Thursday 18 November

8am: Estimating Johne’s disease prevalence within the milking herd through effluent | Rebecca White
Johne’s disease, as caused by infection with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), is a wasting disease affecting ruminants. As the disease progresses, MAP can be detected in faeces by PCR analysis. Effluent is therefore a convenient sampling site for herd-level screening. The ability of a derived effluent MAP score to estimate prevalence of antibody-positive animals was trialled.

8.20am: Salmonella on dairy farms - the emerging story | Chris Compton

8.40am: Johne’s disease in New Zealand; an LIC perspective | Rebecca White
Johne’s disease; yesterday, today, and tomorrow. An overview of where we have been, where we are, and where we hope to be in the future, from an LIC point of view.

9am: Neospora | Carl Finnigan
This presentation outlines the devastating effect of a Neospora ‘outbreak’ at the run-off of a dairy
farm in Golden Bay. At the routine scanning visit for the R2s the farmer commented that there may have been ‘one or two’ that had recently lost their pregnancies. I will present the lab tests performed and the results while touching on the impact on the near-retirement aged farmer who, prior to April 28th had never heard of Neosporosis.

9.20am: The psychosocial impact of M. bovis on rural communities | Mark Bryan

9.40am: Involvement of vet practices in the M. bovis programme | Richard Campbell & MPI
Largely absent from the early years of the programme the veterinary profession joined in earnest in April 2020 in conjunction with Veritag and SVS Labs. The overwhelming response was one of enthusiasm to be involved with the largest animal health response of a generation and to be able to support their clients through a stressful time. This presentation looks at the attributes and benefits the profession has added and looks at the pitfalls encountered. The commercial aspects and the relationship between MPI and the veterinary profession are discussed.

10.30am: Passive transfer of antibodies to calves from dams vaccinated with Salvexin B | Alistair Kenyon & Amanda Kilby
A randomized controlled trial was carried out on a commercial dairy farm in Canterbury in 2019 to investigate S. Typhimurium colostral antibody transfer following vaccination with Salvexin+B at dry-off (PSC -75) or pre-calving (PSC -28). Vaccination conferred significantly more S. Typhimurium colostral antibodies to calves compared with leaving dams unvaccinated. There was no difference between the dry-off and pre-calving groups. The effect of vaccination was significant despite background seropositivity of S. Typhimurium in the study herd and a failure of passive transfer rate of 30%.

10.50am: Effect of preservatives on bacteria + nutritional composition in colostrum | Emma Cuttance

11.10am: Calf opportunities project | Ina Pinxterhuis
Currently approximately 35% of dairy calves born alive in New Zealand are processed as bobby calves. Reducing this proportion is a ‘wicked problem’, with complex barriers to be overcome and a wide range of stakeholders. Nonetheless, we need to be prepared for changing consumer expectations and identify pathways for progress that optimise public and farmer acceptance, economic viability across the value chain, welfare of cows and calves, and environmental impact. Can a co-innovation approach help us to achieve this?

11.30am: Does the calf feed from its dam? | Emma Cuttance

12pm: Proactive calf rearing programmes | Mara Elton

1.30pm: Impact of a calf scours vaccine on colostral immunoglobulins| Greg Chambers
Calves are born without protective immunoglobulins provided by the cow in utero, so a sufficient volume of colostrum of adequate quality must be consumed within 6-12 hours of birth. We enrolled cows that were either vaccinated or not with a calf scours vaccine into a cohort study and showed that vaccinated cows had concentrations of particular immunoglobulin classes that were elevated beyond what was explained by increased concentrations of vaccine-specific immunoglobulins. The vaccine, in addition to its current indication for managing infectious calf diarrhoea, may also have potential for improving calf health through increased colostrum immunoglobulin concentrations.

1.50pm: BVD testing in calves - maternal Abs | Scott McDougall

2.10pm: Targeted selective treatment of R1 dairy heifers with anthelmintic: effects on performance | Andrew Bates
This study reports the results from a field trial looking at the effect of targeted selective anthelmintic treatment on dairy heifer weight at mating. Animals receiving fewer doses of anthelmintic had lower weights at mating. However, differences were small and there was no evidence for differences in worm burden or excretion of worm eggs. This suggests there are opportunities to reduce anthelmintic use and delay resistance but techniques to identify which animals to treat need to be perfected.

