Bayer Cattle Symposium Looks at Production

PORTUGAL - Bayer Animal Health (BAH) has confirmed its commitment to transforming cattle production at the 4th International Bayer Cattle Symposium. Reflecting their long-term dedication to meeting the needs of the cattle world, the BAH symposium, held last week, brought together an array of international experts to focus on two key areas of concern for modern cattle production: the management of vectors and vector-borne diseases in ruminants; and current approaches to metabolic disorders in cattle.
calendar icon 6 June 2012
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Wolfgang Müller, Head Global Marketing Food Animal Products at BAH said: “It is well known that global warming is leading to a geographic expansion of vectors and vector-borne diseases, including the recent outbreaks of Bluetongue and the Schmallenberg virus in Europe (spread by mosquitoes and biting midges).

"As part of our commitment to transforming livestock production, we have pulled together leading experts in the field to help our customers better understand how to manage the significant threats posed by these diseases. We are also seeing increasing challenges for our customers in meeting the needs of a rapidly growing global population while maintaining the health and welfare of their stock.

"That’s why we have gathered experts in managing metabolic disorders, who we believe can help to guide our customers on maximising the returns from their livestock.”

Discussion of the threat posed by disease vectors in livestock was led by Dr Chandra Bhushan, Global Marketing Parasiticides at BAH. Dr Bhushan’s presentation touched on the causes of increased vector activity, including global warming, global trade, deforestation and intensification of animal production. He also outlined the threats to livestock and human health posed by the diseases transmitted by vectors.

As well as giving the audience a greater understanding of the lifecycle and diagnosis of these vector-borne diseases, Professor Passos also outlined key approaches to the treatment and control of these diseases. These included the use of acaricides to control their vectors, chemoprophylaxis and vaccination.

Professor Nicholas Jonsson from the University of Glasgow, UK, gave practical guidance on developing effective vector control programmes. Among the topics covered by Professor Jonsson were: the different approaches required for suppressive versus strategic control programmes; the need for awareness of local regulations regarding treatment selection, storage and usage; the importance of understanding the mechanism of action of active ingredients; and finally, the value of understanding the resistance profiles and distribution of vectors at a local level.

Dr Bertrand Losson from the University of Liège in Belgium took the audience through examples of less well known but emerging vector-borne diseases in livestock. Diseases discussed by Dr Losson included the Schmallenberg virus, parafilariosis (spread by the Face Fly), besnoitiosis (spread by blood-sucking flies, particularly tabanids), and anaplasmosis (spread by Ixodidae). These diseases are increasing in their geographical spread, with besnoitiosis in particular rapidly spreading and posing a real threat to productivity. In all cases, the use of insecticides to prevent transmission remains the most effective approach to managing the risks posed.

The other key challenge facing livestock producers is the management of metabolic disorders in cattle. This topic was opened by Professor Heuwieser of the Free University of Berlin, Germany, who discussed subclinical ketosis in dairy cattle, its identification and impact on production. According to Professor Heuwieser, increased levels of ketone body concentrations in dairy cattle are an indicator of reduced adaptation compensation to negative energy requirements between reproduction and lactation.

Although the prevalence of subclinal ketosis varies across countries and dairy farms, Professor Heuwieser had the opportunity to present a recent study conducted in Europe where the calculated prevalence was 26 per cent, while demonstrating the association between subclinical ketosis and economic losses due to decreased milk production, increased risk of displaced abomasum, impaired reproductive performance and an increased risk of clinical ketosis.

The impact of subclinical ketosis was also explored by Dr Siegfried Moder, who practices in Steingaden, Germany. According to Dr Moder, one of the key factors preventing dairy cattle achieving their maximum production value is the health of the cow’s metabolism. As cows are not capable of consuming enough dry matter to meet their maximum milk yield, there is a negative energy balance at the initiation of milk production, which causes the cow to mobilise fat reserves. If not managed properly, this process can cause long-term damage to the cow, ultimately impacting on the immune system and fertility, as discussed by Professor Heuweiser.

The costs of these effects are not solely seen in reduced yields and medication costs, but also in discarded milk and unrealised profits. These costs have been valued at €248 per cow for subclinical ketosis, rising to €1,035 in cases of clinical ketosis. As a result, Dr Moder proposed a 4-point plan for reducing the cost associated with ketosis, saving money and increasing profits:

  1. Identify and eliminate risk factors for Fat Metabolism Syndrome (FMS) and ketosis, such as inappropriate feed rationing and the housing of dry animals separately from the rest of the herd.
  2. Identify animals at risk, such as those who are overconditioned, or animals with twins, and stabilise their energy metabolism and inhibit lipolysis using products such as Catosal and propylene glycol.
  3. Identify and treat subclinical and clinical ketosis.

According to Dr Joao Canelas Raposo, Global Strategy & Portfolio Management at BAH: “This symposium was a great opportunity for Bayer Animal Health to once again demonstrate our commitment to our customers and to ensure that they remain abreast of the very latest information in the field of livestock production. We recognise that it’s not enough that our portfolio of products, such as Catosal, Bayticol and Bayofly, offer solutions to the problems our customers face.

"It’s also vital that we share the latest understanding to ensure they are used correctly for optimal results and that our innovation will meet the real needs and challenges from cattle productivity. That’s why meetings like this are so important to us – we care about playing our part in transforming livestock production together with our customers, for now and for the future.”

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