This year the Pr€vention for Profit competition is focused on sheep. The competition is aimed at sheep farmers who are maximising their on-farm profitability by focusing on the four pillars of production – nutrition, breeding, animal health and management.
The competition is divided into two categories, lowland and hill sheep farming systems. Three lowland and three hill sheep farmers have been chosen as champions.
The six champions are being assessed by a panel of judges on the four pillars of production and the two winning champions (one lowland and one hill) will win an all expenses paid study tour to Scotland in summer, 2022.
Scroll through the document below to meet all of this year’s champions!
Keep and eye out in the 21st of October’s Irish Farmers Journal where we will be announcing the winners of the competition.
Salmonella is a significant disease on Irish dairy farms and can greatly impact on herd productivity and profitability. The implications include high abortion rates, high calf mortality, reduced growth rates and depressed fertility in animals that do overcome the infection. It is also a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transferred easily from animals to humans.
One farmer who doesn’t take any risks when it comes to Salmonella is Waterford farmer, Tom Power. Farming in Drumhills, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Tom is milking a herd of 300 cows in a spring-calving system.
In the video below, Tom outlines the importance of Salmonella control on his farm and why vaccinating with Bovilis® Bovivac® S has become a critical component of his herd management programme.
“The herd is at a size now, where we can’t take any chances with their health and that’s why we vaccinate against Salmonella. Like most farmers do, we put a huge amount of time and effort into getting the cows into calf, so keeping them in calf is our number one priority,” says Tom.
No farm is risk free
According to Tom’s local Veterinary Practitioner, Declan Gilchrist from Deise Vets in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, “no farm is risk free. Just because you haven’t had Salmonella on your farm before, doesn’t mean you are protected from it.”
Currently in Ireland, Bovilis® Bovivac® S is the only vaccine available for the control of salmonellosis in cattle. Healthy calves from approximately three weeks of age can receive the primary vaccination course of two 2ml injections separated by an interval of 14 to 21 days.
Calves over six months of age and adult cattle should receive two 5ml injections 21 days apart. All cattle vaccinated with the primary vaccination course of Bovilis® Bovivac® S should receive a 5ml injection at least two weeks prior to each period of risk or at intervals of no more than 12 months thereafter.
Tom concludes: “We try to give each animal a chance and by vaccinating against Salmonella every year, we are reducing the risk of illness and ensuring the cow’s health and performance is not impacted. As it is a zoonotic disease, vaccination also possibly lowers the risk to anyone working here on the farm.”
Reasons to control Salmonella
There are two strains of Salmonella to be aware of for your herd. Salmonella dublin (S dublin) is the most common type associated with abortion in cattle in Ireland and has a high carrier status. Salmonella typhimurium is more commonly associated with diarrhoea outbreaks but can be a cause of abortions.
As well as causing abortions, clinical signs can vary from very mild diarrhoea to those which show obvious signs of fever, dehydration, and profuse diarrhoea, followed by death in a few days.
Clinical outbreaks in young calves can often resemble pneumonia. Acute infections can become chronic and may result in poor thrive, chronic diarrhoea, and terminal dry gangrene.
Salmonella is a significant disease on Irish dairy farms. It can survive for up to two years in the right conditions and the disease is shed mostly in faeces.
In many cases, cows that are infected with Salmonella will often appear clinically normal and Salmonella can survive for up to two years in the right conditions and the disease is shed mostly in faeces. In many cases, cows that are infected with
Salmonella will often appear clinically normal and healthy. It is common when these animals become stressed that they begin shedding the bacteria, infecting other cows, or getting sick themselves.
Hygiene and biosecurityto control Salmonella
Vaccination is critical; however, to maximise animal immunity and minimise exposure, it must coincide with the strict management measures outlined below.
Maintain a closed herd.
If buying in, quarantine arrivals for a period of four weeks minimum.
Strict biosecurity should be particularly maintained around cases.
