More than 35 vets attended the on-farm workshop hosted on the farms of Maurice Corridan and Tim & Doreen Corridan of Fedamore Co. Limerick.
MSD Animal Health recently organised an on-farm workshop on the topic of ‘Livestock Housing Design and its Relationship with Animal Health’. The event was hosted on the beef farm of Tim and Doreen Corridan and on the adjoining dairy farm of Maurice Corridan in Fedamore, Co. Limerick.
Jamie Robertson (MIAgrE) from Livestock Management Systems Ltd. was the keynote speaker. Jamie discussed the main pitfalls associated with livestock buildings.
During the workshop the group viewed and discussed the merits of different aspects of both beef and dairy cattle housing. Jamie discussed how building design can impact on the incidence of respiratory disease. He said that managing the interaction between the housing, animals and pathogens is key to controlling respiratory disease. He said that the problems in livestock buildings are usually due to a problem in moisture levels, air quality (fresh air), air speed (draught), temperature control (especially for young calves) and ability to clean the building. Imbalances in these factors can significantly affect the incidence and the severity of pneumonia outbreaks.
It is very important to have an outlet in the roof to let warm, moist air escape. Jamie demonstrated how to calculate the outlet area based on the number and age of animals in the shed. Jamie also emphasized that the inlet area, ideally located across both sidewalls should be at least twice and ideally four times the outlet area.
The floor should be sloped to carry liquid away from the animals and it is very important to ensure that there are no draughts at animal level.
Jamie said that ‘Around half of all naturally ventilated cattle buildings, old and new, are not fit for purpose’. He gave some practical advice on how to make adjustments to buildings to eliminate draughts and improve air movement. He concluded by emphasising the beneficial impact these changes could have on animal health.