Synergy Farm Health’s team of Veterinary Technicians provide a wide range of professional livestock services to farms across the South West. We have particular expertise in working with dairy farmers to assist in all aspects of cattle lameness control. Our team has a huge depth of agricultural experience, which is combined with all the latest equipment and training, to provide an outstanding service on farm
Extensive cattle foot trimming experience
Vet Techs trained to industry leading standards
Wide range of livestock services
Synergy Farm Health’s team of 15 dedicated Vet Techs deliver a quality and highly professional service to livestock farmers across the South West. Many of these farmers use Synergy Farm Health for their veterinary work, but a significant number are in fact clients of other veterinary practices. This demonstrates the high regard in which our vet techs are held, both by the local farming community and by the veterinary profession. Our vet techs always work closely with the farm’s veterinary surgeon – providing a unique team approach – keeping the vet abreast of the situation on farm, and working together to reduces lameness levels and resolve challenging cases
We know that the earlier a lame cow is attended to, the better the recovery will be. We also know that time or skills may be serious limiting factors on some farms. Our Vet Techs can attend to your lame cow using your handling facilities, usually on the same day as you spot her (for a reduced fee due to no ‘set up’ time) or they can bring along their handling facilities if required.
Our Vet Techs are experienced branders delivering excellent results. We can build up a ‘round’ to maximise the use of our dry ice and so reduce the cost to you. Our Vet Techs cater for both big numbers in one session, and smaller numbers for a few individuals that may need numbers altering or have been purchased unbranded.
Synergy Farm Health’s Vet Techs are highly skilled and experienced in disbudding. Young calves are usually disbudded in batches and our Vet Techs typically use sedation (“knock down” disbudding), in conjunction with local anaesthesia, to minimise discomfort for young calves and remove the need for physical restraint. Stress for the calves is virtually non existent using this technique. Pain relief post disbudding is administered to speed up recovery. Synergy’s Vet Techs are also equipped with their own disbudding crates which can be used for calves that are too large for “knock down” disbudding.
Our Vet Techs are well practised in the efficient collection of blood samples from cattle. Under direction of one our Vets, our Vet Techs can provide a cost effective method to blood sample a whole herd, for example as part of BVD eradication.
Synergy Farm Health’s Vet Techs are fully trained in medicine storage and administration, and offer a professional vaccination service to help manage and administer vaccines in a cost effective and timely manner. This might include the ongoing administration of pneumonia vaccines to youngstock, but also includes herd boosters for infectious diseases whilst other management tasks are being performed, for example whilst TB testing.
Monitoring of growth rates in cattle is best achieved by regular weighing of animals over time. Synergy Farm Health have their own digital weigh plate which can be placed in many on farm handling systems/crushes as well as our mobile crush. The weigh plate is also capable of recording a cow’s ID and reporting via email directly to the farmer.
Synergy’s mobile cattle handling system can be set up in the field or yard and makes vaccinating, bolusing and TB testing an easy task. The system is a race with locking yoke, head scoop and squeeze crush with a second compartment for a waiting cow. Additional gates allow collecting areas to be formed and can be repositioned to create funnels for ease of loading the race. The portability and adaptability of the cattle handling equipment helps to save time and effort, and is simple to install and maintain. It takes around 20 minutes to set up and another 20 minutes to pack away ready to be moved to the next location.
Synergy Farm Health offer a very popular Beef and Heifer Synchronisation and AI Service. For a fixed cost per animal the service includes an initial vet visit to check your animals and administer the hormones required to set the synchronisation programme up. You will then receive a scheduled visit from one of our Vet Techs that are trained and experienced in artificial insemination (AI) to serve the animal on the set date. We then follow this up with a pregnancy scan. All the farmer has to do is choose and order the semen you wish to use (from any of the semen companies on the market). For those that don’t have an AI flask it can be sent straight to Synergy and we will store it for you free of charge for up to a month.
