AHI_Newsletter Autumn-Winter 2016 Final

AHI NEWSLETTER AUTUMN/WINTER 2016 AUTUMN/WINTER 2016

AHI NEWSLETTER

Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41 WN27 071 9671928, nmorgan@animalhealthireland.ie www.animalhealthireland.ie

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CONTENTS

Introduction

Events And Media

Focus on Technical Working Group Members

BVD

Beef HealthCheck

CellCheck

Johne’s Disease

IBR

Biosecurity

CalfCare

Parasite Control

Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, N41 WN27 071 9671928, nmorgan@animalhealthireland.ie www.animalhealthireland.ie

AHI NEWSLETTER AUTUMN/WINTER 2016

INTRODUCTION

Joe O’Flaherty, CEO CEO, Animal Health Ireland

The last number of months have been particularly busy for AHI on a number of fronts, with discussions to prepare the ground for the New Year now in an advanced state of completion in relation to two of our priority programmes – BVD eradication and Johne’s disease control. Taking the BVD eradication programme first, despite the difficulties that have been encountered along the way, this unique, industry-led programme continues to make very substantial progress and remains on track to achieve eradication of BVD within the stated timelines. The number of Persistently Infected (PI) animals that will be identified in the national herd by the end of the current year is likely to be less than one quarter of those identified in the first year of the compulsory programme (2013). Furthermore, significant improvements have been made in reducing the extent to which PIs are retained on farm; currently the total number of PI-retaining herds is 143 (containing 380 PIs), a tiny fraction of the estimated 83,500 breeding herds. While this is very encouraging, and augurs well for the future of the programme, we must remember that a major factor driving the creation of next year’s PIs is the number of PIs that are on the ground in the critical risk period of pregnancy. The 2017 ‘PI crop’ is already in gestation, but by acting collectively to eliminate the retention of PIs in 2017, and by introducing other important biosecurity measures, we can ensure that the programme delivers on its objective of eradicating this damaging disease from the national cattle herd. Discussions between the BVD Implementation Group and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the details of a series of measures, designed to make the programme even more effective in 2017, will shortly be finalised and the outcomes will be communicated immediately to farmers and the industry at large. With regard to Johne’s disease, a major consultation exercise on the future of this programme is now ongoing. This follows on from a meeting of the Johne’s Disease Implementation Group in June, at which general support, subject to agreement on an equitable sharing of costs, was expressed for the establishment of a voluntary national initiative, to take over from the pilot programme, now approaching the end of its third year. In the past number of months, AHI has been busy consulting with stakeholders on the shape of a future programme, and intends to present options in this regard to a seminar which will take place on 8th December, and which will be opened by Minister Michael Creed, T.D. I hope to be able to provide details of the outcome of that seminar in AHI publications early in the New Year.

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As you will see elsewhere in this newsletter, AHI is delighted to welcome to its team Lorna Citer, our new Programme Manager for the Johne’s disease programme. Lorna hails from Australia, and brings with her a wealth of experience in relation to Johne’s disease, having managed the Australian Johne’s Disease Control Programme for several years. Lorna is rapidly adapting to life in Ireland and already proving her worth as we draw up plans, in conjunction with stakeholders, for a successor to the pilot programme. Dr. Sam Strain, the previous JD Programme Manager, who has moved on to a full-time position as CEO of Animal Health and Welfare, Northern Ireland, will remain closely involved in our programme, ensuring that his expertise on the disease and its control remains available to AHI, the JD Technical Working Group and the JD Implementation Group. AHI is deeply indebted to Sam for his previous work as Programme Manager, and for his continued commitment to supporting the programme, despite the heavy workload associated with his current role. Finally, I am delighted to report that our colleague, David Graham, has been awarded the honour of a Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. The Fellowship, under the heading of ‘Meritorious Contribution to Knowledge’, was awarded in recognition of David’s contributions to veterinary science, and is thehighest statusofMembershipof theCollege. Theheartiest congratulations of the AHI team go out to David on this significant professional achievement. Joe O’Flaherty, CEO.

David Graham receiving his Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons from President, Dr Christopher Tufnell

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STAFF ANNOUNCEMENT

AHI welcomes Lorna Citer, new Johne’s Disease Programme Manager to the AHI Team!

