Sheep health focus for field day

SUE O'DOWD
Last updated 08:01 29/11/2012

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The financial benefit of vaccinating to prevent sheep abortions will be discussed at next week's Taranaki Sheep Focus field day.

The field day at Waitara on Wednesday is being organised by Inglewood Veterinary Services in partnership with Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

The theme is the financial impact of animal health decisions around ewe reproduction, and fly and worm management.

Vet Jonathan Spencer will outline the benefits of vaccinating against diseases like toxoplasmosis and campylobacter.

As lambing percentage was a key driver of most sheep farming enterprises, farmers should assess the cost of diseases like toxoplasmosis and campylobacter which caused abortions, facilitator Paul Whittle said.

"Vaccinating against toxoplasmosis increases lambing percentages by at least 3 percentage points. A recent national trial showed vaccinating against campylobacter increased lambing percentages by an average of 9 percentage points."

Scanning 500 two-tooth ewes at 140 per cent indicated 700 potential lambs, and the cost of vaccinating the ewes was $700, he said. Vaccination would lead to a scan of 149 per cent or 745 potential lambs.

With a 20 per cent loss from scanning to weaning, the vaccine would still lead to an 36 extra lambs, Whittle said. At $90 a head, they were worth $3240 - a $2540 return on the original $700 vaccine.

Practical approaches to flystrike management and blowfly resistance and the effect of worms on profit would also be discussed, he said.

Beef+ Lamb NZ Sheep Focus Day, Clifton Rugby and Sports Club, Inland North Rd, Waitara, 2pm Wednesday, December 5.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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