Westpoint Vet Group

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Are there any regional
differences in TB
controls for calves?
Rob Drysdale MRCVS
Westpoint Veterinary Group Ltd
Who is Rob Drysdale MRCVS?
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Managing Director Westpoint Vet Group Ltd
Farm vet for 17 years
Particular interest in calf health and welfare
Vet to Blade Farming SW Ltd:
– Complete and integrated beef supply chain
– Produced more nearly 20,000 calves last year
– UK’s largest integrated beef producer
Westpoint Vet Group
• 16 practices across UK with 50 farm vets
• Total practice over 3,000 clients
• 250+ dairy farms:
– More than 90,000 dairy cows (av herd 350 cows)
– Low input extensive to high input intensive
• Over 300,000 head of beef and youngstock:
– Fattening units from 100 to 8,000 head/year
– Suckler farms from 20 to 1,000 cows
Background
• Calf Forum Strategy Group project
• Investigate the impact of TB on dairy units
in different regions of the UK
• Meeting with WVG Senior Vets twice
yearly had raised issues of how the
varying regions interpret TB annexes
• Blade Farming experiences – rearing units
and supplying dairy farmers
Approved Quarantine Units?
AQU system – works for Blade
Blade Farming and AQUs
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Frustration for calf supply chain
Richard Phelps could see potential
Started in 2005 with 1 x TB approved unit
Now have several sheds on several farms
each with own TB licence as AQU
• Capacity of around 2,000 calves per cycle
• Around 1.5 cycles per AQU per year
Blade Farming and AQUs
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System works with local AHVLA support
Retailer and processor support
Breeds – many but B&W difficult to justify
Great value weaned “store” cattle
Move to finishers on contract for slaughter
Dedicated farmers and also occasional
purchasers
AQU system can work
Background
• WVG practices split into 5 English regions
• Director or Senior Vet heads up each area
• Regions have different DEFRA offices
managing them
• Vets and farmers frustrated through
different approaches by DEFRA Vets
• AHVLA – new team from 2011
Background
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Five distinct regions – AHVLA offices:
North West = Carlisle
Midlands = Stafford
East Anglia = Chelmsford now Reading
South West = Truro and Exeter
South East = Reading
10 units SW Scotland with 10,000 cows
Blade Farming – TB controls
North West
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41 dairy farms with 15,000 cows
4 holdings under TB restriction last 2 years
No units currently under restriction
No local TB controlled rearing available
All bull calves shot
Approx 400 calves shot in period
Midlands
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27 dairy farms with 5,700 cows
11 holdings TB restricted last 2 years
5 units currently under restriction
Little support for TB controlled rearing in
region and DEFRA “seems unwilling” to
support
• Not all bull calves shot
• Approx 500 calves shot in period
East Anglia
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28 dairy farms with 6,900 cows
No holdings TB restricted last 2 years
Beef units affected with 3 under restriction
Good support for TB controlled rearing in
region with one specialist finishing unit in
place
• No bull calves shot!
South East
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65 dairy farms with >34,000 cows
18 holdings TB restricted last 2 years
4 units currently under restriction
Varying support for TB controlled rearing
in region. No specialist rearing or finishing
units in place
• Over 500 bull calves shot!
South West
• 50 dairy farms with >18,000 cows
• Only 12 holdings not been affected by TB
restrictions in last 2 years
• 20+ units currently under restriction (dairy)
• Good support locally TB controlled rearing
in region. Several specialist rearing and
finishing units in place
WVG and TB in South West
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Working with 8 AQU sheds
Handling total of 1,000 calves each cycle
Average of 1.7 cycles per year
Total beef x and dairy bull calves on the
current restricted farms = 3,000+
• 3 x actual TB breakdowns in last 4 years
• Estimate over 1,000 B&W calves shot!
Conclusions (1)
• All collated from WVG vets and practices?
• Frustration felt by farmers and vets:
– Veterinary variation – advice AHVLA
– Regional variation – implementation of TB
control measures
– Wastage when system is meant to be in place
• Now the regulations have been updated
again
Conclusions (2)
• Drawbacks exist – the system is not
perfect even when working:
– Spread of disease potential risk
– TB test is not infallible (70% sensitive?)
– Extreme biosecurity needs to be considered
• Testing procedures and systems could be
better?
• No new AQUs being licensed in SW?
Over to you – any questions?
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