Presentation on theme: "Are there any regional differences in TB controls for calves? Rob Drysdale MRCVS Westpoint Veterinary Group Ltd."— Presentation transcript:
Are there any regional differences in TB controls for calves? Rob Drysdale MRCVS Westpoint Veterinary Group Ltd
Who is Rob Drysdale MRCVS? Managing Director Westpoint Vet Group Ltd Farm vet for 17 years Particular interest in calf health and welfare Vet to Blade Farming SW Ltd: –Complete and integrated beef supply chain –Produced more nearly 20,000 calves last year –UK’s largest integrated beef producer
Westpoint Vet Group 16 practices across UK with 50 farm vets Total practice over 3,000 clients 250+ dairy farms: –More than 90,000 dairy cows (av herd 350 cows) –Low input extensive to high input intensive Over 300,000 head of beef and youngstock: –Fattening units from 100 to 8,000 head/year –Suckler farms from 20 to 1,000 cows
Background Calf Forum Strategy Group project Investigate the impact of TB on dairy units in different regions of the UK Meeting with WVG Senior Vets twice yearly had raised issues of how the varying regions interpret TB annexes Blade Farming experiences – rearing units and supplying dairy farmers
Blade Farming and AQUs Frustration for calf supply chain Richard Phelps could see potential Started in 2005 with 1 x TB approved unit Now have several sheds on several farms each with own TB licence as AQU Capacity of around 2,000 calves per cycle Around 1.5 cycles per AQU per year
Blade Farming and AQUs System works with local AHVLA support Retailer and processor support Breeds – many but B&W difficult to justify Great value weaned “store” cattle Move to finishers on contract for slaughter Dedicated farmers and also occasional purchasers
Background WVG practices split into 5 English regions Director or Senior Vet heads up each area Regions have different DEFRA offices managing them Vets and farmers frustrated through different approaches by DEFRA Vets AHVLA – new team from 2011
Background Five distinct regions – AHVLA offices: North West = Carlisle Midlands = Stafford East Anglia = Chelmsford now Reading South West = Truro and Exeter South East = Reading 10 units SW Scotland with 10,000 cows Blade Farming – TB controls
North West 41 dairy farms with 15,000 cows 4 holdings under TB restriction last 2 years No units currently under restriction No local TB controlled rearing available All bull calves shot Approx 400 calves shot in period
Midlands 27 dairy farms with 5,700 cows 11 holdings TB restricted last 2 years 5 units currently under restriction Little support for TB controlled rearing in region and DEFRA “seems unwilling” to support Not all bull calves shot Approx 500 calves shot in period
East Anglia 28 dairy farms with 6,900 cows No holdings TB restricted last 2 years Beef units affected with 3 under restriction Good support for TB controlled rearing in region with one specialist finishing unit in place No bull calves shot!
South East 65 dairy farms with >34,000 cows 18 holdings TB restricted last 2 years 4 units currently under restriction Varying support for TB controlled rearing in region. No specialist rearing or finishing units in place Over 500 bull calves shot!
South West 50 dairy farms with >18,000 cows Only 12 holdings not been affected by TB restrictions in last 2 years 20+ units currently under restriction (dairy) Good support locally TB controlled rearing in region. Several specialist rearing and finishing units in place
WVG and TB in South West Working with 8 AQU sheds Handling total of 1,000 calves each cycle Average of 1.7 cycles per year Total beef x and dairy bull calves on the current restricted farms = 3,000+ 3 x actual TB breakdowns in last 4 years Estimate over 1,000 B&W calves shot!
Conclusions (1) All collated from WVG vets and practices? Frustration felt by farmers and vets: –Veterinary variation – advice AHVLA –Regional variation – implementation of TB control measures –Wastage when system is meant to be in place Now the regulations have been updated again
Conclusions (2) Drawbacks exist – the system is not perfect even when working: –Spread of disease potential risk –TB test is not infallible (70% sensitive?) –Extreme biosecurity needs to be considered Testing procedures and systems could be better? No new AQUs being licensed in SW?