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10 STAFF TRAINING


taff training should form the cornerstone of farm management and be a tool to motivate and recognise the contribution staff make to herd management.


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Speaking during a Dairy Day UK seminar, Ian Lindsey of LKL Services said training should start before staff joined a herd, with a comprehensive farm manual sent to all new starters in advance.


“This document should cover the whole farm system and include some farm and herd background and history as well as aspirations for the future. Importantly it should also contain details of key operations, such as how the milking parlour runs and any quirks with it.” It’s also important to include details of herd management protocols to help staff settle in


BVD ERADICATION IN SCOTLAND


cotland’s compulsory BVD eradication scheme has seen the number of herds exposed to the disease fall by more than 25% in three years, with just 13% of Scottish cattle herds now testing as being exposed to the disease. Kim Davies of the Scottish Government told farmers at UK Dairy Day that the scheme had seen cattle tested on more than 9700 holdings, with 87% now negative for the disease. “Testing has found 2624 persistently infected animals, of which more than 480 are still alive.


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“However, those holdings deemed as ‘not negative’ means they’ve been exposed to the disease at some point and are now, under the latest phase of the scheme, under movement


restrictions and unable to move cattle without individually testing them.”


But Dr Davies said the dairy sector was still lagging behind, with 32% of herds currently classified as not negative. “This is an improvement from current levels which were about 50%, but that change has been driven by a change in testing options, with bulk milk testing no longer applicable.”


Alongside movement restrictions for ‘not negative’ herds any animals moving in to Scotland have to be tested for BVD. “With BVD estimated to cost infected dairy herds an average of £16,000 an animal there is every reason for farmers to tackle the disease. “It is realistically likely to be 10 years before we can fully


eradicate BVD from Scotland, but the industry has made giant strides in the last few years bringing the number of ‘not negative’ herds down from 40% to 13%. I expect the last 10% to be the hardest to tackle,” explains Dr Davies.


to herd management quickly and easily and ensure a smooth transition, he added.


“The average member of staff in the UK is responsible for 100-110 cows compared to 65-75 in the USA and 70-80 in mainland Europe. This means any vacancy creates pressure from the minute a member of staff decides to leave, spending time getting new staff up to speed can be hard, but it will


pay dividends in the long run,” said Mr Lindsay. “The dairy industry is constantly changing, with new technologies and working practices constantly being developed. Keeping staff up to speed with these developments is essential to ensure they remain valued members of the team in the long-term,” he added.


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