less hassle for you and your staff plus financial benefits. The cost to the national herd could be as high as £61m1. The benefits have been estimated at £442 per cow along with reduced antibiotic usage in young stock and improved herd fertility.

BVD attacks immune systems and in young stock pneumonia, diarrhoea and fatality can occur. In adult cattle, reduced milk yield, lameness, mastitis and a host of reproductive issues are seen. Overall, poor treatment outcomes and herd health is observed. Managing a healthy herd is better for everyone and being BVD free lets you farm and not fight health and breeding issues. Tag & Test is relatively hassle free and cost effective adding real value to your own stock by demonstrating they are BVD free if you sell as calves, stores and as bulling heifers. Tag & Test as the herd calves is popular essentially gaining two tests for one as the status of the dam is also revealed too. You have to tag all youngstock anyway. Tag & Test all calves dead or alive ASAP no later than seven days. Early testing reduces a calf becoming transiently infected (TI) and giving a positive virus result, even though they are not persistently infected (a TI should recover unlike a PI). Avoiding TI’s lessens re-testing. Matching a calf correctly to its dam is essential so using and reading EID tags can help considerably. Samples should be returned to the laboratory of choice ASAP, so any PI’s can be eliminated. Carry out all necessary follow up testing following the discovery of a PI animal speak to your vet. This is necessary to identify and remove all PI’s from your herd quickly.


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

Vaccination plays a part in BVD eradication alongside tagging and testing and PI removal but cannot treat or cure PI’s. Ensure breeding cattle are vaccinated prior to bulling for coverage in the first 120 days of pregnancy preventing new PI’s. You can also use a Tissue Sample Only (TSO) which works the same way a ‘third test tag’ but only takes a tissue sample notch and leaves no additional tag in. Good for retrospective testing of non-calving followers or new arrivals whose PI status is unknown. To successfully tissue tag - factors to consider include; • Sufficient ear tissue needs to be captured so a good molecular DNA weight can be extracted • A tissue preservation method with sufficient desiccant present in the sample vial prevents sample putrefaction and a lower test success rate. Non desiccant tags require refrigeration • On farm, a simple, tamper free, single step tag and test process in the shed is preferable with sample vials sealed before and after tagging to prevent contamination and lessen no-test results returning from the lab • Certain makes of sample vial are more easily identified and retrievable if they go to ground often in straw bedded areas where animals are located • Animals should always be suitably restrained with tags, applicators and hands clean to lessen infection and cross-contamination risk -this process is also slightly more complicated than simply applying ear tags only with more application pressure needed. BVD Test results can be uploaded to the database in England and Wales after a farmer has registered. Separate schemes are running for Northern Ireland and Scotland. Persistently Infected (PI) animals have BVD for life and many die but a few survive and always produce PI offspring thereafter so need to be identified and culled.

If a herd is BVD free, a biosecurity programme along with vaccination of your breeding stock prevents BVD re-entering and/or new PI’s being born. Treat anything that arrives onto the farm as a potential BVD carrier (including your own stock returning onto farm). BVD can cross boundaries easily by nose to nose contact. Consider double fencing or work with neighbours too. Another popular use of tissue tagging is DNA sampling which is an increasingly important livestock management tool. Often used in the past to simply determine parentage, this technology is now enhancing herd and flock productivity and health. Z Tag tissue sample tag is part of the new generation Datamars Z Tag range. A tissue sampling tag providing a convenient onestep sample collection for BVD eradication or DNA collection and contains desiccant preservative. The Z Tag Tissue sampling range also offers a tissue sample only (TSO) option where no tag remains in the animal and ideal for retrospective testing where an additional tag is not required or desirable. Available from your local UK stockist. More information and a store locator is available online at or call Datamars on 028 2076 8696. References 1.Bennett and Ijpelaar, 2005 2. Kath Aplin, veterinary adviser Boehringer Ingelheim






The process of loading the tagger and taking a sample is almost identical to tagging an animal.

Made to withstand the tough outdoors, no fiddling around with small,easily breakable containers.

