One of the primary aims of any cattle farmer is to keep their livestock healthy as it’s crucial to their achieving sustainable and profitable meat or dairy production.
Most producers plan, through a combination of good hygiene and vaccinations, to keep their stock free from infection of disruptive or deadly diseases.
As farmers know, the physiological functions of diseased animals are generally impaired meaning they are unable to perform either maximally or optimally, and milk or meat yield declines, thus affecting productivity. So, aiming to improve and maintain high health is vitally important from both a welfare and economic perspective.
Also, it’s about marketability and with the UK leaving the EU, never has it been more important to be able to trade globally from herds known to be healthy.
In a CHECS survey of farmers who were health scheme members, almost half of herds (45%) joined a herd health scheme to obtain official accreditation but an equal number (45%) joined for a combination of reasons relating to herd health:
‘While most breed societies require animals to be tested and health status declared for infectious diseases, there is less onus on commercial producers to do so. Yet the welfare, economic and marketing benefits of joining a CHECS licensed scheme are increasingly becoming clear.