- Three projects to receive Care4Cattle grants for innovations in advancing the well-being of cattle
- Care4Cattle received over 100 entries across 37 countries, with winners selected from Australia, Brazil and the United Kingdom
Monheim, September 19, 2018 – In March 2018, Bayer launched its global Care4Cattle initiative in collaboration with the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) to recognize and support innovative-thinking livestock professionals who have created new ways of advancing beef and dairy cattle well-being on the farm. Three projects have been selected to jointly receive the EUR 30,000 Care4Cattle grant funding.
The initiative received over 100 entries across 37 countries, highlighting how the advancement of animal well-being is of importance to the on-going progress of the livestock industry. From the entries, a panel of five independent judges selected three stand out projects from across the world based on their viability, practical feasibility and potential to benefit the well-being of cattle globally.
Practical solution for pain relief
Dr. Dominique van der Saag from Australia was selected for her research into novel ways in which calves could self-administer analgesia after standard husbandry procedures, which can often cause animals stress both during and after. Van der Saag and her team of five others, created a simple idea to use medicated lick blocks, allowing the animals to receive a constant level of pain relief, in a way that limits the need to handle the animals; therefore improving their level of well-being.
Van der Saag highlighted the importance of this, saying: “The repeated handling and treatment of animals can be detrimental to their well-being, so self-administration of analgesia, through for example, medicated lick blocks, has the potential for extended pain relief at the same time as reducing the stress these animals may feel.“
Improving weaning methods
Professor Mateus Paranhos da Costa’s study into the effects different weaning methods can have on the well-being of beef calves, was the second project granted funding by the Care4Cattle initiative. Based in Brazil, Paranhos da Costa wants to research the impact varying methods of weaning could have on the stress the animal can feel. By monitoring the weight gain of the calves throughout the process, the study will be able to see the impact each method has on the overall well-being of the calf. Ultimately, the team aims to be able to recommend appropriate weaning approaches for the benefit of the animals.
Paranhos da Costa said: “The weaning method commonly used on beef cattle farms in Brazil has a negative impact on the well-being and productivity of cows and calves. With this project we aim to study the short and long-term effects of alternative weaning methods on cow-calf well-being and post-weaning performance.”
Equipping dairy farmers to better detect and manage lameness
The third winning submission was from The Cattle Lameness Academy in the United Kingdom. This team of veterinary experts educate and promote proactive discussions with farmers to help them tackle the problem of lameness in cattle. Their aim is to create a modular training platform using videos, where they can support farmers in dealing with the rising threat of lameness. Such a tool will enable farmers to detect problems around lameness early, and equip them with the necessary know-how and practical support in order to address it.
Dr. Reuben Newsome, one of the veterinarians running and developing The Cattle Lameness Academy, highlighted the importance of helping farmers address this issue through training: “The future of lameness in cattle is very worrying and it has to change, for the benefit of cattle well-being and farm productivity. We hope to provide farmers with the knowledge and expertise to address and overcome the challenge of lameness, therefore maintaining their place in sustainable agriculture.”
Member of the Care4Cattle jury and former WFO Board Member, Ron Bonnett, said: “From the number of applications received, it is evident that the well-being of cattle is of great interest and a priority among livestock professionals around the world. There were many good ideas that will make a difference to enhancing cattle well-being on the farm – each in their local context and environment. This is promising and we hope that even more livestock professionals across the world will be inspired with new and innovative ways of caring for their cattle.”
The three winners will receive the grant to further their research and innovation, which is highly important to ensure high levels of animal well-being. Dr. Almut Hoffmann, Head of Farm Animal Products Marketing at Animal Health, Bayer, comments: “We’re extremely proud that through the Care4Cattle grant, we are able to support innovators who contribute to advancing animal well-being across a wide range of sectors and disease challenges. Through on-going commitment, innovation and collaboration, we can make significant contributions to enhancing animal well-being. Ensuring the well-being of animals is the right thing to do. And ultimately, what benefits the animals benefits all of us.”
Bayer Care4Cattle grant recipients were announced at the Future of Farming Dialogue 2018, an annual event that brings together various stakeholders to share their perspectives on agriculture, as well as the associated challenges and opportunities.