We believe that the veterinary surgeon and farm advisor should play a central role in preventing disease and maintaining the health of dairy cows within a framework of economic, environmentally sustainable farming. Maintaining excellent cow health and welfare are the primary and overarching aims of a herd health programme.
What is herd health?
We define herd health management as ‘a method to optimise health, welfare and production in a population of dairy cows through the systematic analysis of relevant data and through regular objective observations of the cows and their environment, such that informed, timely decisions are made to adjust and improve herd management over time'. This process is a continual one involving regular contact with the dairy personnel and a methodical analysis of the farm data so that all aspects of the health and welfare of the cattle are reviewed frequently. It is this regular contact that is of critical importance to the success of any herd health service as it not only helps in the development of a close working relationship with the farm staff, but also allows for the constant monitoring and re-evaluation of the farms performance which is particularly important when judging the success or failures of management decisions.