News From FarmVets SouthWest

November Newsletter

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Herdsperson of the Year


FVSW would like to congratulate their client, Michael Peach of F.E.Hill and Sons, Stockland Lovell, on the excellent award of herdsperson of the Year.  

The award was given to Mike at the South West Dairy Event and was presented to him by the Countess of Wessex. 

Mike milks 275 cows with a yield of 10,500 litres, a calving index of 412 days, a cell count of  129 and a bactoscan of 14 with a routine weekly fertility visit by FVSW.  These figures are even more creditable when we consider the fact that Mike only serves for 10 months of the year. 

Mike is ably assisted by his wife, Annette, who has responsibility for the calf rearing, heifer AI-ing and record keeping.  

This award is thoroughly deserved, Mike works from 3.30am with a final check of the cows at 9pm.  He is fastidious with regard to cleanliness and general attention to detail and the biggest winners are his cows.                                                                                   AM  


To Randolph and Brian Miller of Moorshard Farm, who received a raft of awards at the South-West Dairy Event for their entries from their excellent Moorshard Holsteins herd.

Brian has also branched out to Brown Swiss.  His new Sedgemoor Herd also achieved some excellent     successes .  Brian likes the Brown Swiss breed—he says that they have “lots of character”.                           AM

Welcome Part 1

The latest recruit to FVSW, Joe Davies,  starts work on the first of November. Joe is  a highly experienced farm animal vet and  we hope this shows our commitment to providing a top quality service.

We are sure that Joe will settle in well at FVSW and that he will receive a warm welcome from our clients.                        DT

Welcome Part 2

The partners at FVSW would like to heartily welcome David Taylor to the partnership. We are delighted that DT has committed to the practice and the area long term.  We believe David is an excellent vet who brings many skills to the team and adds to the stability of the practice.  One of his main areas of interest is nutrition and he is currently studying for the Diploma in Ruminant Nutrition.                                                       AM  

Dry Period Risk Factors for Mastitis and High Cell Counts

As a follow up to last months piece about Dr Bradley’s talk, below are listed management practices which are linked to a decreased risk of dry period origin mastitis and high cell counts. 

Overall Factors 

Fly control used in summer months

Younger cows

Store all bedding materials inside

Previous Lactation

SCC in the last 90 days of lactation less than 200,000

Yield before drying off less than 10 litres (risk doubles for every 10 litre increase) 

Drying Off

Teats disinfected with surgical spirit swab for administration of tubes

Select dry cow treatment for individual cows (please talk to us about this!)

Dry off cows during milking

Stand cows for 30 minutes after drying off

Body condition score cows (this may seem odd but herds that go to the lengths of condition scoring cows are more likely to have greater attention to detail in other areas)

Early Dry Period

Disinfect cubicle bedding

Good drainage in cubicles

If straw used for cubicle bedding, it should be chopped

Mattresses used on cubicles (not as good as sand though)

Late Dry Period

For transition cow yards allow at least 1.25 m2 per 1,000Kg of average annual production (e.g. 12.5 square meters for 10,000 litres per cow per year or 10 square metres for 8,000 litres per cow per year)

Disinfect cubicle bedding (if cubicles used)

Use mattresses on cubicle surface (still not a good as sand)

Scrape feed and loaf area daily

Bed cubicles daily

If grazing, graze paddock for two weeks and rest for four weeks (very effective for strep uberis)

Do not house transition cows with milking herd (some still do this)

Calving Period

Clean calving pens out daily

Use an even cover of bedding

Use the same forages as milking cows

Cows first fore-milked within 4-6 hours after calving

Calves are not able to cross suckle


This  is not an exhaustive list of control measures but simply existing measures in place on farms that Dr. Bradley found had a low incidence of mastitis/ somatic cell counts linked to the dry period.