With the significant dairy industry in the Meander Valley and surrounding areas, our involvement in the industry continues to grow. We are very strong on providing a cost effective service, and although we certainly still provide care of the individual animal, we are also very keen to see more focus on herd health, both from a preventative and early intervention perspective, as it is in these areas where we can really see a positive financial return to the profitability of the dairy enterprise. It would be fair to say that we are the main dairy practice in the north of the State, and as such are prepared to travel extensively to service our clients. Some of the main areas of our activities are listed below.
We continue to be frustrated by the often poor or inadequate treatment achieved by some farmers who are doing their own animals. Whilst this has its place on some farms, we often find the quality of the finished job is below that required to achieve fast and effective resolution of the problem. Our staff are well trained and experienced, and many farms have found it to be more cost effective to utilize a professional service rather than battle on themselves. We have recently purchased a tipper crush. The tipper crush makes looking after lame cows even more safe and effective, by allowing access to all four feet of the cow at the same time, enabling preventative work if required as well as treating the particular problem that has caused the presenting lameness. You can work out the cost of lameness in your herd by utilizing the Dairy Australia website – you may well be shocked at just how much of a serious problem this is to your profitability, let alone the animal welfare considerations.
We have extensive skills in mastitis investigation, control and risk minimization, which is a better way of understanding mastitis. This capability in further enhanced by direct involvement with Dairy Focus, which is one of the leading national mastitis consultancy organizations, providing both veterinary and dairy technical expertise, resulting in the complete service for problem identification – this resource is utilized as need be, giving even more skilled and specialized expertise. We are committed to working with the local dairy technicians to achieve the best result possible. However, it is important that you move away from the idea of mastitis as an individual cow problem, to a herd based disease that can be reduced by reducing the multiple risk factors that contribute to the disease prevalence.
We have much to offer beyond the individual sick animal, and are becoming increasing involved in various aspects of the dairy business, either as the primary advisors or as an independent second opinion on issues such as yard and dairy design, laneway construction, and nutrition to name a few.
We are fully equipped to perform Veterinary Bull Breeding Soundness Examinations (BBSE). A BBSE is recommended for all bulls prior to joining to ensure they are fertile and capable of serving cows. The examination is comprised of 3 main components – physical assessment (including gait, internal and external sex organs), on-farm semen motility assessment (using portable microscope) and semen morphology (performed on a preserved semen sample by an external lab). We are regularly performing this service for both our dairy farmers to ensure that their bulls are at optimal fertility. A common misunderstanding is that poor fertility can be compensated for just by having more bulls to make up for the duds – this has been well proven to be an ineffective way of managing bull fertility, resulting in reduced pregnancy rates.
Whole herd pregnancy testing utilizing high quality ultrasound in early pregnancy enables accurate foetal ageing, thereby confirming or changing expected calving date for each animal. This then gives the confidence to enable staggered dry off maximizing the days in milk for each animal, and allocation to known calving date groups at dry off, enabling confident utilization of off farm agistment and predetermined grouping of cows to return for calving.