DUAL TESTING Our Tissue Sample allows testing for both DNA and BVD.





Quick to load the tagger, one or two clicks and you’re done!

The sample will not leak or contaminate other samples while on transit to the lab.


HIGHLY VISIBLE Easy to find the sample container if it’s accidentally dropped.


Can be used to apply various tags within our range.

Our dry desiccant is proven to preserve a higher quality sample.


Samples can be stored for up to 6 months at room temperature.

Breed Society Focus | Longhorn


An iconic breed proving its versatility and potential in the 21st Century From the very earliest records of British agriculture there has been a race of cattle set apart from most other breeds by the great length of their horns. The Longhorn, as they became known, were predominant in medieval times over a large area of the Midland counties and Northern England. Their origin is shrouded in mystery, but the Craven district of Yorkshire, northern Lancashire, Cumberland, Westmorland, Staffordshire, Derbyshire & Leicestershire hold the honour of being linked to this grand old breed.


he Midlands must, however, be given full credit for the great improvement that was affected in the Longhorn, and certainly held the reputation as the stronghold of the breed. Here it was to be transformed from a multi- tasking role of milk, meat & draught to one whose primary function was beef. It was improved and designated as our first British beef breed by that great high priest of livestock breeding Robert Bakewell (1725-1795). It

was Bakewell’s aim to feed the masses who had left the rural areas and moved into the towns and cities in pursuit of work during the Industrial revolution. In the very early days of the breed, cheese and butter making was the main occupation of farmers, and in this capacity the Longhorn at that point had no equal. It is well recognised as one of the purest of native breeds having been improved without the influence of any other breeds.

The Longhorn have a quiet temperament which makes them an ideal beef animal not prone to stress, ensuring that meat quality is of the highest specification. They make an excellent cross for dairy cattle due to ease of calving and vigorous offspring. The strong maternal instincts, milking qualities, wide pelvic structure for easy calving and longevity also make longhorns the ideal suckler cow.

The Longhorn is a particularly hardy breed, with a very robust constitution, and will thrive well in most situations.


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

Longhorn | Breed Society Focus to weigh cattle for formal performance recording schemes, an annual visit from the Classifier is an ideal way of having cattle independently assessed. It really helps with deciding which cows to breed to which bull to bring out the best in both sides of the pedigree’, says Tom.

The Longhorn breed is extremely versatile and can thrive in a number of varied farming systems for different markets. This diversity is reflected by the society members with a real mix of commercial farmers, pedigree breeders, those selling and marketing meat directly through farm shops and butchers and part-time farmers. Society Chairman Tom Mills of the Wheatlands herd is looking to maximise all the great traits of the breed within his own herd to build a profitable business centred around the Longhorn. The Mills family are tenants of the Chatsworth Estate, near Bakewell, Derbyshire and Tom wanted a breed that would stand out from the crowd. Initially the herd was set up as a hobby in 2006 to manage alongside Tom’s day job as a Civil Engineer but quickly grew into a commercially viable herd operating separately from the farm’s existing herd of commercial cattle. 15 years in and the ‘hobby’ has grown to nearly 140 cattle! Tom was always interested in selling premium beef directly to the public and the Longhorns are ideal for this. The fantastic mothering ability of the cows, their ability to lay down intramuscular fat, combined with their unique look

A genuinely easy-calving breed, the Longhorn has been identified by the Buitelaar Group as being a breed with great commercial potential which they are keen to promote as part of their integrated supply chain. They are currently sourcing Longhorn bulls to go into dairy herds as part of their Longhorn Heritage Beef scheme. Tom sold a young bull to a local dairy farmer last year and has had a number of the Longhorn x Holstein Friesian calves back for rearing on. The dairy farmers using Longhorns are reporting that cows and heifers are calving unaided, with vigorous calves that are keen to get up and suck. Finishers are happy with the growth rates they are getting from the Longhorns, with liveweight gain rates matching and exceeding other native sired calves.

