Industry Initiative Tackles Calf Rearing Losses

UK - A new cattle industry initiative has been launched to tackle avoidable losses incurred by beef and dairy producers due to deaths and ill health among youngstock. By helping farmers reduce calf mortality and maintain better animal health, The National Youngstock Association aims to create lasting gains to bottom line profits, according to veterinary co-ordinator Dr Tim Potter.
calendar icon 13 May 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

The association is staging a national conference on 30th June at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, for farmers and allied professionals involved in calf rearing. “The need is evident from some alarming findings of a recent research” says Dr Potter. These include:

  • eight per cent of calves are born dead or die within 24 hours of birth;
  • six per cent of dairy calves born alive fail to reach weaning and a further three per cent fail to reach six months old;
  • eight per cent of beef calves die during rearing;
  • 14 per cent of dairy heifers born live fail to reach first calving; and
  • 15 per cent of dairy heifers that do calve down are culled before their second calving.

RABDF and NBA have formally confirmed their support for both the inaugural conference and The NYA’s formation as an independent, not-for-profit professional association whose information and initiatives are open to individuals working in all aspects of youngstock breeding and rearing.

The association’s activities are being co-ordinated by the knowledge transfer team at the Westpoint Veterinary Group. Specifically, The NYA’s declared aims are:

  • To provide a forum for the exchange of information about health, welfare and profitable management of young cattle;
  • To create opportunities for knowledge transfer and continual improvement of systems, processes and knowledge in the profitable management of young cattle; and
  • To promote research geared to improving productivity and profitability of rearing young cattle.

The 2011 conference, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, CIS, Genus, Holstein UK, Pfizer and Volac, will adopt a practical approach throughout, explains Dr Potter, pursuing the three specific disciplines of nutrition, health and fertility. A full programme and speaker details will be announced imminently.

A series of regional events, including farm open days and seminars, is planned later this year to maximise accessibility throughout the country.

Up to 200 conference places are available on a first come first served basis, at a cost of £20/head to include refreshments, lunch, and a delegate bag and information pack. Bookings can be made via [email protected], or 07597 267290, or by post to The National Youngstock Association, PO Box 44, Horsham RH12 9NR.

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