AHI is delighted to welcome to the team Lorna Citer, our new Programme Manager for the Johne’s disease control programme. Lorna takes over from Dr. Sam Strain, who has moved on to a full-time position as CEO of Animal Health and Welfare, Northern Ireland. Sam will continue to provide technical support to the JD programme into the future, and AHI is deeply indebted to him for the critical role he has played in the development and implementation of the pilot programme. Lorna graduated from Lorna graduated from the University of Sydney, Australia in 1977 with a degree in veterinary science. She worked as a government veterinary officer on the National Brucellosis and TB Eradication Campaign (BTEC) in the late seventies, and in private mixed practice in Australia and the UK. After a number of years working in private practice, Lorna developed an interest in vocational training and coordinated a rural training centre for a vocational training organisation where she focussed on delivering practical training programmes

for farmers wanting to improve their farms’ profitability and productivity in New South Wales. She also undertook further study in project management and more recently completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Management. Lorna joined the staff of Animal Health Australia in 2003 and for a number of years managed the National Johne’s Disease Control Programme. During this time she developed an interest in endemic diseases generally and has worked with the sheep and dairy goat industries on a number of national disease surveillance and control projects.

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AHI NEWSLETTER AUTUMN/WINTER 2016

EVENTS AND MEDIA

Gráinne Dwyer Communications and Event Manager

WBC 2016 The 29th Congress of the World Association for Buiatrics (WBC 2016) took place from 3rd to 8th of July 2016 in the Convention Centre, Dublin. The conference was jointly hosted by the World Buiatrics Association and Veterinary Ireland. Buiatrics is the study of cattle and their health and the week-long World Congress is held every two years. The WBC brings together world experts in cattle health and production systems: latest updates in diagnostics, animal health systems, animal welfare initiatives, food safety, mastitis control, parasite control, animal reproduction and a wide range of infectious disease control programmes. Over 3,000 delegates attended from around the World with representatives from academia, research, PVPs and government veterinary services as well as leading animal scientists. David Graham was one of the keynote speakers at the Congress, and AHI was among the many national and international exhibitors with a presence at the event.

David Graham presenting an overview of the work and programmes of AHI at WBC 2016

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Visitors to the AHI stand at WBC 2016

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Beef 2016 Animal Health Ireland, in association with Veterinary Ireland, the Central Regional Veterinary Laboratory and Teagasc, were involved in the planning and delivery of the Animal Health Village component of the major Teagasc beef event for 2016 – Beef 2016. The event took place in Grange on the 5th of July. Rebecca Carroll and Andy Forbes, Chairman of the Parasite Control TWG, attended the AHI information stand, engaging and answering farmers’ queries on parasite control and the new Beef HealthCheck reports. We were delighted to welcome to our stand Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who was particularly especially interested in the new Beef HealthCheck programme. A series of presentations also took place over the course of the day in the Animal Health Village, with Rebecca Carroll and Frank O’Sullivan presenting on the role AHI plays in improving the health of beef animals, and on parasite control at grass.

Andrew Forbes, Chairman, Parasite Control TWG, Rebecca Carroll, AHI, Minister Creed, Grainne Dwyer AHI at Beef 2016

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Heifer Rearing Open Day Over 500 farmers attended the National Heifer Rearing Open Day held in early September on the farm of Shane and Fiona Fitzgerald, Garrycahera, Ballynoe, Co. Cork. The Fitzgeralds were first prize winners in the Volac sponsored National Heifer Rearer of the Year Competition – a Competition whose overall objective is to encourage farmers to pay close attention to good calf husbandry and heifer management from birth through to calving. This competition is supported by Teagasc, AFBI, Irish Farmers’ Journal and CAFRE in Northern Ireland. The Fitzgeralds have increased the size of the dairy herd from 120 to the current 260 dairy cows and they plan to further increase the size of their herd to 300 cows next spring. In addition to the 260 cows, they have 115 heifer calves and 67 in-calf replacements on the 140 ha farm. Animal health is a major focus on this farm with the Fitzgeralds participating in the Johne’s Disease pilot programme. Sam Strain presented on the three important steps to control of the disease in newborn calves - maintaining a clean calving environment, early calf removal and feeding colostrum from healthy cows.

Organisers of the Heifer Rearing Open Day with Shane Fitzgerald and his father, Gerry.

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In advance of the commencement of the JD TASAH training at the end of August, we held a final round, for 2016, of Risk Assessment Management Plan (RAMP) training in Gurteen Agricultural College, Roscrea on 24th of August. 25 Veterinary Practitioners participated in the training to become Approved Veterinary Practitioners (AVPs) under the Johne’s Disease voluntary programme. AHI Training- Johne’s Disease VRAMP Training

Sam Strain explaining the on-farm practicial element of the AVP training in Gurteen College.

