NORTH – James Aitken
It is now three months since the clients of Orchard Vets in Glastonbury moved over to Synergy, and likewise three months since I joined the Synergy team. As a traditional mixed practice Orchard had been finding it increasingly difficult to provide a gold standard service to the vastly different clients and species that mixed practice brings. We therefore took the decision to pass the farm side of our business over to Synergy where I’m eternally grateful to know our farmers and their stock will be very well looked after by the dedicated and experienced veterinary team.
I now spend Tuesdays at Synergy where I cover routine visits and any farm emergencies that might crop up. Tuesdays are fast becoming my favourite day of the week! The remainder of my time is spent as a small animal vet at Orchard, where I’m still a director.
EAST – Louise Silk
This year harvest seems to have dragged its feet a little, but some early September sunshine was certainly welcomed by most across the East region.
This autumn we welcome a new addition to the team, Oli, a vet and dairy farmer himself. We are confident he will settle in quickly, being already familiar with the area, and are thrilled to be expanding our vet numbers in this region to serve an ever-growing client base.
I have seen a number of nasty foot problems in beef cows, and lungworm has caught out a few farmers earlier in the summer this year, due to the unusually autumnal conditions of July and August. Remember a standard WEC test does not look for lungworm – so make sure you request a specific lungworm test if required when submitting samples.
I look forward to the upcoming beef ‘PD season’ – some herds have already produced some good results. Ram MOTs are also on my to do list – if you haven’t already booked one, get a session in with your vet to check over your rams and ensure ewes are in optimal body condition going into tupping.
WEST – Keith Cutler
I was lucky enough to attend a recent meeting involving disparate parties, including prominent farmers, vets, conservationists and a rock star about bovine TB and how to tackle this scourge of modern bovine agriculture. Discussion was wide ranging from whether the skin test and current control strategies are fit for purpose, the significance of hygiene and slurry management on farm, and the threat of undisclosed, endemic infection to whether badgers are the cause of the whole problem.
Here at Synergy we have an obvious interest in the Enferplex bTB serological test and how this might be used to help farmers control and eradicate M bovis infection. As we were arriving at the meeting another experienced vet with a similar interest in another new test said, in jest, ‘I’m not speaking with you, you’re one of my main competitors’. At first this took me back a little but then it got me thinking; actually none of those present was in competition with any of the others – we all want the same thing; to control and then eradicate this disease.
Perhaps the competitors are those who, possibly because of the constraints of statute, are perceived to try to frustrate us in this aim at every turn!
CENTRAL – Peter Siviter
Well done to everyone for soldiering on through a summer with many unexpected challenges – flies and variable forage being very noticeable on our rounds. The Dorset Country Show provided a much needed break for those of us in the Dorchester area! Fantastic to see so many of you at the show, and I’ve got to mention the new secretary James Cox and his team for putting on such a successful weekend. September was also important for me personally as it marked the completion of a little project I’ve been working on for the last year – the publication of a book ‘Pig Keeping: A Practical Guide for Smallholders’ – available from all good book stores! (By which I mean online from Amazon or The Crowood Press) Many of you helped me with this book by providing information or pictures, and I am extremely grateful.