gives them a great point of interest for local customers. Tom now has a popular local beef box scheme and often supplies local pubs with Longhorn beef. Cattle are finished at around 26-28 months, aiming for a R4L 380kg carcass. All male calves deemed not suitable to retain for breeding are castrated and disbudded at birth. These steers will then go on to have three seasons out at grass only receiving additional concentrate feed during their first winter of housing and then depending on the time of year and quality of grass additional feeding in their last three months prior to slaughter to ensure a consistent and good level of finish. The majority of females have in the past been retained to grow the breeding herd but Tom hopes to expand the breeding sales aspect of the business marketing to both pedigree and commercial breeders.

Always a favourite with the public the Longhorns are always well supported in the show ring with strong classes at many local and regional shows. This hard work over many years in the show ring has yielded some great success particularly in the last few years where they are providing strong competition in interbreed competition. The most recent success being the Staffordshire County Shown where Melbourne Park Fizz, a four year old cow bred by Ben and Tori Stanley from Melbourne, Derbyshire won the Supreme Interbreed Beef Championship. The English Winter Fair at Bingley Hall is also well supported by Longhorn Cattle Society members who enjoy showing their primestock. There is always a lot of interest in the breed at the event, regular buyers are usually farm shops and independent butchers who value the exemplary texture and flavour of Longhorn beef.

The Longhorn Cattle Society adopted Type Classification in 2017 and starting classifying bulls in 2018. ‘Type classification is a great tool for Longhorn Cattle Society members to use as part of their herd management planning. For breeders like myself, who work off-farm and don’t have the time or the facilities

Photo credit: Chrissie Long at CountryGirl Media.

The Longhorn is a great, diverse breed and with its ability to produce the highest quality beef from grass based systems is ideally placed to thrive as the focus in the farming industry moves to reward more sustainable farming systems.

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Breed Society News

Breed Society


Photo credit to Country Girl Media

Devon Cattle Breeders’ Society We now appear to be over the worst of the pandemic and the restricting conditions it placed on all our lives and businesses. It is really good news that we are able to attend shows once again. Congratulations to all those that have made the tremendous efforts to hold shows, no mean task, under the circumstances. Also my admiration and gratitude goes out to all those exhibitors who have attended agricultural shows to date. We can be proud in the performance of all the Devon cattle exhibited and have managed to come up trumps at the Devon County, MidDevon and Honiton shows recently. Dira Halcyon EX93 (pictured above) owned by Mr John May was Reserve Inter Breed Champion Devon at the County Show and went on to be Inter Breed Champion at the Honiton Show.

SALERS SAFEGUARDED FROM MYOSTATIN TO MAINTAIN THE MATERNAL MAGIC In 2019 the Salers Cattle Society of the UK took the decision to protect the Salers’ leading maternal traits, especially it’s unrivalled calving ease, by implementing a five-year program to eliminate the various mutations of the myostatin gene. From 1st January 2024, registrations will no longer be accepted into the main herd book of animals with an unknown myostatin status or known carriers of the myostatin gene. To support breeders in the transition period, where it is advantageous to ascertain the myostatin status of their breeding females, the Society has reduced the cost by more than 50% of registrations of U3month


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females born in 2022. Registrations meeting the same criteria in 2023, will also attract significant discounts. Myostatin has the potential to negatively influence traits such as pelvic size, milk production and fertility. The Society believe this policy is essential to protect the breed and its sought-after maternal traits, enabling suckler farmers to continue to capitalise on the unrivalled calving ease of Salers, whilst having the freedom to select any sire, including strongly muscled terminal sires, that suits their system! #salers #maternalmagic #suitsanysire #suitsanysystem #theultimatesuckler

Further Devon success was had by the Angela Poad breeder and owner of Exmoor Henrietta 5th who was Reserve Inter breed Champion Yearling and went on to be Reserve Inter Breed Champion in the pairs with Exmoor Curly 3rd at the Mid-Devon Show. Congratulations go to all exhibitors, it is great to see such prime Devon cattle at the top of the beef industry. Lisa Weaver Breed Secretary

Breed Societies, do you have any news you would like us to publish? Email your copy and any images to

Breed Society News

Rebel Kicks gains multiple titles Hereford bull Moralee 1 Rebel Kicks KS R12, bred and owned by Tom and Di Harrison, Mickley, Northumberland has taken a number of major interbreed championships this summer, despite the limited show circle. Rebel Kicks’ success began at the Royal Highland Showcase, where it stood native champion, gaining the highest accolade it could under the show’s format where it was heralded the ringside favourite.

