Field lab: Reducing antibiotic use in dairy farming

23 November 2012 09:45 - 23 November 2012 13:30

The Calf House, Cues Lane, Eastbrook Farm, Bishopstone, Nr Swindon, Wiltshire SN6 8PW

Using the comprehensive records available at Eastbrook, this workshop will discuss strategies for reducing antibiotic use in dairy herds, with input from a vet, a researcher and a consultant. The event will introduce the farm and explore what its records can and can’t reveal about cow health, herd management and treatment. It is suitable for farmers keen to improve health and welfare while reducing antibiotic use, and interested in making effective use of their farm records.

This event is one of our ‘field labs’, where producers meet on a farm that is trying out an innovative approach to sustainable management. As well as comparing notes with other farmers (organic and non-organic) and sharing best practice, field labs are a chance to learn how to run trials effectively on your own farm. At the first workshop you get to know the farm, agree the aspect you want to study and, if a trial or research isn’t already running, design it. You can then choose to meet up to three times more, with us providing a researcher and facilitator to help get the most from the sessions, to track how the trial works out.

The field labs are part of the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme which the Soil Association is running with the Organic Research Centre. The programme encourages scientists and policy makers to listen to farmers’ research priorities – including ideas you suggest at the field labs – and has a small research fund so we can tackle the most crucial needs directly.

Format of the meeting:

  • Introduction to Eastbrook Farm dairy – Helen Browning       
  • Overview of Field Labs, how they work – Martin Davies       
  • Antibiotic use and health issues... what are we learning from our records?           
  • Dairy/calf house tour – led by Teo and Dai, the dairy team           
  • What more do we need to learn about reducing antibiotic use?
  • Designing an on farm trial – Katharine Leach, Organic Research Centre
  • Wrap up discussion and setting next meeting dates – Martin Davies   
  • Light lunch and group discussion

Please tell us if you wish to attend this meeting by calling 0117 914 2400 or emailing mdavies@soilassociation.org to ensure we have enough space for discussion, and lunch available.

About Eastbrook Farm

Eastbrook is a 1,300 acre mixed farm with 170 cows producing around 1.1 million litres of organic milk which is sold to OMSCO, much of it going to a local processor, Berkeley Farm Dairy. Young stock is either brought back into the herd or finished as beef or rose veal on the holding. There is also a farrow to finish pig enterprise of 250 British Saddleback sows. Around 10,000 finished pigs/year, from Eastbrook and other farms, are sold nationally through the Helen Browning’s Organic brand, to other UK customers, or exported. Around 450 acres of cereals and pulse crops are grown for farm use or sale.

How to get there

By road: Leave the M4 at junction 15 from the west or junction 14 from the east. Take the A420 from Oxford. Take the A417/419 from Gloucester. Eastbrook can be found at the northern end of Bishopstone village. Tel 01793 792042 if lost!



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