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Holistic, preventative approach to herd health needed

───   ROBYN SCHUTTE 05:00 Mon, 11 Mar 2024

Holistic, preventative approach to herd health needed  | News Article

Amidst disease challenges and evolving economies, the importance of herd health is undeniable.

In the dynamic livestock farming landscape, maintaining a healthy cattle herd is crucial for sustainable and profitable agriculture. Amidst disease challenges and evolving economies, the importance of herd health is undeniable. Thapelo Kgosi Ramokala, an animal health specialist at Beefmaster Group, underscores the critical need to prioritise herd health in 2024.

He highlights two key areas of focus – vaccination and education regarding antibiotic usage.

“Implementing a strategic vaccination schedule plays a fundamental role in fortifying herd immunity against prevalent pathogens, thus averting potential outbreaks and safeguarding the well-being of the herd.”

Ramokala also outlines essential practices such as vaccination, parasite control, nutrition management, hygiene standards, responsible antibiotic usage, and biosecurity measures.

“By integrating these practices into their farming routines, producers can mitigate the risk of herd illnesses and enhance overall cattle welfare.”

Central to Ramokala's recommendations is the establishment of a comprehensive vaccination program tailored to the specific needs and prevalent diseases within each geographical area.

Maintaining a healthy cattle herd is crucial. Photo: Riek Truter

 While he underscores the importance of core vaccinations such as Super VX, and Lumpy Vax, and protection against diseases like brucellosis and BVD, he emphasises consulting local veterinarians for customised vaccination plans suited to individual farm contexts.

In bridging traditional farming practices with modern approaches, he advocates for a balanced integration of essential principles such as vaccination, deworming, hygiene, and biosecurity measures.

Addressing prevalent misconceptions surrounding herd health, Ramokala underscores the fallacy of dismissing vaccinations based on the historical absence of outbreaks. He emphasises the proactive nature of vaccination as a preventative measure, drawing parallels to unforeseen events like power outages despite historical trends of uninterrupted electricity supply.

OFM/Agri dg

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