Next up, the beast travelled south to Devon County where it was awarded the interbreed championship by Somerset judge Colin Hutchings, pipping a Limousin heifer to the top spot.

from Heather Whittaker, Halifax, West Yorkshire. Often led by Steven O’Kane, this impressive bull is by Danish-bred SMH King Size 87K, the 2019 UK Hereford sire of the year and out of Romany 1 Dawn D1 M6. Born in April 2018, it also stood poll bull of the year and joint bull of the year in 2019, as announced at the 2019 society annual dinner. That year, it was also selected as junior interbreed champion at the Royal Welsh Show.

Most recently, Rebel Kicks was tapped out as reserve interbreed champion at the Great Yorkshire Show by Lincolnshirebased George Young. At the same show, this senior bull also made up one half of the interbreed native champion pair alongside class winner Coley 1 Nova 351

Moralee 1 Rebel Kicks KS R12 stood native interbreed champion at the Royal Highland Showcase.

Moralee 1 Rebel Kicks KS R12 was interbreed champion at Devon County Show.

Moralee 1 Rebel Kicks stood reserve interbreed champion at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Rebel Kicks wasawarded the reserve interbreed title at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Industry partnership to aid suckler producers The Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society continues to enjoy growth in terms of membership and cattle on the ground, both pedigree and crossbred, as producers recognise the attributes of the breed often referred to as the Functional Suckler Cow. With that in mind we are delighted to be supporting AHDB in the launch of their new initiative, Maternal Matters. The Maternal Matters initiative aims to highlight the importance of maternal performance in driving profitability in the

suckler herd. It focuses on several key areas of maternal performance including how improved maternal performance reduces cost and using maternal genetics to breed profitable females. The two-year campaign will provide tools and information on replacement heifer breeding and development to optimise female lifetime fertility. As the breed approaches its Bicentenary in 2022 it is good to see that its key attributes are recognised as those which could help sustain the modern day suckler herd.

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Breed Society News

UK WAGYU PRODUCERS TO BENEFIT FROM IMMINENT INTRODUCTION OF MIJ (MEAT IMAGE JAPAN) CARCASE GRADING TECHNOLOGY MIJ (Meat Image Japan) camera technology is being introduced to the UK to grade Wagyu carcases for the first time. MIJ is the globally recognised and trusted scientific leader in the objective measurement of beef, with a major focus on Wagyu’s key USP of marbling, with over 30 years of published research and development. Through a partnership with Meat Imaging USA, the Wagyu Breeders Association (WBA) is now ready to introduce this innovative technology to the UK. Developed by MIJ, the MIJ-30 camera takes images from the cut ribeye surface to predict marbling score, marbling fineness, ribeye area, fat colour and meat colour to give an overall BMS (Beef Marbling Standard) grade. Also available as a mobile app downloaded to a smartphone, this device reduces human error by providing an objective view of the carcase. MIJ technology has been extensively used in Japan, USA as well as Australia where it has recently been granted conditional approval by their statutory body Aus-Meat. Other countries which have adopted the MIJ system include South Africa and Germany, the opportunity being to create a global standard for Wagyu beef and an internationally comparable grading system for BMS. The potential benefit for British Wagyu is huge. WBA Director Philip Maddocks, who runs Wyndford Wagyu in Shropshire, says: “Not only will MIJ camera technology give us a way to differentiate on price as well as quality, but the carcase data we collect will help us improve our genetics as well as our efficiency of production to maximise return. As Wagyu breeders and producers, we can use this tool to change the beef industry as we know it.”

