Ewe health tracker enables flock performance monitoring

Parklands Farm Vets has launched a health tracker to enable farmers and vets to monitor ewe performance and compare to other flocks.

Saturday, 17th July 2021, 8:40 am
Pat Campbell, Registered Animal Medicines Advisor, assists in the supply of anthelmintics to clients.
Pat Campbell, Registered Animal Medicines Advisor, assists in the supply of anthelmintics to clients.

David Mulligan CVPM, explains that the tracker has been developed to meet increasing demand for flock health surveillance.

“Use of data has become increasingly important in the livestock farming and veterinary sectors in the last decade. This started in other sectors, in particular dairy, but now there is real appetite for farmers to understand the health and performance data of their flocks and use it in management decisions,” he says.

Specific veterinary data, such as incidents of disease, is entered into the system. This allows trends, such as an increase or reduction in occurrence of a specific disease in a flock over time, to be identified.

“By looking at the data and reviewing what has happened on-farm over time, farmers and vets can make informed discussions about the impacts of management changes on flock health and performance.

“The ability to benchmark overall health and performance against other anonymised flocks can also be very useful. For example, if two flocks which are similar in terms of size and systems used, are performing very differently, it opens up the question of why this is and allows farmers and vets to explore alternative approaches.”

In addition to use of data, training has a real impact on flock performance over time. Mr Mulligan explains that Parklands has worked closely with the NSA over the last 10 years to deliver training for sheep clients.

“As a practice, we can support farmers with upskilling their staff teams. It can be very motivating to have an external trainer come on-farm to explain and demonstrate skills, this can be as simple as training in Cleaning & Disinfecting post Lambing.”

Mr Mulligan highlights that having a well-trained team on-farm can result in potential issues being investigated sooner, which can reduce longer term impacts on productivity.

“When someone who works with the flock day-to-day spots that something isn’t quite right, we can come and look into it to find out what is going on and address any problems as necessary.

“For example, we offer diagnostic support combined with our faecal egg count service. An accurate diagnosis on worms present enables vets or SQPs to recommend the right treatment, leading to improvements in animal performance and avoiding the unnecessary cost of using the wrong product.”

For more information on sheep services at Parklands Farm Vets visit https://parklandsvets.com/farm/sheep.