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The increasing prevalence of liver fluke in the last few years, partly due to climate change and increased cattle movement, highlights the importance of monitoring fluke risk and treating effectively.

Fluke risk varies hugely between years and even between fields. This means religiously treating your animals every year with the same flukicide may be wasting money and promoting resistance, while ineffective treatment (with the wrong product or at the wrong time) will lead to production losses.

Housing is the ideal time for year to tackle liver fluke as cattle cannot pick up any more fluke eggs while not at grass, monitoring liver fluke at this time allows us to guide treatment decisions.

There are various options for monitoring liver fluke that will suit different farms. Abattoir feedback provides invaluable information about farms historic fluke burden however active monitoring also be needed to assess a farm’s current status.

For instance, farms with previously high levels of fluke may benefit from blood testing a group of first grazers. Antibodies for fluke can be detected as soon as 2-4 weeks post-infection giving us the most accurate picture. However, for a farm that has a low fluke risk, or when assessing older animals, a faecal test can also be useful, faecal egg counts performed in the practice are inexpensive and will detect adult fluke. Whereas the coproantigen test, another faecal test performed at the laboratory, will detect fluke 3 weeks before eggs are shed.

Once the presence of fluke has been confirmed, a treatment plan needs to be devised. While it is tempting to treat cattle immediately at housing, there is no fluke product that has a long enough persistent effect or one that will kill fluke down to its most immature form. The best approach to removing all fluke is for cattle to be dosed 2-10 weeks after housing, the exact time is dependent on the product used. Hence, it is best to consult your vet on the most appropriate fluke treatment for your farm.


Many of the farms we work with are now reaping the benefits of the VaDia milking time testing service we offer.

VaDia is a battery operated, small and lightweight instrument which attaches to the teat cup during milking and logs the vacuum at four points in the milking cluster. The units allow us to monitor vacuum readings in three mouthpieces of a single cluster during a normal milking. It can provide valuable information about:

Cow preparation (bi-modal milking)

Vacuum level and fluctuations

Teat-end vacuum during peak flow

Liner fit

Over or under milking

All of which will have a significant impact on mastitis, cell count and cow comfort.

The information we gather thanks to VaDia will inform the implementation of  (often small) changes within the parlour, resulting in an increase in milking efficiency whilst lowering the incidence of mastitis within the herd.

Next month we will take a look in detail at the results found on-farm, including an amalgamation of our findings and the changes that have been made.


Whether you are rearing youngstock as dairy replacements, suckler replacements, stock for market or slaughter; maximising outputs and minimising losses is vital to any successful enterprise.

Key factors to consider when determining maximum health and development of youngstock include:

Are your calves getting adequate colostrum?

Do you know what daily liveweight gain your calves are achieving?

Do you know what they should be achieving?

Does the milk powder you’re using suit your system?

What is your disease incidence?

What is your mortality rate?

Are you aware of the most up to date research into the areas that can have the biggest positive effect on calf rearing?

How do I answer these questions?

Take advantage of the support available to you through the Torch Youngstock Club.

The Torch Farm Youngstock Club works in partnership with clients, providing ongoing support and monitoring throughout the year to help to ensure you are getting the most from your youngstock.

What’s involved with the Youngstock Club and what support will I receive?

Our youngstock club will  help answer the above questions and more.

It is achieved through:

12 x 1 hour visits per year/calving season

Measuring total proteins

Collecting data

Allocating one of our Vet Techs to your farm

Creating written reports for you and your farms’ vet to monitor performance and discuss areas that could be improved

How do I join?

If you would like more information on how we can help you get the most from your youngstock then please get in touch.

Speak to your vet or get in touch with your local Torch Farm branch who will give you further information and talk you through the steps needed to join.


The final round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants (CPSG) scheme closes for applications on 4th November.

Under the CPSG scheme, farmers can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 to buy new and innovative equipment which helps businesses save time and money and improve productivity.

Last year, new items were added to the list of the equipment available that will help farmers to benefit the environment, such as equipment designed to help minimise soil compaction in fields, monitor ammonia levels in farm buildings, and increase machinery precision when applying slurry. From a bovine TB perspective for example, eligible items could include:

Cattle handling systems/ cattle crushes.

Badger-proof feed troughs/ lick holders.

Calf milk pasteuriser and dispenser.

Shallow injection systems (for slurry).

If you have been successful in applying for grants in previous rounds of the scheme you are still able to apply for different pieces of equipment within this final round up to the scheme’s limit of £12,000, to enable you to streamline other elements of your  business.

More information can be accessed at: www.gov.uk/government/news/25-million-available-to-help-farmers-boost-productivity


Whilst not in its traditional format, we are pleased to be able to continue to support the annual Dairy Event at Holsworthy Market as a sponsor.

The event this year takes place in conjunction with the early month dairy sale as a business show and sale on Wednesday 4th November and we wish clients exhibiting and attending a successful day.

We will be in attendance at the event and look forward to saying a socially distanced hello or two.


After taking up running earlier in the year with coach (and vet) Rachel Turner, Team Torch’s Jen Burnett and Miriam Rigby were inspired to put their new-found fitness to good use!

The trio raised £550 for Cancer Research UK  by running 180 miles collectively throughout September. Here they are pictured on their last pre-work, early morning run on 30th September that completed the challenge.

A huge well done!


We just wanted to say thank you for your understanding through these unprecedented times.

We remain committed to providing our veterinary services. In line with government guidance, we have in place strict social distancing measures to keep you and our teams safe, secure the best care for your animals and help reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.

We appreciate your continued patience at this busy and challenging time.