Faecal material from clinical cases must not enter the slurry tank.
A disinfection point should be in place for everyone who enters and leaves the farm to use.
A rodent and bird control plan should be in place, especially regarding access to feed stores.
Hygiene of buildings between batches of animals is also critical.
The ‘Prevention for Profit’ competition is aimed at progressive lowland and hill sheep farmers that feel they are maximising their profitability by focusing on the four key pillars of production. These pillars are nutrition, breeding, animal health and management.
The competition is divided into two categories, lowland and hill sheep farmers. There will be three lowland sheep farmers and three hill sheep farmers chosen as champions.
The six champions will be assessed on the four pillars of production, namely nutrition, breeding, animal health, and management.
There will be one champion selected from each category and the two lucky sheep farmers will win an all-expenses paid study tour to Scotland in summer, 2022.
The Pr€vention for Profit concept is part of a global MSD animal health initiative which is called ‘#TimeToVaccinate’.
The ‘Time to Vaccinate’ initiative focuses on the use of preventative practices to ensure the well-being of farm animals and the sustainable production of meat, dairy and lamb.
It supports farmers who have already adopted vaccination, as well as farmers who want to learn more about how vaccination can improve animal health, productivity and subsequently profitability.
For more information on the #TimeToVaccinate initiative please click here.
Please read the terms and conditions of this competition here.
One of the voluntary measures under Action 2 of the BEEP-S is vaccination. The objective of this action is for farmers to implement a vaccination programme to reduce the incidence of bovine respiratory disease caused by certain viruses and bacteria otherwise known as pathogens. Bovine Respiratory Disease or BRD as it is also known, refers to diseases that affect the respiratory system of cattle. The best-known example of BRD in cattle is pneumonia.
It is advised that all applicants should consult with their attending veterinary practitioner for the most suitable vaccination programme for their farm. To qualify for payment, date of vaccine administration and purchase receipts must be kept on file and made available to Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) upon inspection.
Why is vaccination part of this programme?
A correctly timed vaccination programme in conjunction with correct animal management can have both an economic and labour-saving result for the farmer.
Vaccination programmes can:
Improve the welfare of the animals. Vaccines can reduce the risk of an animal becoming infected by certain disease pathogens
Reduce the risk of animals becoming ill which reduces the need for antibiotic treatment
Protect animals during risk periods. Examples are weaning, housing, mixing of groups, transport, mart trade etc.
Reduce sick days for animals while also maintaining thrive, allowing animals to reach key target weights
Studies show beef cattle with obvious signs of pneumonia can take over 59 days longer to finish than healthy animals. Even animals showing little or no sickness can be suffering from subclinical respiratory disease which will increase finishing times to slaughter. See figure 1 below:
Purpose of Action 2 – vaccination
If you selected vaccination as part of Action 2 of the programme you will need to familiarise yourself with the disease pathogens you are trying to protect your cattle against, the vaccines suitable for the programme and their protocols. Let’s start with the disease pathogens. The vaccination pillar of the programme aims at reducing the disease incidence caused by BRD which is illustrated in figure 2:
Respiratory Syncytial Virus
Bovine herpes virus type 1 (BoHV-1), (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis)
Mannhaemia (Pasteurella) haemolytica
Figure 2. List of disease pathogens the programme aims to protect calves against through vaccination
For the purpose of this programme, Teagasc are advocating the importance of vaccinating calves against all four pathogens listed in figure 2 where possible. If inspected, you must provide receipts to show proof of purchase and a record of vaccine administration dates in order to satisfy Action 2 of the programme.