Demonstration of MIJ Mobile App in small-scale production

MIJ Mobile App being used by a processor

Both smaller producers and major processors can access the technology to bring individual production programmes to another level and unite the Wagyu breed with consistent, objective analysis and a uniform grading system. Adds WBA Company Secretary, Richard Saunders: “We have agreed a pricing and service package with Meat Imaging USA who will act as distributor of the MIJ technology. The process is straightforward for WBA Members who first of all purchase their own Googlephone (a Google Pixel 4 or one of the newer versions - either XL, 4a 4G or 4a 5G). After placing their order, the ‘hardware’ is despatched which includes a carrying case, phone cradle including light source, handle and yellow reference square along with directions for downloading the MIJ Mobile App and the MIJ Carcase Database App. Each user has their own private/unique account to access all the data and images.” “The initial cost, whilst not insignificant, nevertheless benefits from the bulk price negotiated and includes all the hardware, software and up to 25 free images, service and licensing fees as well as training to get Members started. The price for Year Two and beyond is significantly reduced.”


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

Typical scan analysis report - MIJ camera provides a vast amount of objective carcase data For further information, please contact WBA Company Secretary Richard Saunders ( or see which has a number of videos explaining how this innovative technology works in practice. Contact: WBA Co Sec Richard Saunders M: 07901768904 E: info@













SOCIETY SALES Sat, 11th Sept


Premium British Wagyu Beef

New Quality Assurance Scheme

British Wagyu Branded Tags

DNA & Genomic Testing

Crossbred Marketing Opportunities

Fullblood Registration Facility

Sat 25th Sept Sun 17th - Tues 19th Oct Wed 10th Nov

Millerston and Glenardle Dispersals along with Coxhill Major Reduction United Auctions, Stirling McCartneys, Worcester United Auctions, Stirling CCM, Skipton CALF SHOW

Fri 29th Oct

Borderway Agri Expo, Carlisle MORRISONS SALE

Wed 15th Sept Fri 17th Sept Mon 20th Sept Thurs 30th Sept Fri 15th Oct Sat 16th Oct Mon 18th Oct Tues 9th Nov

CCM, Skipton Kivells, Exeter Livestock Centre Caledonian Mart, Stirling St Boswells Mart, Melrose Thame Farmers Auction Mart, Thame C & D Marts Ltd, Longtown Richardson and Smith, Ruswarp Thirsk Farmers Market, Thirsk

T: +44 (0) 2475 099146 E: W:


British Wagyu NBA Advert_90x134mm_08_21.indd 1

PEDIGREE HIGHLAND CATTLE SALE 10th & 11th of October 31/08/2021 14:37

Oban Livestock Centre, PA34 4SD

124th Annual Autumn Show & Sale held under the auspices of the

Judge: Jim McKechnie Chief Steward: Jimmy Laing Auctioneer: Raymond Kennedy

01786 446866 AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Breed Society News

Premium beef sector rallies post pandemic Robert Gilchrist, Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society, breed development manager

SOUTH DEVON NEWS The South Devon Herd Book is delighted that the organisers of Agri-Fest South West in conjunction with the NBA South West are welcoming the South Devon Performance Championships to Agri-Fest 2021. The Championships, normally incorporated within the NBA’s Beef Expo, is being held this year at Westpoint, Exeter on Wednesday 3rd November. Classes for pedigree registered bulls and heifers aged between 12 and 30 months of age will be held for members of the South Devon Society whose animals are weight recorded and have published EBVs. They are judged on a combination of performance and inspection points, with the overall championship being decided on inspection only. Caroline Poultney, Breed Secretary, said “Having missed the opportunity to stage this prestigious technical breed event at Beef Expo in 2020 and 2021 we are very pleased to provide a showcase for the breed and for performance recording at AgriFest”. Next year the Performance Championships will return to Beef Expo at Darlington in May.