2.30pm: Drenching youngstock - testing for efficacy, egg reappearance periods, adequate refugia | Abi Chase

3pm: Hoof conditioning and exercise prior to calving in R2s | Winston Mason
The hypothesis of this study was that if we could get the heifers to be ‘match-fit’ to withstand the pressures and stresses during and after calving, that they would be less likely to become lame post-calving. Intervention heifers were exposed to a combination of exercise and standing for one hour on concrete a day for five days for five weeks just prior to calving; control heifers were managed as per normal farm practice. The primary outcome was time to first case of lameness, with pregnancy outcomes and milk production also assessed.

4pm: Surviving clinical errors in practice | Brett Gartrell

4.30pm: Risk from a VPIS perspective | Steve Cranefield

4.50pm: Farmstrong - support for rural communities | TBC

5.10pm: GoodYarn in Practice – talking the talk and walking the walk | Emma Franklin
GoodYarn is an evidence-based, peer-delivered, mental health literacy programme for workplaces, both rural and urban, that enables people to talk about mental health. Anexa Veterinary Services was the first veterinary practice in New Zealand to attain a licence to deliver GoodYarn workshops to their staff. This presentation outlines the rollout of the GoodYarn programme at Anexa and how it has benefitted both their staff and clients.

Friday 19 November

8am: Dry cow AMR decision making (farmer and vet beliefs on AMR/DCT) | Tim Cameron
Two separate surveys were produced for dairy farmers and vets to investigate decision making for dry cow therapy (DCT) and attitudes and beliefs around anti-microbial resistance (AMR). Interesting insights were gained including analysing the gap between vet recommendation and farmer action around DCT, what the main barriers were to change in this area and how AMR influenced this decision making.

8.20am: Changing MICs and implications for prescribing antibiotics | Scott McDougall

8.40am: Managing staph aureus in NZ dairy herds | Scott McDougall

9am: Retention of teat sealants and efficacy in reducing clinical and subclinical mastitis | Andrew Bates
This study compares two formulations of teat seal for retention and clinical and subclinical mastitis over the dry period and early lactation. No differences were observed in the incidence of clinical or subclinical mastitis, but slightly more residual material was recovered from quarters infused with one formulation compared to the other. However, this may represent an increase in debris, rather than a more effective barrier.

9.20am: Changing use of DCT - summarise data of DCT use over last 5 yrs | Jane Lacy-Hulbert

9.40am: Three year AMU reduction strategy | Mark Bryan

10.30am: Plenary | Sam Hazledine

11.30am: Flexible milking for healthier people and cows | Paul Edwards
Choice of milking frequency and milking interval affect the structure of the working day on dairy farms. There is considerable farmer interest in improving workplace attractiveness to attract and retain staff in a competitive labour market. This presentation will outline the latest research in the field, providing an appreciation of the range of flexibility on offer and exploring what trade-offs exist. 

11.50am: Max T - saving time to benefit people and cows | Paul Edwards
Data from the 2020/21 dairy season indicates the average farm could save 1 hour per day at milking. There are many options to improve milking efficiency, however, one of the most effective is applying a maximum milking time (MaxT). As interest in and adoption of the strategy has grown in recent years with an increase in farmer-to-farmer learning. This presentation will outline the research behind the concept and demonstrate how it is possible to save time without compromising milk production or udder health.

12.10pm: Adopting Milking efficiency - the vets role | Steve Cranefield

1.30pm: Effect of weather and crop paddock conditions on cow behaviour | Dawn Dalley
Conditions in winter crop paddocks may not always provide opportunities for animals to access comfortable lying surfaces. This observational study aimed to determine the effects of weather and soil conditions on lying behaviour of dairy cattle grazing kale or fodder beet. Lying time averaged 9.6 ± 3.1 h/d but decreased with deteriorating paddock conditions. Prior rainfall and surface water pooling appear to be useful measures to determine if lying time, and thus animal welfare, are compromised.