Applicants must choose one of the following vaccination protocols to qualify for payment:
Option 1. (if there is adequate time before risk period or a broader coverage including bacteria is required)
First subcutaneous injection of RSV, PI3 and Mannhaemia haemolytica dead vaccine, six to eight weeks before weaning/housing/sale
Second subcutaneous injection of RSV, PI3 and Mannhaemia haemolytica dead vaccine, two to four weeks before weaning/housing/sale
At the same time as the second injection, a single IBR live intra-muscular, two to four weeks before weaning/housing/sale
Option 2. (if there is a short time before risk period or if cattle can only be handled once)
Single RSV and Pi3 Intranasal two to four weeks before weaning/housing/sale
At the same time, a single (or two dose programme) IBR live intra-muscular injection (two to four weeks before weaning/housing/sale)
MSD Animal Health has the full portfolio of BRD vaccines to provide protection against the four pathogens listed in figure 2. Figure 3 below displays the disease pathogen each product provides protection against and the specific vaccination protocol.
MSD Animal Health are advising all farmers to implement a vaccination protocol using Bovipast RSP and Bovilis IBR Marker Live. Benefits of this programme:
Combination of these vaccines will provide protection against all four pathogens
The two vaccines are licenced to be administered on the same day
Bovipast RSP provides the BROADEST cover against Mannhaemia haemolytica that’s available on the market
Bovilis IBR Marker Live provides the FASTEST onset of immunity compared to competitor product
Provides protection against RSV, PI3 and the BROADEST protection against Mannhaemia ((Pasteurella) haemolytica
Inactivated or dead vaccine
Two shot primary course given four weeks apart. One shot is 5ml
The second shot must be given no later that two weeks prior to weaning, sale or housing
1st shot six weeks prior to risk
2nd shot two weeks prior to risk
Subcutaneous injection (under the skin)
Bovilis IBR Marker Live
Provides the FASTEST onset of immunity against IBR
Single 2ml shot given at least two weeks prior to weaning, sale or housing
Intranasal (up the nose) or intramuscular (into the muscle) injection
Both intranasal and intramuscular administration will give 6 months protection when given to stock over 3 months old.
Bovilis INtranasal RSP Live
Provides the FASTEST onset of immunity against RSV and Pi3
Single 2ml shot given at least one week prior to weaning, sale or housing
Provides 12 weeks protection against RSV & PI3
MSD Animal Health are advising all farmers to consult with their attending veterinary practitioner prior to implementing a vaccination protocol.
If inspected, you must provide receipts to show proof of purchase and a record of vaccine administration dates in order to satisfy Action 2 of the programme.
References Bareille et al. 2008. Impact technique et économique des troubles respiratoires des jeunes bovins lors de l’engraissement. Rencontres autour des recherches sur les ruminants: 77-80.
It’s that easy! Don’t waste time, get snapping and be in with the chance to win this amazing prize!
The competition is running from Thursday the 19th of August to 12am on Sunday, the 12th of September. The winner will be announced on Monday, the 13th of September.
The winner will be picked at random! Lets see those weanling photos!
Bovipast RSP – The number one pneumonia vaccine
Bovipast RSP is the number one pneumonia vaccine used in cattle in Northern Ireland. It protects against two viral causes of pneumonia: RSV and PI3 viruses; and the bacterium Mannheimia haemolytica.
Bovipast RSP is the only cattle vaccine licensed to protect against Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica serotypes A1 and A6. Protection against both strains is vitally important and is unique to Bovipast RSP.
Calves can be vaccinated from two weeks of age. The vaccination program is two shots four weeks apart. A booster dose should be given before the next period of risk. Bovipast can also be administered at the same time as Bovilis IBR Marker Live.
Vaccinating cattle before they get pneumonia can be a very effective way of controlling disease. The vaccine stimulates the animal’s immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies help the animal to fight infection when they encounter it.
Lameness in sheep is a significant issue in flocks in Ireland. Lame sheep are a cost to any farm business due to the costs associated with treatment, control and loss of productivity.
When compared to a normal ewe, lame ewes can have:
15% lower conception rate;
20% decrease in body condition score;
20% lower lambing percentage;
Lower ewe survival;
Poor lamb survival;
Reduced growth rate in lambs born to lame ewes;
Fewer lambs sold finished.
