We have some good news! Last year our practice, in association with Stuart Young Veterinary services, submitted a bid for a research project to the Rural Development Project for England and we are very pleased to announce that we have secured the funding that we asked for.

In 2009 the RDPE set up a number of focus groups across both the dairy and beef sectors and all identified BVD and Johnes Disease as high priority problems.

The aim of our project is to demonstrate the increase in profitability that can be achieved with a program of testing and control of these two diseases.

We hope to achieve this in two ways. Firstly by putting in place a comprehensive program of education, training and knowledge transfer, to allow all those who take part to gain a better understanding of the nature of these diseases and the methods by which we can control their spread within and between herds.

The second part of this project will be a part subsidized scheme of blood testing.

This is to be organized in part by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency as part of their HERDSURE cattle health scheme. With access to the BCMS animal data, they will produce a specifically targeted blood testing program for each farm, informing us which animals need to be tested and when.

They have a fantastic understanding of how these diseases spread through different types of herds, and combine this and the animal data to ensure that each blood testing regime has the greatest impact on the disease levels within each herd. Well over forty dairy and beef farms are taking part, with a broad spectrum of sizes, breeds and managements systems.

The project is to run for three years, at the end of which we will look at the improvements that have been achieved and analyse the cost benefits to each business taking part. When we demonstrate the positive contribution to profitability that a well designed and rigorously implemented monitoring and control program has on the participating herds, we hope to advertise this widely in the farming media and perhaps encourage more farmers to participate in disease eradication/health schemes, both regionally and nationally.

To monitor our progress please visit the project website www.swhliherdimprovement.co.uk

To find out more about the HERDSURE cattle health scheme either contact us or visit their website athttp://www.defra.gov.uk/vla/vlascientific/vlas_herdsure.htm