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Saturday 3 December 2016

Cut costs with a flock health plan

Despite the savings preparation affords, most farmers still continue to rely on the 'fire brigade' response to problems

Michael Gottstein

Published 01/03/2011 | 05:00

Famers should enlist help to draft a flock health plan specific to their farm
Famers should enlist help to draft a flock health plan specific to their farm

Animal performance on Irish sheep farms is hugely affected by flock health issues, with veterinary goods and services ranked as the second-highest variable cost on farms, after concentrate feed.

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Given the time and money that is expended on flock health issues it would make sense that flock owners should have a clearly thought out flock health plan.

However in my experience, this is the case on only the minority of sheep farms because in most situations, veterinary interventions tend to be 'fire brigade actions'.

Issues such as the high level of resistance to certain anthelmintics, high incidences of liver fluke infection, rumen fluke demonstrate the need for a more clearly thought out plan to be developed at farm level. This is where the farmer should enlist the help of his/her adviser and health care professional to draft a flock health plan that is farm specific.

In the long run, this exercise will reduce expenditure on health care while at the same time improving animal performance.

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