At FarmVets SouthWest our experienced team provide a comprehensive and progressive service for our beef cattle clients. We are focused on driving farm efficiency and animal health, maximising herd productivity and profitability.

Working with our farmers, we build bespoke, comprehensive health plans which comply with Red Tractor standards and ensure that targets for animal welfare, biosecurity and productivity are met.  We implement health protocols that will help maximise the output on your farm and monitor growth rates, disease instances and mortality data.

Joining an accredited cattle health scheme helps you to monitor and eliminate disease from your herd.  This will reduce economic losses from sick animals, increase productivity, improve biosecurity and increase the sale value of breeding animals which can be accredited as ‘disease free’.  We can work with you to carry out annual tests and monitor disease status.

We use both disease prevalence data and practical assessments of your cow sheds to suggest improvements to ventilation, drainage, flooring, water trough and feed barrier space and cow resting areas. When designing new buildings, you will get the best results when you discuss your ideas with your entire advisory team, including your dedicated farm Vet.

At FarmVets SouthWest we are proud to offer an unrivalled nutrition service to farms in the South West.  As Vets, we are uniquely placed to asses all aspects of feeding affecting production and farm animal health. We offer everything from silage sampling, diet formulation using the latest computer software (“Diet-check”) to support on the ground with cow-side monitoring and advice.

Our clients use us in different ways:

Full first opinion service with David Taylor BVetMed MRCVS DipRN

David holds a diploma in Ruminant Nutrition.  He is “the nutrionist” and will devise diets and feeding systems to suit your cows.  He will help you source the best value and best quality cakes, straights and blends.  He also monitors performance fully in both a production and health context, and yes the two do go together!

Second opinion work

Very few things are more important or costly than the feed ration given to your cows.  Surely it makes sense to have a second opinion so a diet can be fed with confidence? Any of our Vets can check your rations.

Trouble shooting

Production not what you expected?  Cows scouring?  Too many DA's?  Milk fevers above target?  Get us involved and almost certainly we’ll tackle the problem which inevitably means going through the diets.  Available to clients and non-clients.

Several years ago FarmVets SouthWest launched the Performance Monitor Youngstock.

This is a very useful management tool to improve the performance of your replacement heifers (beef as well as dairy), and bring them to profit as soon as possible. The farms that have joined our scheme are doing really well and their initial results are very promising.  The scheme helps farmers to ensure their newborn heifers achieve the best possible start, and then monitors growth and performance.

Results are then analysed and where necessary changes in youngstock management will be implemented.

In summary:

  • Colostrum intake for every calf will be monitored by blood analysis
  • Weight gains for every calf will be monitored
  • Disease occurrence will be monitored
  • Heifer fertility will be monitored
  • Your farm will get a specific youngstock action plan

Whether you are a beef farmer or a dairy farmer; block calving or all year round, it is very important that you get your bull tested once a year.  Consider it an MOT for your bull!  The test is called a Bull Breeding Soundness Examination (BBSE) and is used to evaluate a bull’s fertility.

Unless the bull has an obvious physical ailment that is stopping it from being able to serve cows (lame, sick, etc.) it is impossible to determine his fertility just by looking at him.  Being fertile the previous year does not guarantee that he will be fertile the following year.
Various studies have consistently shown that between 20 - 25% of bulls that undergo routine breeding soundness tests are found to be subfertile or infertile (Penny 2010).
Infertility is rare but subfertility is far more common; these bulls are still able to serve and impregnate cows, but they are not achieving a conception rate equal to a fertile bull.  These subfertile bulls are often hard to discover without a BBSE, particularly if the farm runs more than one bull, as the other bulls will continue to serve the cows and effectively ‘cover up’ the subfertile bull’s shortcomings.  Poor fertility figures, a poor conception rate or a spread-out block calving pattern are all outcomes of using a subfertile bull.  These subfertile bulls will typically achieve a 40% conception rate, whereas a fertile bull will achieve at least 60%.

What is it? 

FarmVets SouthWest infectious Disease Monitor Scheme offers quarterly bulk milk testing for 4 of the biggest infectious diseases affecting herds: BVD, Leptospirosis, IBR, and Fluke.

This is now an entirely automated service using your payment testing samples. This means no more reminders to bring a bulk milk sample to us in the office. We do it all for you! 

Why use it? 

These major diseases can be extremely damaging to your farm.  By knowing the relevant disease levels on your farm we can act to offer the most current advice by your own Vet to plan for a profitable future. This is particularly important if you don't vaccinate.

How does it work? 

You choose which of the 4 diseases you want us to test for and we do the rest! Your samples will be collected automatically every 3 months and tested in the same labs as your payment testing. Quarterly reports will then be sent to you and us, which we can then discuss together.

How much does it cost? 

£?? + VAT per year, per disease tested.  For this you get 4 tests per year and all reporting included in this cost. 

How do I sign up? 

Simply contact the office asking to sign up for Infectious Disease Monitoring, letting us know which of the 4 diseases you would like testing for and we will get you set up.  For those already signed up to the original IDM scheme, please contact the office to confirm which diseases you still want testing.


Our in-house laboratory offers quick results on milk sample cultures, faecal worm egg counts and parasites, allowing prompt, targeted treatment.  We also have access to an extensive range of testing services through dedicated laboratories within our veterinary group.

FarmVets SouthWest are now registered providers of the above scheme.

The Dairy Co. Mastitis Control Plan has been used by nearly 1,000 farmers and has delivered impressive results.  If you are struggling with cell counts or mastitis cases then this approach is well worth considering. 

Our two in house laboratories offer rapid turnaround bacteriology. 

Designed for cows who although seem to cycle regularly have failed to become pregnant.

Embryo Implantation: We implant embryos one week post-service.  The second embryo doubles the signals given off by the uterus to tell the cow that she is in-calf.

Hormone Treatments: High yielding dairy cows have increased appetite.  The subsequent increased blood flow to the liver helps it break down reproductive hormones more quickly.  It follows that we need to supplement appropriate hormones at appropriate times.

Deep Uterine Washouts: We recently introduced a new treatment for repeat breeders and chronically dirty cows called Deep Uterine Washouts.  This involves using a special catheter with an inflatable cuff on the end which is passed trough the cervix and down each horn of the uterus.  Once in position the cuff is inflated and the horn is flushed with saline until it runs clear.  Finally, an antibiotic (metricure) is injected down the catheter.  This is then repeated with the other horn.

This treatment has worked well on repeat breeders so far with 30% of treated cows getting pregnant within the first 30 days after treatment.  The reason that this treatment works so well is that one of the most common causes of repeat breeder is chronic low-grade endometritis.  Some of these cows appear clean on ultrasound examination and have clean bulling string.  Of those cows treated for chronic endometritis (at least 3 syringes of metricure used on separate occasions without success) 75% were clean at the next check with improvement in the severity of endometritis in over 95%

Lameness is a perennial challenge which is important to address, not just from a welfare perspective but also an economic one.  A preventative approach will reduce problems and minimise financial loss.  Regular foot trimming and mobility scoring helps to keep your cows mobile, healthy and productive.

We are pleased to offer lameness reduction visits.  A short series of visits include:

  • Mobility scoring, and training in this skill
  • Foot trimming tuition or revision, including treatment tips for the common conditions and problem cows
  • Foot bathing appraisal and protocols
  • Record analysis to find which lesions are prevalent on your farm
  • Full risk assessment to show WHY your cows are becoming lame


These plans really work and have delivered impressive results on your neighbours farms.  Don't be left out, contact the surgery or chat to any of the Vets and book your visit.