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Omagh Dairy Finds Benefits of Health Challenge

27 March 2009

NORTHERN IRELAND - UK - It is estimated that mastitis costs Northern Ireland dairy farmers £14 million annually.

Similar to many other animal diseases, prevention is always more cost effective than control. With mastitis as a focus topic, a group of farmers from the Omagh area participated in the Animal Health Challenge. The group was facilitated by Jane Sayers, a CAFRE development adviser, and veterinary surgeon Gordon Grey. As part of this programme farmers were able to discuss aspects of mastitis prevention and control on farm and the implications of housing layout, calving facilities and milking parlour management.

Richard Fulton has a dairy herd near Seskinore, four miles from Omagh. After participating in the ‘Animal Health Challenge’, Richard focused on identifying the causes of mastitis and how to reduce cases in his herd. As some of the farmers in the group commented: “healthy udder, healthy profits.”

The programme highlighted the importance of regular servicing of the milking machine, especially changing the teat liners at the recommended 2,500 milkings. This simple action has helped teat condition and will reduce the susceptibility to mastitis. Richard feels that this is an area that many farmers neglect, particularly at a time when dairy margins are squeezed. He pointed out that not maintaining the milk parlour costs more in the long term.

Thomas O’Kane farms at Drumlegagh. Thomas commented that the programme was very informative and beneficial for his dairy business. Attending the Challenge provided Thomas with the opportunity to discuss issues relating to mastitis prevention with the vet and other dairy farmers. In the current economic climate, any improvement in efficient detection and treatment of disease is financially very beneficial.

Drew McConnell farms at Carrigans, Omagh, overlooking the Strule Valley. On completion of the Mastitis unit of the Animal Health Challenge Drew felt he had a better understanding of the latest technologies available to identify cows with mastitis. It also gave him an insight into the different types of mastitis and the most cost effective treatments available. Drew found this beneficial in reducing costs as clearly shown through his ongoing dairy benchmarking.

In the current financial climate prevention is always better than treatment. Short courses can be held in your local area to cover important issues on dairy cow health. For further information on the Animal Health Challenge and Short Courses contact your local CAFRE development adviser.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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