A group of farm animal veterinary surgeons are collaborating with farmers in Wales, as part of a project to test an element of their Sustainable Farming Scheme.
The pilot project, funded by the Welsh government, will assess how veterinary surgeons and farmers can collaborate to improve animal health as well as farming productivity.
The trial is testing the Animal Health Improvement Cycle (AHIC), which is proposed to be a key element of the government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme.
A part of this project will see a small group of farm animal veterinary surgeons conduct regular preventative medicine visits to farms. Each veterinary surgeon will work with a small number of farms, improving livestock health and identifying where livestock performance can be improved.
Actions will then be agreed, and later reviewed to see what improvements have taken place.
Twenty-two veterinary surgeons have signed up to the pilot scheme so far, with each veterinary surgeon aiming to recruit three farms into the project.
The project is being managed by Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers (WLBP), and includes a project team of veterinary surgeons and scientists with a range of expertise in animal health. Lessons from the pilot project will advise future training for livestock veterinary surgeons in Wales.
Richard Irvine, chief veterinary officer for Wales, said: “I’m really pleased to see this pilot is now underway. This is an exciting project in the field of livestock veterinary medicine. Vets have been involved in the design of the project which provides real potential to improve animal health and welfare.
“The AHIC also has the potential to promote sustainability in the livestock sector through partnership working between local veterinarians and farmers, driving a reduced carbon footprint and further strengthening antimicrobial stewardship.”
Lesley Griffiths, rural affairs minister, said: "Closer working with vets can improve animal health by promoting preventative action, which as well as improving animal welfare will improve a farm’s productivity.
“The results of this pilot project will be very valuable as we move towards the Sustainable Farming scheme in 2025.”
Image © Shutterstock