Farm Vet Services
Castle Vets offer a huge range of farm vet services to local farms. Our farm vets provide disease data analysis, bull and ram analysis, herd fertility monitoring, nutrition advice, teaser rams and surgical services.
- 24 Hour cover
- Discussion Groups
- Herd Health Plans
- Bull / Ram Analysis
- Data Analysis
- Medicine Collection
- Teaser Rams
24 Hour Cover
At all times outside our practice opening hours two veterinary surgeons are on call to deal with any emergencies that may arise.
Should you require assistance outside of our normal working hours please call 01566 772371
We hold regular meetings with our Dairy, Grass, Beef and Sheep groups and meetings specifically tailored to our small holder clients. These are often free meetings open to all those interested.
We have a wide range of contacts with experts in dairy, beef and sheep and we are very happy to arrange for these outside experts to come down to the Southwest. Check the news section for upcoming discussion group events.
Herd Health Plans
We were one of the first practices in the country to work with large numbers of farmers on health planning and we have a lot of experience in this area. We keep our plans short and concentrate on the few areas of concern. We can benchmark your farm against others in the practice. We have worked with local abattoirs to analyse slaughterhouse returns from beef and sheep farms.
A Herd Health Plan is an essential part of farming and there is an increasing need for both farmers and vets to be responsible and have one in place. This allows the vets to know how you manage your farm and, this way, it makes it easier for us to help you when a problem occurs and needs dealing with. It is more than just signing a paper, so from now on we ask our farmers to book some time with us at the surgery whenever a Herd Health Plan needs producing or revising, allowing us to do it properly and tick all the essential boxes. For all stock farmers in the Red Tractor scheme, it is now mandatory that you have a report on your antibiotic usage.
Speak to us to find out more about this as we have a system in place to produce a report for you.
Bull / Ram Analysis
We have used a ram probe for many years to collect semen samples. Since 2007 we have been testing bulls after the purchase of a bull probe. Results have been interesting with many infertile and subfertile bulls lurking out on your farms! On a farm with several bulls this will show as a wide calving spread and more barren cows. EBLEX figures show that shortening your calving season for your suckler cows is critical to achieving maximum returns from your herd.
Each bull tested has a written report. This details the stages of the examination and concludes with a summary and advice about the future use of the bull.
We recommend bulls are tested 2 months before they are due to go in with the cows, so that any suspect bulls can be retested and replaced without interfering with the breeding season.
We can test pedigree bulls before sale from our breeder clients.
Rams can be seen whilst on farm or at either surgery by arranging a time with one of our vets.
Farm vets spend an increasing amount of our time analysing farm data, which may be disease incidence, laboratory results, milk quality, fertility parameters, lameness records, culling patterns and abattoir data. We can use Total Vet, Herd Companion, our own health plan software and our nutrition programme to help us. We use data collected from our farm clients to anonymously benchmark against other clients.
We have many herds on regular routine fertility visits. With the cost of an extra day on a calving interval at £4 a cow, this is the best investment in veterinary care and we discount our time for this work that is pre-booked in advance.
For suckler herds we carry out pregnancy diagnosis after the bull has been taken out so decisions can be made about empty cows. We will synchronise suckler cows for AI and can advise on planning effective programmes.
We supply medicines to our clients under veterinary prescription. However to make your life easier we can arrange for you to collect your prescription from any of our sites.
Medicines can be dispensed from Pennygillam or our farm branch at Miller Court, Liskeard. Please telephone us with your request so that we can have it ready for you. We also have a collection point at Chipshop just outside Tavistock.
The modern dairy cow takes a lot of looking after. Her nutrition is often the limiting factor in her performance. We are used to working with farmers and their nutritional advisors to make the most of the cows and the feed on the farm.
Our role is to gather information from the cows about their response to their diet and to discuss these results with the farm team so any changes can be agreed, implemented and monitored.
In order to start your lambing off quickly we recommend the introduction of a teaser (vasectomised) ram for a fortnight before the real rams go in. He will stimulate your ewes to begin their breeding cycle so that you can make the most of the naturally high conception rate of sheep.
We can vasectomise rams at the surgery. This should be at least 6 weeks before they are used as teasers.
We will send two vets to your farm to perform a caesarian section on your cows. Ewes can be brought into either Pennygillam or Liskeard surgery if they need assistance with lambing where a caesarian can be performed if necessary.
Sheep App (Flockr)
We have used Agritech funding to develop a sheep programme that displays key performance indicators in a visual form. Scanning data, abattoir returns, health and performance data and antibiotic usage are all included. Comparisons can be made with similar flocks.
The programme, Flockr, is currently being made available for sheep consultancy clients of the practice. We will be rolling it out to other clients and practices so more farms can benefit from its use.