For effective treatment it is important that a correct diagnosis is made to identify the cause of lameness affecting each ewe. The three most common causes of lameness in sheep are bacterial infections of the skin and hoof, including: Scald, Footrot and Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis (CODD).
Misdiagnosis leads to mistreatment
Causes and symptoms of lameness in sheep
Bacteria that affect the skin and hoof are normally found in the digestive tract of animals. Virulent strains of Dichelobacter nodosus, the primary cause of Footrot in sheep, are maintained in the flock by both lame and recovered carrier sheep.
90% of lameness is caused by Scald and Footrot.
Scald is the term given to inflamed or reddened skin between the digits. The horn is usually unaffected. A damp environment predisposes sheep to developing scald.
Wet grass or moisture between the toes leads to an impairment of the defence properties of the skin which normally acts as a barrier to infection.
Bacteria which can be found on the surface of normal feet, Fusobacterium necrophorum, invade the skin when wet, resulting in damage. The interdigital skin can appear red and swollen or grey.
Lameness is usually mild and resolves when underfoot conditions improve. In the meantime, however, the damaged skin can allow entry of other potentially harmful bacteria such as the agent causing Footrot, Dichelobacter nodosus.
Check out our NEW farmer brochure for all you need to know about Footrot in sheep! Click the arrows below to scroll through the pdf document.
Causes of Footrot in sheep
There are two forms of Footrot in sheep, benign and virulent. Benign Footrot is caused by certain strains of Dichelobacter nodosus that are less damaging than the strains that cause virulent Footrot.
The initial damage done to the skin is by Fusobacterium necrophorum resulting in Scald can allow the entry of bacteria that cause Footrot. This leads to further damage of the soft tissue underlying the hoof resulting in Footrot. Often more than one foot can be affected.
Virulent Footrot results in severe horn separation and the formation of a foul-smelling discharge.
Dichelobacter nodosus bacteria survives in the feet of lame sheep or recovered carrier animals. They can live in wet, muddy environments for approximately four days. During the grazing season, survival is enhanced by wet lush pastures. At housing, damp underfoot conditions improve transmission from either lame or recovered carrier animals to sound ewes.
Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis (CODD)
The exact cause of contagious ovine digital dermatitis is yet to be defined. However, Treponemasp. bacteria are frequently detected along with other microbes in cases of scald and footrot in sheep.
Ulcers are found at the coronary band, at the skin hoof boundary. Ulcers can also be found on the hoof wall. The condition differs from footrot in that there is a sudden onset of more severe lameness.
The majority of affected sheep become severely lame. In a clean flock, free of the bacteria causing CODD, purchasing infected sheep is the main route of entry.
The Five Point Plan Approach
The 5 Point Plan was developed using existing published science on sheep lameness, and practical experience from farmers who had achieved sustained low levels of lameness.
The 5 Point Plan has five action points that support the treatment of the animal in three different ways: Building resilience; reducing disease challenge; and establishing immunity.
Reducing the prevalence of lameness requires a long-term commitment to implementing all five points of the plan.
Talk to your vet for more information on creating an action plan for your flock!
Kieran Flatley of Harrington Farms in Kilkelly, County Mayo talks about the improvement in their weanling calves over the last few years as a result of implementing a vaccination programme to protect them against pneumonia.
Earlier this year, Kieran applied for the BEEP-S scheme. As part of the scheme, farmers had to apply before 26th April 2021. When applying, they had to indicate what actions they would undertake. See figure 1 below which outlines the actions points of the scheme.
MSD Animal Health to acquire the assets of LIC Automation Ltd. (LICA), from New Zealand-based, farmer-owned cooperative Livestock Improvement Corporation Ltd. (LIC).
LIC is a farmer-owned co-operative and world leader in pasture based dairy genetics and herd management.
