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Balance restored, but long days for farm vets

Alnorthumbria Vets Northumberland staff who attended the Rugby Club Ball.
Alnorthumbria Vets Northumberland staff who attended the Rugby Club Ball.

Firstly, I must apologise for my unduly pessimistic Vet’s Diary in March when I predicted all sorts of bad consequences of the storms. As is so often the case, Mother Nature found a way of bringing us a balance.

In April AHDB monitored farms reported that there was 25 per cent more grass in fields than in the same period last year. This helped ewes to produce sufficient milk to satisfy their greedy offspring.

Causes of mortality in lambs at grass are primarily scours caused by coccidia and nematodirus worms.

Coccidia has been reasonably common, but none of our clients has suffered significant loss. They have been well informed by our vets and know they have to act early and bring in samples to analyse.

We’ve still to see our first nematodirus case. Again, farmers are well briefed not to be tempted to treat too early, before the worms are there.

Cows and calves had to wait longer before they could be turned out to grass. This compression of the turnout period meant long days for farm vets.

It seemed like everybody wanted their cows pregnancy tested in the same week, the tipping crate was booked solid doing bulls’ pedicures, while other vets were checking bull fertility and examining heifers for selection for breeding.

We’re fortunate to have 11 vets in our farm team, with 157 years’ experience between them, so it takes a lot to get them flustered. None of our clients was delayed in getting livestock turned out.

We’re now settling into a period of relative respite when health plans can be updated, client meetings planned and we engage consultants to sharpen our skills. We’re also able to engage in a bit of socialising and sponsorship.

We’ve recently enjoyed sponsoring North East Livestock’s Spring Show and Sale and it was great to see our clients featuring in the strong trade.

Some of us also took a table at Alnwick Rugby Club Ball.