1.50pm: Heat stress - how to keep cows cool in summer | Karin Shutz
In my presentation I will talk about how warm weather in summer affects the welfare and production of dairy cows and ways to reduce heat load of animals. I will discuss how and when cows respond to warm weather and when cooling is needed. I will also discuss the efficiency of different cooling strategies and what cows themselves prefer.

2.10pm: Practical application of 5 domains | Richard Wild
New Zealand was the first country in the world to recognise animal sentience in its animal welfare legislation – the Animal Welfare Act Amendment Bill 2015. Animal welfare science is rapidly evolving and we no longer limit our assessment of animal welfare to the 5 Freedoms. The 5 Domains model is now increasingly used to assess the welfare status of a wide range of species in quite different circumstances. The model facilitates a structured, systematic evaluation of animals negative and positive experiences the overall balance of which underlies their welfare status or quality of life. MPI and NAWAC are currently reviewing the Codes of Welfare and there is an expectation that sentience and the 5 Domains Model will be to the forefront as these Codes are reviewed. What are the practical implications for livestock veterinarians in their everyday veterinary work as welfare standards evolve?

2.30pm: Time budget study update - how cows spend day | Katie Saunders
As part of the Dairy Tomorrow world leading animal care commitment two studies were completed looking at the time budget of dairy cows in New Zealand. The studies measured activity levels, ruminating, grazing and lying times, walking distance, time out of the paddock, along with personality trait tests to see how these factors impact how a cow spends her day and whether “time budget” could be a useful welfare metric.

2.50pm: Pillars animal model update - final lactation results and recent oestrus behaviour | Chris Burke
The “Pillars High vs Low Fertility Breeding Value” herd is now gone, but the legacy lives on. This presentation will summarise the key findings. In addition, we will explore how divergence in genetic merit for fertility affects oestrus expression. 

3.10pm: Goat disbudding (analysis of different methods and pain levels) | Winston Mason
Disbudding is a necessary evil currently in the milking goat industry that results in a significant pain response during and after the disbudding process. This study investigates four methods of mitigating pain; a ring-block using local anaesthetic, a novel local anaethetic injector, a vapocoolant agent, and injectable general anaesthesia. Pain and stress responses were measured by movement and vocalisation during anaesthetic administration and disbudding, behavioural responses up to 24 hours post-disbudding, and serum cortisol concentrations.

4pm: The benefits of heifer synchrony | Richard Nortje

4.20pm: Fertility traits during the peripubertal period of Holstein-Friesian heifers | Chris Burke
Age at puberty differences found in our High vs Low Fertility herd were scaled up to 5,000 Holstein-Friesian heifers to enable a robust genetic evaluation. A moderate heritability estimate of 20 to 30% for age at puberty was observed. The genetic correlation between this ‘earlier-in-life’ predictor trait and reproductive performance of the lactating dairy cow is encouraging. The latest findings from this project aimed at accelerating genetic gain in fertility will be presented.

4.40pm: Effect of prepartum synthetic zeolite supplementation on hypocalcaemia risk and reproductive performance of dairy cows grazing pasture | Katrina Roberts
Hypocalcemia remains a common condition in dairy cows. One management strategy is to feed zeolite pre-calving which adsorbs calcium within the lumen of the gastrointestinal tract, with a resultant rebound in calcium concentrations postpartum. Some preliminary studies have indicated that zeolite feeding may improve reproductive performance. We assessed the impact of feeding zeolite for approximately 3 weeks prior to calving on the subsequent reproductive performance of pasture-fed seasonal calving dairy cattle. Zeolite feeding increased post calving blood calcium concentrations, reduced risk of clinical hypocalcemia (milk fever) but had no effect on reproductive performance.