The Royal Highland and Great Yorkshire show reunited members after a disruptive 18 months. As a Society, it was a pleasure to experience the unrivalled atmosphere that the shows offer once again. The opportunity to compete and socialise was warmly welcomed by our membership, that has also seen a positive growth in recent months. In terms of the wider industry, there has been an encouraging growth in own label meat sales. The pandemic appears to have bolstered demand for high quality cuts of red meat, as consumers have expressed a stronger interest in supporting British. The sector saw a 15% rise in spend, and a 12% growth in sales volume1. These are especially promising figures at a time where there is unprecedented change to agriculture policy and legislation and the structure of support payments going forward.

The Society strongly encourages its breeders to record performance by the simple submission of management weights and calving information which are then computed by Breedplan into Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs). The service is free to members and includes the provision of reports and on-line functions.

Going forward we hope to see this attitude around red meat remain in the forefront of consumers’ minds when making protein purchasing decisions, particularly following the release of Henry Dimbleby’s recommendations in the National Food Strategy. As a Society, we were pleased to see the report highlighting that British farmer play a central role in the future of the food system.

The South Devon breed is rapidly moving towards including genetics in its performance and pedigree evaluations, working with ABRI in Australia to create customised Single Step analysis which will significantly enhance the accuracy and robustness of published figures. The Society has been using genotyping within the breed since 2008, with all registered bulls being fully DNA tested, and a good percentage of the female population as well. The bank of genetic data will be merged with all the accumulated performance records to make one evaluation tool.

However, we strongly believe in the importance of educating consumers to enable informed decisions to be made around sustainable meat consumption. As a Society of 2,500 members who are actively championing native, sustainable beef, fit for the future, we are concerned that such a broadbrush approach to diet reform, tarring all meat from all sources with the same brush, makes it easy to draw the wrong conclusion.

The Society’s Autumn Show & Sale will be held at Worcester by McCartneys on Tuesday 5th October, with pedigree bulls and heifers from a wide selection of top breeding herds. Catalogues will be available from McCartneys and SDHBS in the second half of September. There is strong demand for the breed in recognition of its excellent maternal qualities that will enhance the performance and efficiency of any beef producing herd. The welcome increase in the number of native beef schemes being set up by processors and retailers offer choice and competition for cattle finishers; and an attraction for consumers who seek assurance of environmental sustainability and carbon reduction from grass-fed suckler herds. With a high return from the South Devon carcase in both weight and grade the breed is well placed to maximise these opportunities.


As we begin to readjust to the world post pandemic, the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society are delighted to see the return of some of our favourite shows, bringing the industry and our members back together.

The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

Overall, it has been a busy few months for the society while the world returns to a sense of normality and the future is looking positive. It’s always exciting when sale season is on the horizon, no less after such an extended hiatus. We can’t wait for all our members to be reunited and see the best of the best on parade. As always, there is no place for complacency, and our drive to maintain our position and continue to grow the breed and brand of Aberdeen-Angus, by investing in new avenues of research and data to keep us growing is front and centre. We look forward to seeing what the remainder of 2021 has to offer. 1 Kantar, via AHDB, 13 June 2021

The Beef Expo 2022 will be held at Darlington Farmers Mart

Saturday 28th May 2022

TRADESTANDS | SEMINARS | FARM TOURS | AND MORE… Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for further updates.

Industry News

Free Trioliet Feed app


anage feed lists, feeding groups and feed components with the free Trioliet Feed app. The user-friendly app gives you direct insight into the rations to be loaded and the actual quantities of feed distributed. The app is linked to the weighing system on the mixer wagon* in real-time and, in addition to indicating the total weight of the load, can also display the weight of each ingredient and


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

enables you to add loading lists. Furthermore, the app generates clear reports that can easily be shared with third parties via WhatsApp or by e-mail. Thanks to the app, your smartphone is transformed into a weighing indicator with a feed program. Scan the QR code to watch the video and download the app free of charge from the App Store or Google Play. *To be used in combination with a Triotronic 2810V bluethooth weighing indicator.