Johne’s Disease Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) Training The second phase of training under the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) commenced at the end of August. The focus of this phase of training was on Johne’s Disease-principles of test interpretation for Johne’s Disease, herd categorisations within the JD programme and herd investigations. Approved Veterinary Practitioners (AVPs) who had previously undertaken training under the Johne’s Disease Programme were eligible to participate in this stage of training. 26 training sessions were held in venues around the country over a six week period, concluding on 28th of September. Sam Strain initially facilitated the training sessions with Lorna Citer, the newly appointed Johne’s Disease Programme Manager joining him for the later sessions.

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FOCUS ON TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP MEMBERS

Name: Christine Cummins Profession: Technical Manager, Bonanza Calf Nutrition TWG Membership: CalfCare Technical Working Group

Christine is originally from a mixed farm in Co. Tipperary and is now based in Cork where she is working as a Technical Manager for Bonanza Calf Nutrition, a role she took up in January 2016. In her role as Technical Manager, Christine works directly with farmers all over Ireland which she feels is an excellent way to keep up to date with the important issues farmers face each spring rearing calves. It also allows her to identify and focus on key issues as they present on farm during this important time of the year. Having completed an Undergraduate degree in Animal Science – Equine in 2012, later that year she commenced her PhD at Teagasc Moorepark under the guidance of Emer Kennedy and Dr Ingrid Lorenz. Her PhD focussed on calf rearing where she investigated pre-weaning management practices on Irish dairy farms and focussed on colostrum management. Christine firmly believes that attention must be given to all aspects of calf rearing. Good colostrum management is key but if you fail to provide adequate feed and housing thereafter you will not succeed in having the healthiest possible calves. Attention to detail is key.

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FOCUS ON TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP MEMBERS

Name: Shane McElroy BVSc CertDHH Profession: Glanbia TWG Membership: IBR Technical Working Group

Originally from Co. Tyrone, Shane studied for his veterinary degree in the UK, where he continued to work for five years in Dairy Practice. Since then Shane has worked for several years in dairy practices in New Zealand and Co Monaghan. While in Australia in 2009, Shane completed the CountDown DownUnder Adviser training course, and has since completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Dairy Herd Health at UCD in 2011. In 2011 Shane took up the position of Veterinary Practitioner with Glanbia where he has responsibility for providing animal health advice to the company, its milk suppliers and support staff. The role includes the areas of milk quality, animal welfare, herd health and disease control. Shane is a member of the Technical Working Group for IBR, and also represents Glanbia on the Implementation Groups for BVD and Johne’s disease

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PROGRAMME UPDATE BVD

Programme: National BVD Eradication Programme Programme Manager: Dr David Graham

Results By the end of Quarter 3 of 2016 just over 2.1 million calves had been tested, representing over 90% of the anticipated calf crop for the year. Overall in 2015, 0.33% of calves born were considered to be persistently infected (PI) with BVDV, with these being located in 5.9% of 83,000 breeding herds. Results to date in 2016 continue to show a significant drop in the PI prevalence relative to 2015, with only 0.16% of calves tested to date being found to be PI, with these being located in 3.0% of herds that have submitted samples so far ( [click here] for up-to-date results). This represents a decrease of more than 75% in PI prevalence since the start of the compulsory phase in 2013, when 0.66% of calves born were PI. The status of almost all animals in the 83,000 breeding herds in Ireland is now known and this, in combination with progress with the programme has resulted in over 63,000 of the 83,000 breeding herds currently having Negative Herd Status (NHS). The main group of animals whose status is not yet known are those born before the start of the programme in 2013. At the end of Q3 the number of these animals had reduced over the three months by around 13,000 to approximately 28,000. Determining the status of these animals is important for two reasons. Firstly, small numbers of these continue to be found to be PI and secondly the presence of these untested animals will prevent herds that otherwise would be eligible for Negative Herd Status (NHS) being awarded this status and having access to lower-cost testing. PI Retention and Trojan animals The BVD Implementation Group continues to emphasise the importance of prompt removal of all PI animals once identified, with strict isolation where the option to conduct a confirmatory re-test is applied. During this period the Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis (CVERA) at UCD has completed a study on patterns of retention during 2013, 2014 and 2015. This has confirmed that levels of retention have reduced over this period, while highlighting the levels of retention in 2013, particularly in beef herds. This continued improvement has carried forward into 2016. Currently the database indicates only 30 PIs born in 2013, 14 and 15 as still alive.