LICA, a privately held company in New Zealand, manufactures and supplies specialised, integrated herd management systems and milk-testing sensors for the dairy industry.
Farm productivity has become increasingly important on dairy farms. LICA’s automated offerings, including Protrack technology solutions, enabling dairy farmers to gather precise information on the health and milking habits of dairy cows – which supports their efforts in herd management, real-time milk analysis, animal evaluation and reproductive health and wellness.
LICA’s product portfolio joins Allflex Livestock Intelligence, a complementary business unit of MSD Animal Health that specialises in identification and monitoring technology that delivers real-time, actionable data and insights to help improve livestock management.
Commenting on the acquisition, Rick DeLuca, president of MSD Animal Health, said: “We are pleased to take this step forward with the acquisition of LICA technology, as we continue to broaden our portfolio with complementary products and technologies to advance animal well-being and outcomes for our customers,”
“Our portfolio of enhanced dairy farm management and livestock intelligence solutions for the dairy industry helps address the evolving customer needs of dairy farmers and strengthen our leadership in shaping the future of animal health.”
“We are excited to add LICA’s products to our existing veterinary medicines, vaccines and health management solutions and services, as well as Allflex Livestock Intelligence’s digitally connected identification, traceability and monitoring products to benefit farmers and veterinarians.
“We look forward to continuing to expand our world-class animal health solutions both locally and globally,” said Fergal Morris, general manager, MSD Animal Health Ireland.
LICA is a leader in automation and technology for the dairy industry and its products are available in New Zealand and in selected European markets.
Wayne McNee, LIC chief executive, remarked: “We are pleased that MSD Animal Health has chosen to acquire this technology.
“MSD Animal Health has a reputation for investing heavily in research and development for animal health and welfare. The company has extensive scientific and technological capabilities that can take this technology to the next phase and deliver more value to farmers.”
Turning calves out to grass for the first time is seriously rewarding. Rearing healthy calves in the first place takes great effort and hard work.
Minimising the impact of diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia can be challenging and this year was no exception. Weaning dairy calves, dealing with coccidiosis threats, pneumonia and clostridial vaccination; the calf ‘to do’ list can be comprehensive. What about IBR vaccination?
IBR – Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis
Infection with IBR virus is widespread in the cattle population in Ireland, with evidence of exposure in over 70% of herds (both beef and dairy). It is capable of causing disease (both clinical and subclinical) resulting in huge economic losses at farm level through lack of production and treatment costs.
The majority of infections are seen in cattle greater than six months of age, however all ages are at risk of IBR.
Clinical infections usually occur when animals are infected for the first time. Signs such as discharge from the eyes and nose, loud laboured breathing, high temperatures, resulting depression and reduced appetite may be experienced. Milk yield may be affected, and abortion may also occur.
Subclinical infections are those without overt clinical signs and for this reason may go unnoticed for some time in a herd. Subclinical IBR can result in losses of 2.6kg of milk/cow/day.
Those infected for the first time shed high levels of the virus for approximately two weeks. At times of stress (e.g. mixing/housing/breeding/calving) the virus can reactivate, and that animal may shed again. Every time an animal sheds the virus it has the potential to infect more herd mates.
Control of IBR
There are 3 components to controlling this endemic disease:
For effective control of IBR, vaccination must:
Reduce the number of new infections – Main cause of virus spreading in a herd
Reduce severity of clinical signs – Limit cost of disease impact
The time to start vaccination depends on the particular epidemiological situation of each farm. In the absence of virus circulation among the young calf group, vaccination is started at the age of three months, revaccination six months later and all subsequent revaccinations within six to 12 month periods.
This will provide protection against IBR virus and minimise the number of animals that become carriers. Herds that have a moderate to high seroprevalence of IBR, are high-risk and/or have clinical signs are best to remain on a six monthly vaccination programme until IBR is under better control in the herd.