Are you giving your calves the best start in life? The new and improved Milkivit calf milk replacer range: • Backed by LifeStart; a science based programme that focuses on the critical first months of a calf’s life. • Correct balance of energy density and protein digestibility. • Formulated to give optimal vitamin and trace mineral supply.

Milkivit offers a range of products to support growth and performance for your system.

Choose the best solution for your farm: visit or contact your local Milkivit stockist.

Beef Breed Directory

The British Limousin Cattle Society 02476 696500

Dairy Cottage, Tower Road, Ayton, Berwickshire TD14 5QX 01432 272057

Tel: 01890 781358 Mob: 07592 139708 Email:

BREEDING SALES February, May & October Fieldsman: Charles Symons

Limousin - the breed with the premium built in


Avenue M, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire. CV8 2RG Tel: 02476 697222 Email:




T: 01573 440207 Mob: 07971 231885

Unit 1, The Stable Yard, Woodhayes Farm, Honiton, Devon, EX14 4TP t: 01404 47863 e:





The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

Holme House The Dale, Ainstable Carlisle,Cumbria CA4 9RH

British Bazadaise Cattle Society 01666 860470



01768 870522


THE UK’S NO. 1 CONTINENTAL BREED FOR AGE AT SLAUGHTER Telephone +44 (0) 2476 696 513

Beef Breed Directory



The perfect suckler cow ( 01245 600032



Gascon Cattle Society




SALERS CATTLE SOCIETY OF THE UK Jasmine Cottage, Gavinton, TD11 3QP 07903 626249



Breed Secretary: Pauline Milton 07787722497

gasconcattle@btconnect .com 01954 232796 | 07771 333303


Breed Secretary Gillian Harries A versatile hardy suckler breed

07791 587236 01437 541450 01738 622477

The Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society Society Pavilion, Avenue M, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, CV8 2RG

Patron: Her Majesty The Queen

Stirling Agricultural Centre Stirling FK9 4RN

Tel: 01786 446866

Aberdeen-Angus, its more than a breed, it’s a brand.

t: 02475 099146 e:

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


NBA Membership

National Beef Association

Membership WHO ARE THE NBA?


The NBA is a charity, set up by beef farmers, for beef farmers. We exist to express the views of real farmers to politicians to ensure they are understood and represented in policy. Over the years we have fought against unfair trading practises, advised Government on disease management policies and now are working hard to ensure beef farmers have a future post Brexit.

Members receive a weekly e-newsletter, which includes the latest market information and NBA and industry news. We also produce a quarterly magazine for our membership including beef research, policy positions and health articles. Our members have access to our breeding terms and conditions of sale FOC, a step by step guide to selling breeding animals.



Without the support of fellow farmers we wouldn’t be able to carry out our work on behalf of the industry. The NBA is also great for networking and sharing knowledge. Members have the chance to join regional committees which feed into our policy strategies and we run many industry farm walks, meetings and trips across the UK which are discounted or free for our membership.

Standard subscription: £75.00 Under 26/student subscription: £40.00


Corporate Membership

For more information call NBA head office on 01434 601005 or email Visit our website to join today. THE NBA IS GRATEFUL TO THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES AND ORGANISATIONS FOR THEIR SUPPORT.


For more information on Corporate Membership packages from NBA, please call 01434 601005 or email

GOLD MEMBERS SHEARWELL DATA Animal identification systems: excellent cattle and sheep tags, comprehensive on-farm software and full management systems using EID.

FOR FARMERS We supply a range of feedstuffs that cater to both traditional and the more technically minded farmers and producers.

MOLE VALLEY All your technical advice and products to maximise the individual beef enterprise profits.

SAI GLOBAL ASSURANCE SERVICES LTD is the oldest and most established farm assurance provider originally set up to inspect the FABBL Scheme in the 90’s. Farmers trust in SAI Global’s experts for whole farm assurance including Red Tractor, GlobalGAP, LEAF Marque and retailer specific inspection programmes.


