Animal Health Professionals Site

30 June 2017

Proactive Disease Control the Focus of Industry Initiative

MILTON KEYNES, UK, June, 30, 2017 – Engaging farmers in the importance of preventative herd health and proactively avoiding the on-set of disease is the focus of the industry initiative ‘Disease? Not On My Farm!’ launched this week by MSD Animal Health (a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA).

With increasing pressure from regulation, changing consumer expectations and the ever-present challenges from economically intrusive diseases, it has never been more important for farmers to understand the value of effectively managing disease on-farm.

Rosie Booth, ruminant business unit director at MSD Animal Health, explains why this is such an important step for the industry.

“There are figures to suggest that diseases such as Infection Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) and Bovine Virus Diarrhoea (BVD) costs the industry up to £36.6 million1 and £61 million2 respectively each year.

“Despite the economic significance of these diseases being a factor that farmers cannot afford to ignore, some still are. It’s often the case that the true cost of disease to the individual herd is unknown,” says Ms Booth.

“There is a real need to address the common perception among farmers that vaccination suggests disease is present in a herd, when in actual fact it’s a case of proactive and preventative disease management.

“Within the UK, based on MSD Animal Health calculations, it’s shown that vaccination usage to protect against BVD has declined in recent years from 27.8 to 26.3 percent, and for IBR remains low at 23.4 percent.

“Therefore, changing this perception and providing the right supporting advice could go a long way to improving on-farm disease levels. Hence the reason MSD Animal Health has developed the industry initiative ‘Disease? Not On My Farm!’.

“We want to encourage farmers to work closely with their vet to assess the disease risk profile on-farm, and consequently implement a bespoke biosecurity plan and robust vaccination schedule to effectively manage disease.

“At the end of the day, we know farmers take pride in healthy livestock, so we want to support them to achieve a more proactive approach to disease management,” she adds.

“Considering the current uncertainty surrounding agriculture with Brexit looming, disease is one controllable factor that, with the right approach, farmers can manage and reduce levels in the long-term,” says Ms Booth.

1CHAWG Annual report, 2014, page 9