CHECS supports cattle farmers by helping them control or stamp out a number of costly, infectious diseases.
CHECS (formerly known as Cattle Health Certification Standards) is the body that certifies and quality-controls CHECS licensed cattle health schemes in the UK and Ireland. This means it does not run a scheme itself, but it ensures the schemes you use operate to the same set of technical cattle health standards.
CHECS has been setting industry standards in cattle disease control since 1999, and while farmers initially joined its licensed health schemes to accredit the health status of pedigree beef animals before selling, less than a third (30%) participate for that purpose now.
In fact, around 60% of new cattle health scheme members now join for management reasons, including the aim of having a healthier herd, better disease control and saving money on laboratory testing. Many more commercial dairy farmers are now realising the benefit of getting involved, with one in every three new joiners being a dairy herd.
Entry-level programmes like ‘Stamp Out BVD’ and ‘Action Johne’s’ have increased awareness of the diseases but, unlike the CHECS disease programmes, they don’t take a herd-based approach. Many producers start by tackling a particular disease on their farm, and the benefits of controlling that disease lead to the desire to manage others. It’s also about what you learn along the way.