Berrystock Feeds

Harrison & Hetherington


Agri-Lloyd International Limited

Bishopton Veterinary Group

Hexham & Northern Marts

Sell My Livestock

Agrimin Limited

Boehringer Ingelheim

Livestock Lounge

Thirsk Farmers Auction Mart Ltd

AHDB Meat Services

C & D Auction Marts Limited


Tudor, Lawson, Dallimore & Parry

ANM Group Ltd

Craven Cattle Marts Limited

Meadow Quality Ltd

B.I.G Ltd

Frome Livestock Auctioneers Ltd

NWF Agriculture


The National Beef Association Magazine | AUTUMN 2021

NBA Membership

Application Form

Join the NBA Today

OR JOIN NOW ONLINE Visit today and help us make sure your industry’s future is secure. Alternately, fill out the form below and return to us via post.


POSTCODE: PHONE NUMBER: EMAIL ADDRESS: **If you would like to voluntarily over-pay on your subscription; please enter the amount below or tick the appropriate box. Annual subscription £75

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Under 26* £40

*Members under 26 years old - please provide your date of birth: D D M M Y Y METHODS OF PAYMENT: CREDIT CARD Card Type: Name on Card: Card Number:

Start Date: M M Y Y

Security Code: (last 3 digits on reverse of card)

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Issue No. (Maestro Only)

CHEQUE Made payable to the National Beef Association. STANDING ORDER To Bank plc:


Please pay Lloyds Bank plc, Malvern, WR14 4QG.

Sort code: 30-95-41

Account No: 23358760

The sum of: (circle selected amount)


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For the credit of the National Beef Association Under 26* £40

Commencing: Immediately and annually thereafter, until further notice. PLEASE QUOTE PAYMENT REFERENCE: Please cancel any previous Standing Order in favour of the beneficiary named above, under this reference. Membership No: (For internal use) Name of Account:

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The NBA complies fully with the General Data Protection Regulation. Please see our privacy policy for more details, which can be requested from the NBA Head Office. For any queries or concerns regarding GDPR, please write to: Data Protection at National Beef Association, Concorde House, 24 Warwick New Road, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 5JG

Please use Gift Aid to make your subscription worth more to NBA. For every pound you give us, we could earn an extra 25p from the Inland Revenue. Gift Aid Declaration: I want the National Beef Association to treat all subscriptions I make from the date of this declaration until I notify you otherwise as a Gift Aid donation. I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/ or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference.


Please return this form to: National Beef Association, Concorde House, 24 Warwick New Road, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 5JG #

AUTUMN 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


The earliest and fastest protection from BRSV and Pi3.

The broadest M. haemolytica prevention.1

Concurrent use of Bovilis® IBR Marker Live and Bovilis® Bovipast® RSP.

Unique lungworm protection.

Contact us to find out how we can help protect the long-term productivity of your herd or visit

Reference: 1. Donachie W (2002) The development of vaccines containing iron-regulated proteins (IRPs) of Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica for the control of pasteurellosis in cattle. XXII World Buiatrics Congress. Hanover. Bovilis® Bovipast® RSP contains inactivated BRSV (strain EV908), Pi3 virus (strain SF-4-Reisinger) and inactivated Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica (serotype A1). POM-V. Bovilis® Huskvac contains viable Dictyocaulus viviparus 3rd stage irradiated larvae. POM-V. Bovilis® IBR Marker Live contains live bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1), strain GK/D (gE¯)*: 105.7 - 107.3 TCID50**. *gE¯: glycoprotein E negative. **TCID50: tissue culture infective doses 50%. POM-V. Bovilis® INtranasal RSP™ Live contains live BRSV and Pi3. POM-V. Further information is available from the respective SPC, datasheet or package leaflets. MSD Animal Health UK Limited. Registered office Walton Manor, Walton, Milton Keynes MK7 7AJ, UK. Registered in England & Wales no. 946942. Advice should be sought from the medicine prescriber. Use Medicines Responsibly. © 2021 MSD Animal Health UK Limited. UK-BOV-210500004

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