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Practices take to NEC

by
01 October 2010, at 1:00am

went along to the first Dairy Event and Livestock Show to be held at the NEC

WE now have to get used to DELS, rather than simply the Dairy Event, which can be a little confusing.

For 2010, the annual gathering of aspects of interest to dairy farmers moved to the spacious National Exhibition Centre with everything, almost, under cover. With more stands and more people attending, the show is officially being referred to as a success. Several people commented that there was a buzz about the place but it was not always easy to find particular locations.

There was a strong veterinary presence and XL Vets walked away with the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers Prince Philip Award for its Farm Skills presentation. The big question was: “Who will be going to the palace for the presentation?”

Mentioned in the award criteria are innovation, serving the needs of the market and excellence in delivery. The stand was interactive, set some challenges for farmers and a veterinary surgeon was assisting at each point. As the initiative is only one year old there were many smiley faces because the effort has been recognised.

There was a stream of people coming onto the stand and the lime green T shirts were easy to spot. With individual veterinary practices also exhibiting it was a simple task for XL members to don a shirt and assist on the stand before regaining their original branding.

There were other relative newcomers also displaying their involvement with dairying. Clover (www.clovergroup.eu) offers Clover Cell Check. This has developed from the Lancashire practice of Lambert, Leonard & May and provides an analysis service of mastitis and related data to clients of other practices as well as their own herds.

The emphasis is to forward the analysis to the practice to pass on to the farmer with their own advisory notes. In order to simplify the process, key points are drawn out so that the herdsman can make any changes necessary without being overwhelmed with data. This may not be a unique service for mastitis but also being displayed were Clover Book Store, Clover Cow Signals Training, Clover Animal Health and probably other Clover products, launched in 2008, which are offered with technical support.

Exhibiting for the first time and new to the UK is Eurovet Animal Health (www.eurovet-ah.co.uk). Established in Holland over 40 years ago as a veterinary wholesaler, Eurovet is described as a “veterinary company owned by veterinary surgeons for the benefit of veterinary surgeons”.

Contract manufacturing has developed strategically over the years and the product range is continually being developed. This has stimulated an interesting opportunity for veterinary surgeons to put forward that gem of an idea, for therapy improvements or formulations, that has arisen from their experience.

If you have a product idea that you wish to put forward, then Ruth Vernon would like to hear from you (r.vernon@ eurovet.co.uk). As a past president of the BCVA, who entered industry from practice, Ruth is aware that cattle vets often have a wish list and the company likes to encourage practice- based development.

Launched at the show was a “brand new rodenticide”. Storm Secure is said to deliver a lethal dose of flocomafen in a single feed as a grain-based block. Concerns over possible effects on non- target species have been addressed by a user support programme. Further information is available at www.pestcontrol.basf.com.

Over the past three years, the number of robotic milking units in the UK has approximately doubled from about 170 to 400. It is said that 80% of the capital spend on dairy units has been on robots.

Lely (www.lely.com) has the lion’s share of the market with its red products but with the mechanics of attaching clusters and milking efficiently clearly defined, developments are now very much in the direction of improved software.

Online analysis of cell count, fat and protein are combined with rumination and interest in the relationship of regurgitation to disease developments. Responders on the neck of the cow utilise a microphone monitor to record regurgitation during the day.

Analysis is available for the herd or the individual animal with plus or minus parameters to highlight variance from the predicted. It is claimed that rumination reflects disease 10 times more accurately than activity meters.

Planning seminars

A series of Farm Health Planning Seminars ran over the two days. Topics covered included rearing young stock, aids to fertility performance, anthelmintic resistance, sustainable dairy health planning, technology for mastitis detection, infectious disease informed decisions, pain relief in mastitis and herd mobility scoring.

Of particular interest was the presentation by Christianne Glossop on raising the standards of biosecurity on farm. Emphasising that there is no such thing as perfect biosecurity, the idea was planted that the topic for the farmer represents a series of hurdles that need to be identified and addressed to reduce the risk of infection.

Referring to the work to reduce risks to nucleus pig units with a developed scoring system and the scoring tool for TB developed by the RVC and trialled in Wales, the value of an on-farm biosecurity protocol was shown to be worth developing. Biosecurity is about minimising and managing risks: it is not easy to measure but it is so much more than a bucketful of disinfectant. The usual soapbox sessions at speakers’ corner ran throughout the two days and Roger Blowey responded to many comments and observations, followed by Andy Biggs.

It is interesting to stand back and observe because there is no reason for people to stop and listen, there is no seating and the speaker has to compete for attention.

There are some worthwhile exchanges and if you fancy having a go you might speak to Roger and Andy about it. They may not be aware, but they were followed onto the box by a forthright proponent of a fair deal for dairy farmers from the milk buyers. With a 6p variance in the farm gate price, he soon collected a lively audience.

Fun seemed to be a factor on the pharmaceutical company stands. The Ubrolexin white chocolate machine attracted a flow of people dipping strawberries, marshmallows and grapes into the stream and often being unable to retreat without dribbling some chocolate down their front.

Maybe Boehringer should have arranged for visitors to attend the Intervet/Schering-Plough stand first and collect an orange Mastiplan milking apron and towel to provide choccie protection. It is unlikely that the grass- covered hats from Pfizer would have helped...

Merial promoted that “crime doesn’t pay” and the theme “Don’t let gutworms steal your milk”, with Eprinex to the rescue complete with police car, interview room and handcuffs.