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At the end of Q3 a total of 476 of the 3255 PI calves born to date in 2016 were still alive (Figures 1A, B), compared to a figure of 1,102 at the same point in 2015.

These increased rates of removal reflected, at least in part, the introduction by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) of restrictions (on both movements in and out) for herds retaining PI animals for more than seven weeks after the date of their first test. During this period AHI and CVERA completed an initial analysis of the contribution of Trojan dams (introduced non-PI dams carrying PI calves) to PI births during 2013-15, finding that approximately 10% of PI births each year were attributable to Trojan dams. The target for the programme continues to be

eradication by 2020. While progress to date is encouraging, the results of modelling work presented recently to the BVD Implementation Group (BVDIG) indicate that further measures are required if this target is to be met. The BVDIG is currently considering a number of proposals by the BVD Technical Working Group to achieve this goal. The BVDIG is also considering ways to more effectively manage the process of restricting herds that retain PI animals and of notifying their neighbours of the increased risk to their biosecurity. Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) The Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH)

Figure 1A. map showing distribution of PI births during 2016 (to end Q3). Each hexagon represents an areas of approximately 10km 2

provides an investigation by a trained veterinary practitioner for herds with one or more positive results in 2016. These investigations are funded through the Rural Development Plan. By the end of Q3, 1,458 investigations had been requested, of which

approximately 30% have been completed and the results reported to AHI where they are currently being analysed. Farmers can request an investigation by telephoning AHI (071 9671928), or by completing an on- line form [click here] . Figure 1B. map showing distribution of PI animals born 2013- 2016 that remain alive at the end of Q3.

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Testing options for 2017 and beyond This is currently being discussed by the BVDIG, informed by the results of the recent modelling exercise. The IG will communicate the outcome of these discussions shortly, along with decisions regarding additional measures to bring the programme to a conclusion within the the stated time-lines. Accessing results on ICBF All herd owners can access their results free-of-charge on ICBF. AHI have recently published an updated guide to assist with this [click here] . Herd owners are also encouraged to grant their own veterinary practitioner access to these data using the instructions provided. Key actions for herdowners • The small number of farmers with PIs still present in their herds should remove these as quickly as possible to reduce the possibility of further PI calves being born next season. • Farmers who have requested a herd investigation that has not yet been completed should contact their nominated practitioner to progress this. • Farmers who have not had a PI present in their herd in the past 12 months but have not yet been notified that they have acquired NHS should identify and test any animals whose status is not known. • All farmers should review biosecurity to avoid accidental reintroduction of infection.

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PROGRAMME UPDATE Beef HealthCheck

Programme: Beef HealthCheck Assistant Programme Manager: Rebecca Carroll

Beef HealthCheck dashboards for farmers and their veterinary practitioners are now available on ICBF. This new service was introduced in mid-September. Farmers can view liver and lung lesion results for slaughtered cattle from their herd online through the ICBF website. Tools are available on the dashboard to search and analyse the information. A ‘summary graph’ allows farmers to instantly see any problems found in their cattle’s livers or lungs at slaughter and a ‘fluke graph’ shows liver fluke scores on a month by month basis. It is also possible to view and search results at batch and individual animal levels. Farmers are encouraged to discuss their Beef HealthCheck results with their veterinary practitioner and to facilitate this farmers can share results with their own veterinary practitioner through the ICBF website.

To help access, interpret and share the Beef HealthCheck information on the ICBF website, AHI has developed a ‘Step By Step Guide to viewing Beef HealthCheck data on ICBF’. This leaflet is available on our website �click here] . In September, I had the opportunity to speak to a large group of farmers at a Winter Finishing event run by Teagasc in Cillin Hill in Kilkenny. I spoke about animal health at housing and over the winter period and also took the opportunity to update farmers on the new developments in the Beef HealthCheck programme. In July, I presented work which has arisen from the Beef HealthCheck programme at the international World Buiatric Congress which was held in Dublin this year. A poster on the Development of the Beef HealthCheck programme was included in the section on National Animal Health

Programmes and I gave an oral presentation on the analysing disease prevalence from abattoir populations. This topic is very important to the Beef HealthCheck programme as information from meat plants accumulates and we look in more detail at the information gathered on liver fluke, liver abscesses and pneumonia.

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During this quarter AHI was busy planning Beef HealthCheck farmer events, which were held in October. The theme for the events is animal health at housing and and experts will speak on the topics of pneumonia, parasite control, Beef HealthCheck reports and antimicrobial resistance. These topics are timely as cattle are housed over the coming weeks. Healthy animals at housing is the key to ensuring cattle will thrive during the winter and maximise weight gain. AHI are running these event across the country in conjunction with Meat Industry Ireland, Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture (DAFM).

