In March 2018, Bayer launched its global Care4Cattle initiative in collaboration with the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO). The aim of the initiative was to recognise 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 €30,000 Care4Cattle grant funding.
The initiative received more than 100 entries from across 37 countries, with the three winners from Australia, Brazil and the UK.
Dr Dominique van der Saag from Australia was selected for her research into the ways in which calves could self-administer analgesia after standard husbandry procedures. Van der Saag and her team created medicated lick blocks, which allowed the animals to receive a constant level of pain relief.
Van der Saag said: “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.“
In Brazil, Professor Mateus Paranhos da Costa wants to study the effects different weaning methods can have on the well-being of beef calves. The study will monitor the weight gain of the calves throughout the process, and will be able to see the impact each method has on the overall well-being of the calf.
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.”
The third winning submission was from The Cattle Lameness Academy in the UK. 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.
Dr Reuben Newsome, one of the veterinarians running and developing The Cattle Lameness Academy, said: “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.”
Dr Almut Hoffmann, head of farm animal products marketing at Animal Health, Bayer, said: “Through ongoing 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.”