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Happy Herefords - 'Hi Health' or just plain old 'Good Health' !?

Farmer Mon
08 April 2018 22:13

Happy Herefords - 'Hi Health' or 'Good Health'

To answer an often asked question by prospective purchasers of cattle: 

Happy Herefords is not a member of a 'hi health' scheme for several reasons, cost does come into it, as always. Joining a health scheme is a topic that I discuss annually with my vet, we only really have an annual discussion basically because I only really see him two or three times a year. My annual vet bill ranges between £300-£500 per annum, of which the cost of drugs is approx 1/3rd. I dont reckon thats too bad for a 40 cow suckler herd.

I often use Homeopathic remedies my six 'go to' remedies being Caullphylum, Aconite, Arnica, Thuja, Hepar sulp, & new forest eye nosode. This works well for me, but only during the winter period as much of the year the cows drink from the river and most remedies are applied in the water.

I use Closomectin pour on once a year at housing for all livestock drinking river water maybe nice because its free but we do have to watch for liverfluke. Thankfully none reported at the abattoir in the last 10 years 

Mortality at Happy Herefords is, thankfully low, over 10 years 4 cows have died on the farm and two of those were shot as a result of injuries sustained from falling in/getting stuck the River Great Ouse, one yearling heifer died of bloat whilst I was away cooking burgers and 9 calves have died over the same period.  

I did sign up to the BVDfree scheme and we've been tagging and testing now for nearly two calving seasons, so far all negative.

I am in a one year TB testing area, the whole herd annual test and autumn testing of store cattle has been negative for the last 10 years.

After a long discussion about the efficacy of the Johnes testing, the two types of test and the sheer lottery behind the disease, its behaviour and dormancy we came to the conclusion that having not had a clinical case show its face within the herd in the last 10 years we can just continue to monitor overall heard health for that one.

That just leaves lepto & IBR, again having milked cows for 20 years before establishing my own herd of sucklers I've seen enough cases of lepto & IBR to know what I'm looking at and if I have a problem.

In some ways I'm lucky that as a livestock farm I'm relatively isolated in the north end of rural Buckinghamshire, in other ways I'm not because I tend to be surrounded by grumpy arable farmers!

Membership of a 'Hi Health Scheme' is currently not for me, too many farmer comments relating to costs, poor administration, stress of almost continual testing on both stock, vets and farmers, stress of re-testing, sometimes questionable reliability of results requiring  re-testing - more stress... quite frankly in a 7 year closed herd, no, not putting myself or my cows through it. The annual TB test is enough.

I have always and will always stand by any of my stock, stores, breeding heifers, barren cows, sold on the live market, buyers at Hereford & Thrapston Livestock markets will know that.

So, whilst Happy Herefords is not strictly 'Hi Health' we do reckon we are in Good Health!