We appreciate farming is tough, juggling weather, regulations, staffing, optimal productivity, and animal care, all whilst balancing your wellbeing. Having a trusted source of information and farm advice to help you make informed decisions is our goal.
As animal health experts, we have written this collection of farm animal care articles to help you provide the best possible lifetime care of your herd, stock or flock.
Good rearing of calves is the key to a successful dairying operation. The lifetime production of a cow is determined by how well it is reared as a calf. The key to rearing good calves is to get the basics right at the very beginning. Calves that are poorly grown up to weaning never recover and will result in poorly grown heifers.
Calf scours may result in the need for intensive treatments. Losses can be significant and recovered animals can have reduced lifetime production. Bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and nutritional factors can all cause scours in newborn calves.
Horns in cattle can be a significant source of injury to cattle. There are special considerations that are relevant to the transport of horned animals. Because of these significant welfare issues, it is best management to disbud calves at an early age.
Ticks are blood sucking external parasites. The common cattle tick Haemaphysalis longicornis favours cattle but they are not completely host specific and can infest deer, sheep, goats, humans, horses, rabbits, hares, and domestic pets.
Theileriosis is a tick-borne disease caused by an intracellular blood parasite that in NZ is carried by the cattle tick Haemaphysalis longicornis. Although it may cause tick irritation and local reactions in all species, it is currently believed that H.longicornis only transmits theileriosis to cattle.
This is a new and emerging problem in New Zealand. BDD has been diagnosed in Mid Canterbury and is a serious issue. If you have any suspicion you might have this disease in your herd ring your vet as we are highly focussed on finding and treating this disease in the hope we can prevent it becoming a larger issue.
BVD is probably the most important viral disease of the New Zealand cattle industry. An estimated 90% of New Zealand dairy farms have been exposed to the virus, and BVD costs the dairy industry approximately $50 million per year.
The incidence of human Leptospirosis in New Zealand is amongst the highest in the world. Increasing awareness and regulation of health and safety on farms means that you are responsible for managing the risk of human Leptospirosis infection on your farm.
The cornerstone of mastitis control is a Dry Cow Therapy (DCT) programme. Dry Cow Therapy has two functions; to cure existing infections and to prevent new infections during the dry period and around calving time.
Knowing the trace mineral status of your herd before you start heat detection is important. The trace minerals are important in maintaining optimal cow health, which is essential for successful production and reproduction.
Non-cycling cows are cows not detected in heat either in the pre-mating period or during the mating period. Non-cyclers can reduce the 6 week in calf rate because they do not contribute to a high 3 week submission rate and they reduce the first service conception rate.
Metrichecking identifies cows with endometritis (uterine infection). Identification of these animals allows for treatment before the commencement of mating in order to improve the reproductive performance of the herd which means an extra 14 - 20 days in milk per cow treated the next lactation.
Lameness is a problem which has become more serious with the average weight of dairy cows increasing from the predominant Jersey herds to more cross-bred and Holstein Friesian herds. Also, with the larger herd sizes, cows are having to walk longer distances with more chance of hoof problems.
Facial Eczema can affect dairy and beef cattle of all ages but younger animals are more susceptible. Facial eczema (FE) can be a very important disease in certain parts of NZ where the summer/autumn climate tends to be warm and humid.
Trace minerals are recognised for the importance they play in ensuring healthy and productive livestock. Many formulations will maintain normal trace element levels but not all will provide enhancement of performance in herds with adequate mineral status.
IBK-Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis. Pinkeye is a painful and highly infectious eye disease of cattle which if not treated adequately can result in large numbers of animals affected and temporary or permanent blindness.
All VetEnt Dairy veterinarians are equipped with touch screen computers and portable printers for on farm recording of individual animal and herd treatments and examinations, including a specifically developed non-cycling cow and pregnancy testing module for cow side recording.
Cow wearables, such as cow collars and ear sensors, are being used more and more on New Zealand dairy farms to help monitor and manage animal performance, health and fertility. Learn about the many benefits they offer.