Many livestock producers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of organic production. The premiums achieved for organic products and the increase in consumer demand is attracting interest from a growing number of producers. Our team of vets and advisers are able to offer support to veterinary practitioners with clients who need help in converting to organic production.
We are not only able to offer advice but it has first hand experience of ‘going organic’ through managing its own organic farms (beef/sheep/dairy and pigs). We can give guidance and advice on designing a disease reduction plan for your client which will enable conversion to organic status over a two year period. These animal health plans are now being demanded by the organic certification bodies before they will accept applications from producers wishing to convert.
The new EU Livestock Regulation which came into force in August 2000, has a fundamental effect on the organic livestock industry. New organic livestock standards will be in place and you and your clients need to understand them.
We are able to offer consultancy and advice and can work alongside you and your clients to examine their ‘current animal health programme’ (current disease status, use of medicines and vaccines, positive health strategies) and design a tailor made ‘projected plan’ aiming at organic conversion over a 2 year period.
- We have organised CPD courses for vets in Scotland and the North of England on all aspects of organic livestock production. We may be able to provide similar courses in other parts of the UK through organisations such as BCVA
- We provide the telephone Helpline and Organic Information Pack for the Organic Aid Scheme in Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government. This provides technical advice on conversion and the financial support available to producers. We are thus in daily contact with current and prospective organic farmers
- Ongoing research using our own organic farms, keeps us up-to-date with issues affecting the organic producer. SRUC has been involved in organic R&D (including livestock health and welfare) for over 10 years
- A network of SRUC vets, SRUC advisers and SRUC researchers gives you the advantage of tapping into expertise in all aspects of organic production. This includes organic standards, animal nutrition, husbandry, health and marketing
Vaccination Of Organic Livestock
Under the organic standards, vaccination to prevent disease is permitted "where there is a known disease risk". Interpretation of this standard has been problematic since the definition of a "known disease risk" in a particular farm situation may be difficult to arrive at. The issue of vaccination has become a thorny one. As a result of a DEFRA funded project, the University of Reading and SAC have developed a web-based decision support tool.
The purpose of this software package is to help farmers and their veterinary advisers arrive at a decision on the use of a particular vaccine on their farm, using a risk assessment approach.