Paul Redmore, Neston Park Farm
Paul is Farm Manager at Neston Park Home Farm. The estate spans 1,400 acres with arable, beef, dairy and lamb enterprises. The 160 strong herd of Jersey cows produce organic Jersey milk, butter and cream.
Field lab: Improving the targeting of mastitis treatments
Mastitis is a painful condition and a common complaint in dairy herds, but not all cases of mastitis are equal. There is evidence that some types do not respond to antibiotics and identifying which is a currently a slow process. The Innovative Farmers field lab is testing an on-farm rapid typing test which will give results within 24 hours. Paul can then treat just those cases which are likely to respond, reducing his antibiotic use by up to 50%.
Why are you taking part in a field lab about antimicrobial reduction?
At Neston Park Home Farm we are always looking at ways to improve the health of our herds, reduce stress and use less intensive farming methods.
In 2013 I attended The Prince of Wales’s Summer School, where one of the speakers highlighted the impact of protecting the anti-microbials which we have for human use, by reducing the overall use in food production. This raised my awareness to the longer term problems of antibiotic use in unnecessary situations, and the need to find solutions at farm level. I then started to notice within the herd that some cases of mastitis had taken longer to recover than others.
What benefits have you seen from your involvement in the field lab?
Providing a consistent procedure for typing bacteria rapidly on farm has massive potential to reduce the use of antimicrobials in lactating cows.
Since joining the group I have found out more about the relative effectiveness of antibiotics for dealing with mastitis. Working with other farms in the area has meant we are working with a wide sample of data. The farm trial is ongoing but on our farm we are already seeing benefits; less milk is being withheld from the bulk tank as no antibiotics have been used for cows in the test group.
Our customers are always asking us for information about the milk which we supply and it is brilliant to be able to tell them that we are involved in a field lab which should lead to dramatic reductions in the overall use of antibiotics. Even more importantly, we are being seen as being proactive and at the forefront of something that is of real interest to our customers.