Managing first lactation heifers to maximise welfare and productivity - QUB-D-40-08
Project title: Managing first lactation heifers to maximise welfare and productivity Team: Alastair Boyle (Proposed PhD student),  Supervisors: Drs Niamh O’Connell and Conrad Ferris Duration: 3 years – commencing June 2008  Organisations involved: AFBI (Hillsborough), Queens University Belfast Background to and summary of proposal: The post calving period represents a difficult time for first-lactation dairy heifers, when they experience a number of different challenges simultaneously.  In particular, the regrouping of heifers with older cows soon after calving may be particularly...

Project title: Improving Diagnostics of Bovine Johne’s Disease at the Herd and Animal Level  Project team:  Dr Sam Strain, Dr David Graham Duration:  36 Months Background to proposal: Bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium are gram-positive, acid-fast organisms that include a number of significant human and animal pathogens. The mycobacterial species M. avium is currently subdivided into three subspecies, M. avium subsp. avium (M. avium), M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Map), and M. avium subsp. silvaticum (M. silvaticum). Paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease) in ruminants is characterized...

Project title: Benchmarking and control of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus in Northern Ireland. Duration:   24 months. Background to proposal: Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) is an economically important pathogen in Northern Ireland dairy and beef herds. Losses may be associated with a wide range of reproductive effects, including conception failure and abortion, suppression of the immune system in calves, resulting in increased levels of pneumonia and diarrhoea, reduced milk yields, increased somatic cell counts and death of animals from mucosal disease, characterised by lameness, scour...

Duration 2 Years Team and Leader AFBI, Stormont Organisations Involved AgriSearch (Project Leader and Co-Funder), DARD Research Challenge Fund (Co-Funder), Ulster Farmers Union, AFBI - Stormont (Research Partner) Background and Summary Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) is the most significant endemic viral disease in the United Kingdom from both a welfare and an economic perspective, and the prospect of control and eradication of BVDV is currently the subject of considerable attention in both the UK and Ireland. The inefficiencies due to the production losses attributed to BVDV are...

Duration 3 years commencing Autumn 2006 Team and Leader Dr S Kennedy, Dr D Graham, Dr H Ball Organisations Involved Veterinary Science Division (VSD) Background and Summary VSD investigations have shown that: 90% of affected farms within 500m od a source of poultry litter 5 - 10% of farms had weak or no apparent links with litter 33% of farms had poultry litter spread on affected field or stacked on farm 46% of farms had poultry litter stacked or spread on adjacent farm. Costs to farmers: Cattle deaths - up to 60+ beef cattle Loss of...