If vaccination needs to be carried out before the age of three months (high prevalence/high-risk herds/disease in calves) then intranasal vaccination is the recommended route in order to overcome maternally derived antibodies.
An intramuscular vaccination programme then commences at three-four months of age, as stated above. For the spring calving herd this will mean calves will receive their first dose of a live IBR vaccine in June/July 2021.
Bovilis IBR Marker live
Bovilis IBR marker live provides protection by reducing clinical signs and virus excretion. It is the only single dose IBR marker vaccine for use either intranasally or intramuscularly. It is a 2ml dose with a fast onset of immunity (four days after intranasal administration and 14 days after intramuscular administration).
Biosecurity can be further divided into bio exclusion and bio-containment.
Bio exclusion (the process of keeping disease out of a herd) is of particular importance in Ireland as many herds purchase cattle (e.g. the stock bull), avail of contract rearing for heifers, attend marts or shows (present Covid-19 restrictions excluded).
IBR can cross distances of up to five metres so neighbouring cattle during the grazing season can also be a source of infection, or vice versa.
Bio containment (the process of reducing the threat of infection within a herd) relies mainly on herd management strategies such as segregating age groups and indeed vaccination.
Culling of animals which have tested positive for IBR is a quick method to reduce herd prevalence. However, in many herds it is not a practical option as there are simply too many animals which are positive (once infected an animal becomes a life-long carrier) and therefore it would not be economically viable.
In summary, the majority of herds in Ireland are of medium or high seroprevalence so vaccination with a live IBR marker vaccine combined with biosecurity are the most practical and appropriate control methods. Many herds are missing a trick by only vaccinating the cows.
This is controlling clinical signs and the impact of IBR on production but not necessarily reducing the spread (to unvaccinated younger cattle) and therefore the number of new infections each year.
The aim of whole herd vaccination is to reduce the level of IBR in the herd over time. In answer to the opening question – yes; to IBR vaccination of calves.
CepraLock® – a new teat sealant recently launched by MSD Animal Health highlights the company’s commitment to the future of udder health in Ireland.
Available to vets and farmers from June 2021, this new teat sealant is a significant addition to the current MSD Animal Health dry cow portfolio – complementing its market leading dry cow intramammary product and the wider dairy herd health portfolio.
With new regulations on veterinary medicines coming into effect in January 2022, MSD Animal Health is dedicated to supporting both vets and farmers, by supplying them with the necessary tools required to safely transition from blanket dry cow therapy practices and the adoption of a more selective approach to dry cow therapy based on individual cow information.
This is known as a more holistic, cow centered approach industry wide.
Speaking at the recent MSD Animal Health webinar, Udder Health – The Past, The Present and The Future, Peter Edmondson, Veterinary Consultant, stated:
“The veterinary practitioner has a really important role to play in the transition from blanket dry cow therapy to selective dry cow therapy.
“This is an opportunity for veterinary practitioners to engage with and educate clients on best practice protocols such as hygiene, product selection and data driven decisions for a more sustainable approach to dry cow therapy.”
According to Dr. Jantijn Swinkels, DVM, PhD, Ruminants Technical Director Veterinarian at MSD Animal Health, all “farmers should be using internal teat sealants, with studies showing that nearly 25% of teat ends remain open for as long as six weeks after drying off.
“Adding a teat sealant to a dry cow management program helps prevent infection and supports the responsible use of antibiotics.”
CepraLock® is designed for use at drying-off, with or without a dry cow intramammary antibiotic, and provides an important inert barrier in the teat canal to reduce the risk of a bacterial infection of the udder during the dry period.
CepraLock® will be available from June 2021 and can be purchased in single boxes of 24 tubes (6 cows) and buckets of 144 tubes (36 cows). Both include biodegradable disinfectant wipes for udder preparation.
MSD Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them, through comprehensive health management solutions, products, technologies, and services.
For more information on CepraLock® contact your vet.