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PROGRAMME UPDATE CELLCHECK

Programme: CellCheck Programme Manager: Finola McCoy

A key activity this quarter has been the continuation of work on the logistics of planning, booking and delivering CellCheck Farmer Workshops for Dairy Knowledge Transfer programme participants. An additional Stage 2 Workshop delivery training event was run, with 4 more events planned for November. DAFM has developed a robust and secure mechanism for ongoing bulk tank SCC data, and has collated the 2015 SCC data. This data is being prepared for analysis, which will enable us to proceed with the CellCheck Milking For Quality Awards again this year. In partnership with CVERA, research is being carried out on the trends in intramammary antibiotic usage over the last decade. This is providing some very valuable and interesting insights, which will help identify priority areas of the industry in the future. Workwith Limerick RVL and the commercial labs participating in the proficiency testing (PT) scheme has continued. A review of the scheme to date has been completed, and initial dataflow has commenced to start building a national database of mastitis pathogens. The next agreed step is to expand the scope of this PT scheme to include antimicrobial sensitivity patterns, which will assist with national surveillance of antimicrobial resistance. The World Buiatrics Conference was held in Dublin in July, which hosted over 3,000 veterinary practitioners, researchers and scientists from around the world. As well as chairing a session on International Mastitis Control Programmes, I was also involved in the delivery of a farm-based workshop for delegates on the UCD Research Farm at Lyon’s Estate. I also attended the 6th IDF International Mastitis Conference in September, and presented a paper on the work and achievements of the CellCheck programme. There was a lot of interest in our approach to improving udder health, and some envy that Ireland has such a collaborative approach to improving animal health, that involves all stakeholders. There were many interesting papers presented, provoking much thought and debate particularly on the subject of antimicrobial use, which is an area of immense importance internationally.

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PROGRAMME UPDATE JOHNE’S DISEASE

Programme: Johne’s Disease Programme Manager: Lorna Citer

During September AHI presented 26 training courses for veterinary practitions who had already completed Approved Veterinary Practitioner training as part of the AHI JD voluntary control programme. 333 Approved Veterinary Practitioners (AVPs) attended the training which was funded by Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH), a measure within the Rural Development Plan 2014- 2020, co-funded by the Irish government and the EU. The purpose of the training was to build on the foundational knowledge practitioners received previously about on farm risk assessments. The training focused on key aspects of test interpretation, the features of tests currently available for use with the programme and provided practitioners with opportunities to workshop some hypothetical herd test results and refine their interpretation skills. AHI recommends that any veterinary practitioner who is interested in conducting risk assessments and has yet to complete VRAMP training should indicate their interest in participating in training by contacting the AHI office. The control of Johne’s disease requires persistence and a risk management plan. There is good evidence that through applying key biocontainment and bio-exclusion principles infection can be controlled. Careful selection of replacement stock and rearing calves in a clean area well away from test positive cows and any slurry run-off is a good starting point. The most recent Johne’s Disease Bulletin addresses this issue [click here] and discusses how to manage the rearing of young stock to limit the spread of Johne’s Disease TheJohne’sdiseasepilotprogrammeisnowmovingtowards itsnextphasefollowingtheImplementation Group’s agreement that there is a need for a longer term Johne’s Disease programme. Discussions will be taking place with stakeholders over the remainder of the year on the future direction of the programme.

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PROGRAMME UPDATE IBR

Programme: IBR IBR TWG Chairman: Dr Michael Gunn

A number of possible options for a future national control plan were discussed at meetings of the TWG in July and August. It is intended to provide information on possible options to experts who will model the benefits and disadvantages of the various options to improve the selection of possible control strategies. At the same time, a cost-benefit analysis of a possible national IBR control programme continues to be developed by Teagasc. The TWG has also been considering possible developments on IBR control in Northern Ireland, and the quality of commercially available tests for IBR, as assessed by the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) in Germany. The extent to which animals exported from Ireland are required to meet additional guarantees in respect of a range of EU Member States continues to be monitored At a meeting with representatives of the Department of Agriculture, an update on the work of the TWG was provided, together with an outline of the future work programme. A discussion on the key knowledge gaps relating to a future IBR control programme took place, and a document summarising these knowledge gaps was subsequently provided to DAFM.

