65pc of cows for Greenfield failed health tests
Published 03/05/2011 | 05:00
ALMOST two thirds of dairy cows identified as possible new stock for the Greenfield dairy farm in Kilkenny were rejected on health grounds, Teagasc figures have shown.
Some 50pc of potential cows were eliminated because of their results in a health questionnaire filled out by potential sellers, their vets or district veterinary offices.
A further 30pc were rejected due to their health test results.
Padraig French, Teagasc's head of dairy production research, said that health was the number one criteria when setting up the new herd because of the cost implications that disease outbreak could have had on the farm in the early stages.
"If we found any evidence of Johne's, even just one animal in 200, we walked away," Mr French said. "Any BVD persistently infected animals and any sign of neospora, we rejected them."
Mr French warned farmers to consider two other diseases or ill health conditions when buying mature cows -- lameness and mastitis or somatic cell counts.
"These two diseases don't just cause animal losses but also cost hugely in staff time," he said. "With hindsight, the preferred position would be to only purchase in-calf maiden heifers."
Teagasc has compiled a 120-page booklet describing the Greenfield development from a tillage farm to an operating dairy farm.