A vet’s view to herd health in Teagasc Grange

Frank O’Sullivan is the Teagasc Grange vet overseeing both the Derrypatrick herd and the Grange dairy calf-to-beef unit.

In a nutshell, Frank’s main role is to avoid disease – whether that be clinical or subclinical and he believes in the mantra ‘prevention is key to success’.

“Herd health planning is an ongoing process that helps us capture – at key times of the year – what the key diseases are and put in place the steps to prevent that.

“That could involve looking at things such as ventilation, maybe having the nutrition at an optimum level, and then we can use vaccinations as a support to boost the immunity,” he explains.

Frank notes that biosecurity is taken very seriously on the farms.

“We are very aware of the biosecurity aspect in terms of bringing in animals from outside and how it could disturb our biosecurity.

“In the spring, we would have a meeting prior to calving so we can say: ‘How can we prevent calf scours from happening this year?’ or ‘How can we reduce the incidence of pneumonia in our calves?’.

“By taking this preventative approach – and with herd health planning involving all the team – we have found over the last few years that antibiotic usage has actually gone way down.

“And of course, the consumer and the public really like this approach,” he concluded.