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PROGRAMME UPDATE BIOSECURITY

Programme: Biosecurity Biosecurity TWG Chairman: Dr John Mee

The TWG met twice so far this year in May and in September and have scheduled a further meeting in October. A new TWG member, George Ramsbottom from Teagasc was welcomed to the committee. The leaflet on Managing an Infectious Disease Outbreak has been graphically designed and is now in final draft. A collaborative research proposal (Teagasc, DAFM, ICBF, UCD, University of Ghent and Animal Health Ireland) on contract heifer rearing was presented to the TWG meeting for expert feedback prior to submission by the chair to Teagasc in September 2016 for research funding in 2017-2021. In addition, the chair presented four lectures on biosecurity topics for students in the Dairy Business Degree and Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management courses at Teagasc, Moorepark and the Agricultural Science Degree in the Waterford Institute of Technology. Further information is available on the Biosecurity webpage on the AHI website, and past press publications are available on the Biosecurity press page �click here] .

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PROGRAMME UPDATE CalfCare ™

Programme: CalfCare™ CalfCare™ TWG Chairman: Dr Ingrid Lorenz

The CalfCare Technical Working Group recently held their annual meeting. The day was designed to inform and update members of the TWG in relation to research in the area of calf health undertaken by the different bodies represented in the CalfCare TWG. In my new role as head of the Bavarian Animal Health Services, I presented a brief overview of calf management and health in Bavaria. In summary, the Bavarian farmers have – unsurprisingly – the same problems (mainly calf scour and pneumonia) and the same management issues (insufficient colostrum – too little, too late) as the Irish farmers. Ian Hogan presented his work on tests for immunoglobulin status in calves. He emphasised that failure of passive transfer should be assessed on a herd basis. Individual results suggesting FPT may be used to indicate herd investigation might be necessary. Cynthia Todd (Teagasc) presented some data on calf mortality which was extracted from AIM by Jennifer McClure from ICBF. Christine Cummins summarised the results of her PhD Thesis. She emphasised that hygiene is of critical importance – in every area. Poor hygiene can decrease the absorption of IgG from colostrum and increases the risk of calf morbidity and mortality. Frequent cleaning of calving and calf pens as well as feeding equipment is pertinent. Conor McAloon (UCD) presented his calf related studies arising from his work on Johne’s disease in two presentations :“Microbiological contamination of colostrum in commercial dairy herds” and “ParaTB control and passive transfer in calves”

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Charles Chavasse from Zoetis summarised his experiences from visiting problem farms in the spring of this year. Some of his conclusions are: • There is a need to clarify and promote what colostrum is (the first milk harvested just after the cow calved) and highlight the importance of clean harvesting and storage of colostrum. • On farm hygiene needs improving (both the environment and feeding equiment). • There is an urgent need for advice on affordable, functional and practical calf shed design. Finally, a collaborative Teagasc proposal to conduct a four year research project on the animal health aspects of dairy heifer contract rearing was presented by John Mee and reviewed by the TWG at the meeting and the feedback will be used to improve the study design. All participants found the day to be very useful and informative. As a direct outcome the group will now commence working on advice for calf shed construction.

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PROGRAMME UPDATE PARASITE CONTROL

Programme: Parasite Control Parasite Control TWG Chairman: Dr Andrew Forbes

The group has been busy over the summer putting together some new guidance on subjects that have not previously been addressed. A short article on neosporosis has been written and reviewed and is in the final stages of being finalised. It was felt necessary to have an AHI interpretation of this disease in Ireland to complement general information that is already available from other sources. Another article has described an initial approach on a new farm in order to generate a parasite audit and to set in motion the process of generating a parasite control plan with the farmer. This should be of particular value to new graduates and to practitioners taking on new clients. Finally, a short aide- memoire on sampling, the commonly used diagnostic tests and their interpretation is well advanced. Again, this should be very useful for farmers, veterinary students, young graduates and clinicians who do not regularly deal with farm stock and their parasites. In July, a poster arising out of work from the Parasite Control TWG was presented at the World Buiatrics Congress in Dublin. The poster, Animal Health Ireland Parasite Control Technical Working Group leaflets on Coccidiosis and Cryptosporidiosis as a method of knowledge transfer, was included in the National Animal Health Programmes section of the Congress. In September, Rebecca Carroll, Programme Manager with AHI spoke to a large group of farmers on the topic of animal health at housing at a Teagasc Winter Finishing event. The subject of parasite control at housing and its importance to allow animals to thrive over the winter was discussed on the night.

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