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Neonatal calves at risk of lowered immunity, diet study suggests
Researchers found that only a third (34 per cent) of calves achieved adequate colostrum status.
Small pilot study finds 13 per cent of calves in danger of FPT

New research suggests neonatal calves may be at risk of lowered immunity due to poor absorption of colostral antibodies.

Researchers from Moredun and Norvite explored the relationship between diet and neonatal calf health on eight farms.

Previous research by University College Dublin has shown over-supplementation of iodine in ewes during the pre-lambing period can cause failure of passive transfer (FTP) of colostral antibodies in newborn lambs, with detrimental effects for their immunity. However, this had not yet been demonstrated in calves.

Moredun and Norvite researchers carried out a survey of iodine supplementation on farms from Orkney to Lanarkshire. They found large variations between farms in the contribution of forage to iodine intake, highlighting the importance of farms carrying out annual forage analysis before consulting a nutritionist on mineral supplementation.

Colostrum uptake was estimated in a sample of 70 calves using zinc sulphate turbidity (ZST). Researchers found that only a third (34 per cent) of calves achieved adequate colostrum status (ZST level of 20+), while 13 per cent were in the danger zone for complete FPT (ZST <5).

According to the findings, farm six, which had the highest iodine levels, had the lowest mean ZST levels and had a history of neonatal calf disease. Meanwhile, farm seven, which had the lowest iodine levels, had the highest mean ZST and was the only farm to have no calves in the FPT danger zone.

Farmers struggling with neonatal calf disease were urged to speak to their vet about checking antibody absorption in a selection of calves under a week old this spring, and to contact a nutritionist to carry out forage analysis and mineral budget for the in-calf cows for the following year.

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Public urged to provide homes for swifts

News Story 1
 The RSPB is calling on the public to help provide new homes for swifts, as figures show the birds' numbers have fallen to less than half what they were 20 years ago.

Swifts arrive in the UK late April-May and can spend up to three months in the country. The RSPB attributes the birds’ decline to modern buildings, which lack the nooks and crannies they need to build nests.

While some house builders have agreed to integrate swift homes into new buildings, the RSPB believes more can be done to help this incredible bird. 'Just, 1,000 additional new nest boxes could make a difference’, the charity said.  

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News Shorts
Detection time for omeprazole reduced to 48 hours in racehorses

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that the detection time for omeprazole has been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours. This is effective from 1 February 2019.

Omeprazole can be prescribed for the management of gastric ulcers in racehorses; however, studies have recently become available that show no direct effect of omeprazole on performance.

Tim Morris, the Authority’s Director of Equine Science and Welfare, commented: “Medication control in horse racing is essential to allow treatment for good welfare but also to ensure fair racing by medication withdrawal before racing. Trainers have asked for more information, especially on anti-ulcer medications, and we have used existing information to make a harmonised detection time for omeprazole available as soon as we could.”