A new calf health and welfare blueprint has been launched to support farmers, vets and advisers involved with calf rearing.

The 'at-a-glance' document can be posted up in calf sheds or offices and aims to be a practical guide for anyone involved in a farm’s calf operation. The #Calfmatters Calf Health and Welfare Blueprint has been produced by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health and covers both the dairy and beef sectors. It covers the most important aspects of calf rearing and was developed at a recent roundtable meeting attended by policy-makers, farmers and vets.

Boehringer Ingelheim’s Matt Yarnall said: “In late 2017, Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) identified calf rearing as a particular 'hot spot' of antimicrobial therapy for respiratory disease.

“At the same time, the #Calfmatters 2018 survey showed that 66 percent of producers still fail to vaccinate calves against respiratory disease, one of the main health issues for calves and also an area where antibiotic use can be high.

“There is little doubt that an outbreak of pneumonia leads to extra work and stress, but the fact that calf jacket use is higher than BRD vaccine use seems at odds with the target to reduce antibiotic use.

“Helping a calf to be as resilient to disease as possible is probably what most of us with calves strive to do. The handy Blueprint list gives some simple, easy-to-implement actions which, if followed, could significantly boost calf health and, so, productivity”.

The Blueprint

The Calf Health and Welfare Blueprint is divided into four sections:

• Management

• Monitoring

• Prevention

• Teamwork

Download the Blueprint