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Spearheading a new beef health scheme

A new beef health scheme being launched in Cornwall on the 25th November is the first of its kind in England, thanks to £12,000 of investment from Objective One project Rural Progress.

Tim Bebbington, Veterinary Partner at Launceston-based Castle Veterinary Group developed the concept following attendance at a herd health-planning seminar in Cheshire organised by British Cattle Veterinary Association.

The beef health scheme will develop a set of management rules and a disease-testing program, which shows whether or not Bovine Virus Diarrhoea or Johne's Disease is present in Cornish beef herds. The scheme will develop a bespoke herd programme, which is a combination of vaccination and monitoring to either control or eliminate the disease.

Two similar schemes have been introduced in Wales and Scotland but this will be the first of its kind in England. DEFRA are very supportive of the new scheme and are keen to observe and perhaps use the experiences gained in Cornwall to develop a similar scheme across the UK.

The beef health scheme is being launched at a seminar in the Westberry Hotel in Bodmin on 25th November at 2pm. Scottish vet George Caldow, Manager of the SAC Premium Cattle Health Scheme will explain how it works and the rules that farmers will need to follow. Bruce Lawson, Vet Manager of the Welsh Beef Project, a similar project that has been running for 3 years and now has 140 Welsh Black and 40 Limousin herd members, will outline the lessons they have learnt.

Tim Bebbington explained: "Both BVD and Johne's Disease represent significant financial losses for beef suckler herds. This scheme is aimed at cleaning up the top end of the market, particularly for those farmers participating in the sale and purchase of bulls and breeding females.

"Our aim is to improve both customer confidence, in being able to purchase cattle from monitored herds, and reduce farmers' costs in relation to herd replacement, calf growth, infertility and abortion rates."

The investment from Rural Progress, an Objective One Scheme that facilitates the implementation of new technology and new skills in land based businesses and organisations in Cornwall, is being used to subsidise farmers' entry cost into the health programme. This involves initial herd blood testing, sampling and analysis to establish where the cattle are at the moment and the development of a bespoke health management programme for the herd. Farmers who would like to attend the seminar to discover more about the scheme should contact the Castle Veterinary Group on 01566 772371.


Editor's notes:

Rural Progress
Rural Progress is a new Objective One scheme to facilitate the implementation of new technology and provide new skills to land based businesses, individuals, groups and organisations. These beneficiaries need to be located within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and associated with farming, horticulture, forestry or supply services to these businesses.

Castle Veterinary Group
Castle Veterinary Group is a long established farm veterinary practice comprising of 11 veterinary surgeons with considerable experience of cattle and sheep health planning. Tim has been a practising farm vet for 14 years within the South West.

For further information:

Carolyn Daw
Tel: 01822 833488

Paul Charlton, Project Manager, Rural Progress
Tel: 01579 372112

Tim Bebbington, Castle Veterinary Group
Tel: 01566 772371


Jason Clark
Communications Adviser
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388

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