Good health status is crucial for Irish weanlings exported to Italy
Italian cattle buyers have become acutely conscious of the health status of the weanlings they import, farmers were told at a Connacht Gold weanling symposium.
Professor Carlo Rossi from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the University of Milan told the 200 farmers at Thursday night's packed seminar that their management of nutrition and vaccination prior to export was of critical importance to Italian buyers.
Numerous Italian studies of imported weanlings from all over Europe, including Ireland, had shown a high incidence of pneumonia and resulted in major losses for feedlot owners.
One study of 13,000 animals newly arrived into Italy showed that 11pc of the animals had contracted pneumonia and 1.5pc were seriously affected by the condition.
Another study of 17,000 imported cattle showed that 25pc of them had pneumonia and 7.5pc were defined as 'problem' cases.
According to the professor, the incidence of pneumonia was related to the time of year.
The 25pc incidence rate was found in cattle imported during the winter months, after November 1, while around 10pc of spring imports were found to have pneumonia.
Pneumonia was detected in less than 10pc of animals in the autumn and around 7.5pc of animals in the summer period.