Roger Barkley on Cappoquin Estate committing to reducing antibiotic usage and getting more milk in the tank

Cappoquin Estate in Co. Waterford is home to the 280-strong Tintur Holstein herd, managed and run by Roger Barkley.

The cows are currently averaging 9,600L at 4.12% butterfat and 3.51% protein. Since November 2018, the herd has been milked courtesy of five VMS V300 DeLaval robots.

“Last year, we averaged 764kg of solids per cow. Our target for 2020 is to achieve 800kg,” said Roger.

Prior to the installation of the robots, Roger and his team would have been dealing with up to 100 clinical cases of mastitis per year and dumping a lot of milk.

“This wasn’t good enough. I was also on the lookout for ways that would allow me to reduce the farm’s reliance on antibiotics,” stated Roger.

The option of dealing with mastitis and or cell count without a reliance on antibiotics means that milk exclusions from the bulk tank fall dramatically.

The answer to both these challenges presented itself in the form of AHV Extra tablets.

‘Consistently working’

“I was encouraged to use the tablets a year ago. We have the technology to allow us to identify cows with rising cell count issues almost immediately. We now have real time information on all the cows.

“Rumen function and heat detection are monitored courtesy of specific ear tags and the associated software. Three of the robots are also fitted with bespoke somatic cell counters.

“These have proven beneficial, as they are allowing us to act very quickly in the event of SCC [somatic cell count] rising or MDI [mastitis detection index] level increasing on the robot.

Once we see the first sign of a problem with either sub-clinical or clinical mastitis, we treat the animal with the AHV Extra tablet and an anti-inflammatory.

“Administering an AHV Extra tablet into the cow is then done in a very straightforward manner and one treatment is normally enough.”

Roger continued: “Once she returns to the herd, we would check that the cow milks out properly for the following days as you can see more clots coming out of the udder as the cow is getting rid of the infection. We would also check for clots in the milk filters.”

According to Roger, the AHV Extra tablets are consistently working to bring down cell counts and clean out udder tissue.

Roger commented on this, saying: “You need to be patient and give the cow time to clean out the udder tissue. Some cows with a small infection clear in 10 days and some cows with a larger problem can take six weeks plus. I have seen cows come down from a cell count figure of 8 million to less than 100,000.”

“As a result of this, the number of clinical mastitis cases cropping up with the herd has fallen dramatically, as has our purchases of antibiotics for the treatment of mastitis.”

No milk or meat withdrawal

AHV’s Adam Robinson was a recent visitor to Cappoquin Estate.

“Roger has a fantastic setup here and is able to get early detection on most health issues in his herd, but all farmers can take advantage of our products. Milk recording data is also good to help identify the problem cows and give you the cow’s SCC history,” commented Adam.

“AHV solutions represent new science. With new concepts, farmers need to be educated on how they work and what farmers can expect to see after administering AHV products.

“It takes farmers time to understand and build up their confidence in using them as they are totally different to traditional methods. However, AHV provides a bespoke advisory service to all its customers.

Using the AHV ‘Aspi’, in tandem with the ‘Extra’ tablets, is also strongly recommended as the Aspi moderates the immune response of the cow, which helps prevent tissue damage in the udder and keeps her healthy and productive.

As with all AHV solutions there is no milk or meat withdrawal and no tainting of milk or meat either. This can be a huge advantage when there are several people milking the cows as there is no risk of putting a tanker of milk down. Milk is very safe to go to the bulk tank to be used for human consumption.

Additional information

AHV (Animal Health Vision) International, originally founded in Holland, now holds offices in both the UK and Ireland and in several other countries.

For further information, contact AHV UK and Ireland on: 0044 (0) 28-8554-9600; or: 00353 (0) 87-314-7351.

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