Wednesday, 17 January 2018 - 4:34pm

Through February, March and April St Boniface Farm Vets are running a series of meetings addressing cattle fertility and healthy calf production. The series begins with calf rearing and the promotion of rapid growth to produce an efficient and healthy heifer. Trouw Nutrition are...

Tuesday, 19 December 2017 - 10:21am

This year we are providing a set of three Winter meetings, with each one being held twice in different locations.

The first in this series focuses on fertility, the effects of transition cow management and treatments for problem cows.  This evening meeting is coming to a pub near you in January and will be held by Ruth and Ingrid.

Our second...

Friday, 1 December 2017 - 4:56pm

Copper Deficiency

Pure deficiency is very rare, as a ewe’s requirement is only 1mgCu/kg DM. However, there are several elements that can antagonise copper and these change the picture significantly.  Iron and sulphur will bind with copper in the rumen, this copper can’t be absorbed and passes out in dung, it is rare to get clinical signs of copper deficiency due to high iron levels but it can worsen the effect of molybdenum.

Friday, 1 December 2017 - 4:53pm

Copper Toxicity

Sheep are far more susceptible to the effects of copper toxicity than cattle, in addition, there is variation between sheep breeds in how sensitive they are, see table below:

Unfortunately, the main sign of copper toxicity is sudden death so you don’t get any warning that a problem is coming.  The typical situation for problems, is sheep receiving copper from more than one source i.e. boluses, licks /...

Friday, 1 December 2017 - 4:50pm

Selenium, Iodine & Cobalt


Although the classic presentation of deficiency is white muscle disease, with lambs becoming stiff legged, it can also be a cause of weak lambs, high lamb mortality, and poor fertility in ewes.  Blood samples can give a good indication of selenium status over the past 2 months.  The diagram below shows the role of selenium and vitamin E in binding free radicals.


Friday, 17 November 2017 - 11:59am

St Boniface Vets are planning a 2 day course in cattle foot trimming, suitable for complete beginners or those wanting a detailed refresher. 

The course will run from 10.30am to 3pm on 23rd & 24th January, here at the surgery in Crediton, with lunch provided.

Places are limited, to ensure a high quality personal delivery, so please let us know if you are interested to avoid disappointment. 

We will also be offering a unique one-to-one follow up session, on your farm...

Thursday, 16 November 2017 - 1:37pm

“Sales of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK have fallen to their lowest level since records began, exceeding a government target to combat the threat of antibiotic resistance (AMR) two years early”

This is a statement from Defra that has rightfully been spread far and wide in farming press, though probably not far enough in the general media! UK farming industries have really taken the reduction of antibiotics seriously and are pulling more than their weight in the...

Thursday, 16 November 2017 - 12:52pm

One of the more frustrating problems faced by anyone caring for dairy cows is the ‘downer cow’.  Defined most simply as a cow that remains recumbent for more than 24 hours; often very bright and alert with a good appetite, they seem very content!  Often these cows do not walk off the farm, which is a demoralising result and costly too, with the difference between a cull value and fallen stock bill several hundred pounds, and for a very good cull over £1000.

Are we doing enough...

Friday, 20 October 2017 - 6:08pm

Here is an easy to accomplish example of monitoring.

5cm increments are drawn on the race, the heifers are measured against it and their withers height recorded.

These heifers are 12 months old. A Holstein heifer should have a withers height of 124cm by this time.

If heifers are not achieving good enough growth rates, and we discover this early enough, feeding can be altered so that service can still be achieved by 13-15 months of age.


Thursday, 21 September 2017 - 11:29am

£300 million annually - This is the estimated cost of liver fluke to the UK agricultural industry.

Liver fluke can result in:

  • Reduced weight gain
  • Reduced milk production
  • Decreased feed conversion ratio
  • Reduced fertility
  • Young stock fail to thrive
  • Death of animals
  • Poor welfare

Cattle are more commonly affected by the chronic form of this disease. Whereas acute disease results from mass...