Author Archives: paulholliday

Subclinical ketosis – A growing problem?

I was reading this article about subclinical or hidden ketosis and was surprised to find it suggest an average 30% rate of dairy cows in the UK testing positive with hidden ketosis. The first thing that struck me was the company which commissioned the audit also happens to be selling a product to test for hidden ketosis. Hmm!

Firstly were the cattle tested a fair representation of UK cattle? The audit tested 763 cows of the 2 million dairy cows in the UK from 15 different herds. While I would suggest a wider ranging audit would lend more weight to the results they have tested a reasonable number of cows.

Experts have proposed the prevalence of hidden ketosis within a herd can be influenced by season. The audit was conducted between July 2011 and January 2012 meaning the entire spring season was omitted. Whether this makes a difference is hard to judge until a consensus is reached by experts on the seasonal effects.

Finally I investigated the BHBA testing threshold for testing positive. In the Elanco audit they used a threshold of 1000-1400 µmol/litre. The lower end of this threshold is quite a low compared that proposed by other sources which suggest 1200 µmol/litre[1], 1400 µmol/litre[2], 1200 µmol/litre[3], 1400 µmol/litre[4]. This would in theory produce results with increased positive tests.

One thing however that appears to be undoubted is that hidden ketosis is a real problem! Correctly monitoring your dairy herd is important from both a welfare and financial perspective.

Single Payment Scheme Application Period

Single Payment Supervisor

It’s approaching that time of year again (so soon!) where farmers must make they Single Payment Scheme subsidy claim. Land agents are run off their feet and farmers are panicking about making a correct submission. We now understand from RPA that the application period will open on the 26th February (assuming testing doesn’t highlight any issues).

Every year we have our keen Single Payment Supervisor users desperately wanting to know how soon before they can download and submit their SP5 forms. We thought we could investigate how long the submission period has been over the last five years.

2013: 26th February – 15th May (79 days)
2012: 28th February – 15th May (78 days)
2011: 1st March – 16th May (77 days)
2010: 15th March – 17th May (64 days)
2009: 4th March – 15th May (73 days)

Well the results are in and it’s good news. Each year, 2010 excepted, the period in which to make your Single Payment Scheme submission is increasing with six more days available this year than in 2009, an increase of 8%. For the individual farmer this probably doesn’t make too much difference in submitting their one or two applications, however for a land agent filling in dozens if not hundreds of these important claims those extra days are crucial. In conclusion we congratulate RPA on moving in the right direction!