5pm: Dairy Cattle Veterinarians Branch of the NZVA AGM

Saturday 20 November

8.40am: Does this need AEC approval? A guide for research work in a clinical setting | Nita Harding
The boundary between clinical treatment and research work is not always clear for veterinarians in practice. This presentation will discuss how to determine if the proposed work needs AEC approval and include some of the key considerations for study design, guidance on the steps required for seeking AEC approval, tips for completing AEC application forms, and reporting requirements. Case study examples will be used.

9am: VCNZ update on new CPD requirements | Seton Butler
You’ll hear from Seton Butler, VCNZ Professional Advisor, on the new CPD requirements, how to stay competent and relevant, and how this relates to industry veterinarians.

9.20am: Dairy Vets - the future from a NZVA perspective | Kevin Bryant

9.40am: Phosphorus requirements in cattle | Jim Gibbs

10.30am: Deconstructing subclinical acidosis: some fact, more myth and the larger fiction | Jim Gibbs

10.50am: Novel bulk milk test to monitor zinc supplementation | Ash Keown
Fonterra has worked with VetEnt Research to determine the correlation between bulk milk and serum zinc levels. Thresholds in milk have been established to indicate when herds are under- or overdosing with Zinc as a facial eczema control. Testing will be made available to all Fonterra suppliers this coming facial eczema season, with results sent to farmers and their vet. This presentation explains the test process and result interpretation.

11.10am: An animal-centric dairy industry enabled by digital technology | Jeremy Bryant
Consumer interest in animal welfare is steadily increasing and new technologies are providing new opportunities to quantify, improve and convey animal welfare states. We will present initial research findings from a NZ Bioeconomy in the Digital Age project between AgResearch, DairyNZ, Fonterra and NIWA including a review of existing animal welfare technology and gaps; potential new, animal centric systems; identifying, forecasting, and quantifying the impact of heat stress on dairy cattle; and plans for the application of combined pasture and animal sensor technology to improve animal welfare states and pasture management decision making.

11.30am: Ovary scanning as a tool to assess heat detection and its application in practice | Ryan Luckman
Poor heat detection is a major driver of low reproductive performance on many dairy farms in New Zealand. Diagnosis has typically been based on retrospective data analysis which has issues both with timing and farmer engagement. Utilising data from Allflex Cow Collars this trial validated the use of ovary scanning as a real-time tool to objectively measure the PPV of farmers' heat detection. This was then applied in practice alongside an assessment of current heat detection practices to get buy-in for early season changes. 

12pm: Cow collars - what are the opportunities for vets | Ryan Luckman
Cow monitoring technology is growing exponentially in herds across the country, however farmers are often frustrated at the limited knowledge and engagement of vets with the technology. How do vets get started, and what can we look at?? This session will discuss consultancy packages our clinic has developed around transition management, health, mating, rumination, and reproductive analysis. 

1.30pm: Adapting vet practice for future farming | Samantha Tennent
There is increasing pressure on the dairy sector to respond to changing market demand. Good quality data and a broader understanding are becoming critical, and veterinarians have increasing opportunities to leverage their knowledge and data to add value for clients. This presentation looks at the opportunities to combine processor-driven animal welfare requirements using national data from a nation-wide programme to develop an effective, future-proofed partnership model with dairy clients.

1.50pm: Attitudes to pain in sheep and cattle (of farmers and technicians) | Emma Cuttance

2.10pm: From animal health to wellbeing - where vets fit in?| Katie Saunders
With increasing expectations and requirements for farmers to evidence how cows are cared for on-farm, this presentation will draw on findings and learnings from work within the Dairy Tomorrow world leading animal care commitment to show the critical role vets have in supporting farmers in the shift from animal health to animal wellbeing.

2.30pm: Animal welfare assurance - a processors perspective | Ash Keown
Customers and consumers are increasingly demanding evidence that animals used for food production are treated in a way that aligns with their values. This is starting to have a material impact on the requirements food manufacturers place on their suppliers, including the New Zealand primary sector. Evidencing good welfare will require the collection of on-farm data, and while vets are well positioned to take advantage of these trends, emerging technologies will fundamentally change existing veterinary practice models.

3pm: Panel discussion on practical implementation of animal wellbeing | Samantha Tennent, Emma Cuttance & Katie Saunders