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BY KATIE DAVIDSON


SHARING KNOWLEDGE ACROSS THE AGES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL


haring knowledge with students, farmer groups and school children may be time consuming, but can be extremely rewarding, according to University of Liverpool’s herd manager John Cameron. And with the farm’s Woodpark herd receiving visitors on a daily basis, he says it helps him keep on top of herd management and is a rewarding experience for both himself and the rest of the farm team. “We have students on farm five days a week from September to July and also host more than 1200 school children a year, as well as regular visits from Tesco contract farmers and others, so management of the 200- cow herd is constantly under


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scrutiny,” he explains. “The farm is used more now than ever for teaching with a higher demand for practical teaching and student numbers increasing. Currently there are 650 vet students over the five- year course.”


And in addition to running the farm John’s team, which consists of himself and three full time and four part-time members of staff, all cover some teaching from animal handling for first years to mastitis practicals and lameness management later in the curriculum. A standard week for the herd starts with a vet visit on a Monday morning followed by locomotion scoring in the


afternoon. On a Tuesday morning students blood test cows to look at total protein, BHB and glucose levels in one week calved cows and 100 day PD checks are also carried out. Every third Tuesday all young stock are weighed and students report back to John on a Friday with recommendations on management, housing, worming and protocols. Wednesday is nutrition day and students look at the cows and silage clamps, as well as body condition scoring, faeces sieving and rumen PH levels. In the afternoon mastitis is monitored and housing and beds studied, cell count and milk samples are reviewed, milking protocols checked and


Woodpark Farm has been Tesco’s Dairy Centre of Excellence for six years.


“We have students on farm five days a week from September to July and also host more than 1200 school children a year, as well as regular visits from Tesco contract farmers and others, so management of the 200-cow herd is constantly under scrutiny,”


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