Farmers face the Ick Factor at Thurso Open Day
Published Wednesday, 5th December 2012
A strong constitution was required as faeces samples and semen testing took centre stage at a recent open day at SAC Consulting’s Veterinary Services Centre.
Before the event vet Mary-Jo Grant explained that often livestock faeces samples are submitted for testing incorrectly. She said: “We do sometimes get samples submitted in old yoghurt pots or jam jars when we really need them in sealable freezer bags, or in sterilised screw top containers you can get from your vet.”
Ten farmers, happily a rarely shocked breed, began their day with a relaxed tour of the facility led by Mary-Jo and her colleague, vet, Sinclair Mason before more, shall we say, practical issues were approached. Mary-Jo demonstrated the best way to send in faeces samples before Sinclair showed the visitors some specimens from a recent calf post-mortem.
Mary-Jo says: “As well as the importance using the right containers, the event has highlighted the need to send samples in regularly, before animals appear to be wasting or ill-thriven.”
After lunch, Ian Pritchard, SAC Health Schemes Manager, introduced the idea of the ‘bull MOT’ in his talk on suckler herd health and production. Semen testing prior to the breeding season was a concept that captured the interest of a number of the farmers.
“These MOTs will prevent farmers being caught out by infertility issues that would lead to a prolonged calving period.” Mary-Jo explains, “Many farmers wrote on their evaluation form that they would consider doing semen testing on bulls in the future.”
The event was sponsored by Novartis Animal Health and they were represented by John Wilson, Customer Development Manager – Agriculture.
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