At a recent farm walk of Kepak’s feedlot in Clonee well-known vet Frank O’Sullivan outlined some very useful tips for farmers who are purchasing cattle this autumn.

In the past, Kepak had significant problems on the farm with stress-related respiratory diseases in bought in stock, he said.

“Serious problems were seen particularly with young stock.


“Following long periods in marts or transport, respiratory disease problems were common and things like BVD were having a big impact.”


To address the problems, Kepak put a plan of action in place.

Kepak now prefers if animals come directly from farms and that the farmer has a vaccination programme in place.

O’Sullivan said reducing the stress levels of the animals when they arrive on farm is also vital.

herd test

“In stressed animals cortisone levels increase, when this happens there is a reduction of the immune system of the animals. These animals are therefore more likey to go down with disease.”

In the past, Kepak had been taking bought in stock off the lorry and vaccinating them immediatily.

“We found this was leading to the animals cortisone levels were raised. The vaccines didn’t work that well as the immune systems of the animals were challenged,” he said.

New procedure

  • When the animals arrive on farm they are put into a resting shed (bunker) for a full 24 hours
  • The animals stay in the same groups throughout the period
  • The bunkers have deep bedding and access to hay and water
  • No meal is introduced during this period
  • After the 24-hour rest they are then vaccinated.

O’Sullivan said the new procedure when animals arrive has seen a significant reduction in animal health issues on the Kepak farm with the animals responding much better to the vaccines.