The advantages of this service are numerous. It allows you to take control of when your cattle will calve, enabling you to tailor your calving patterns to suit your individual set up. There are none of the stresses of buying, feeding and housing stock bulls, along with no risk of bringing disease on to your farm from purchasing a bull. You also have the ability to dramatically improve your herd genetics by using some of the top bulls available.
Synergy Farm Health’s Vet Techs offer a cost effective cattle pregnancy scanning service. The service is specifically targeted at the farmer who requires a simple PD positive or negative answer, and where no hormonal intervention is required. This can help farms achieve high levels of reproductive efficiency at a cost effective price by getting a group of heifers or suckler cows PD-ed. The service is charged on either a per cow basis or time basis, therefore can be bespoke to the client’s needs and facilities.
Synergy Farm Health provide a sheep shearing service to small holders and others with just a few animals who can find it difficult to get their animals shorn at the right time of year. At the same time we can ensure that the animals feet are in good shape and can vaccinate animals if required.
Nim graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2018 and spent three years working in predominantly dairy practice on the North Devon/Cornwall border. She has recently relocated to the Salisbury area to join Synergy’s expanding East team, and also to be closer to family in Berkshire. Her main clinical interest is fertility work and working to improve herd reproductive performance. She also enjoys surgical cases. Nim is currently working towards the CertAVP in Cattle Health.
Imogen graduated in 2019, and then completed the well established RVC/Synergy Farm Health internship. Imogen has a particular interest in sheep medicine, smallholder education and youngstock.
Louise graduated in 2007 and has spent her whole career working in farm animal practice in Dorset and Wiltshire. Louise has a particular interest in flock health and suckler herd production. Louise enjoys delivering farmer training as well as facilitating discussion group meetings, particularly for the suckler herds of Salisbury plain.
Graeme graduated in 1994 and worked in his native Australia before moving to the UK as a farm animal vet, first in Oxfordshire and now at Synergy Farm Health. Graeme is a qualified AHDB mastitis control plan deliverer and completed his Diploma in Bovine Reproduction in 2020. Graeme has varied clinical interests relating to dairy herd health and productivity, as well as considerable experience in camelid medicine. Graeme is the North Regional Lead vet and a shareholder in the practice.
Rachel graduated in 1993 and obtained her Certificate in Cattle Health and Production in 1998. Rachel joined Southfield Veterinary Centre in 1995 which became Synergy Farm Health in 2009. Rachel focuses on performing routine fertility visits for dairy clients, looking after all aspects of herd health. Rachel is also one of Synergy’s lead mastitis vets, enjoying carrying out mastitis investigations into challenging situations on farm. She is a trained AHDB Mastitis Control Plan deliverer. Rachel became a shareholder in the practice in 2018.
Alastair qualified in 1993 and has worked in farm animal practice in the south west throughout his career. Alastair gained the RCVS Diploma in Cattle Health and Production in 2003 and became an RCVS specialist in 2011. He is a member of the Nottingham University Dairy Herd Health Group and in 2015 was voted Farmers Weekly Farm Advisor of the Year. Alastair’s areas of particular interest include nutrition, mastitis, camelid medicine and organic dairy production. Alastair performs a large amount of consultancy work throughout the veterinary and food production sectors, including expert witness legal work. Alastair is the veterinary consultant to one of the UK’s largest supermarket milk pools.
Alastair is heavily involved in the research and development of the novel Enferplex bTB test through Surefarm Ltd.
Charlotte qualified in 2012 in her native Belgium and has spent most of her career working in various farm animal practices across the UK. Charlotte joined Synergy Farm Health in 2020. She is especially interested in dairy cow medicine, including youngstock health and productivity. Charlotte is also a CowSignals Master trainer.
Tom graduated in 2019 and joined Synergy full time after completing the well established RVC/Synergy Farm Health internship. Tom is interested in all aspects of farm animal practice, in particular dairy herd preventative medicine, and also enjoys surgical cases.
Ed qualified in 2006 and has spent his whole career working in farm animal practice at Synergy Farm Health, and prior to that at Kingfisher Veterinary Practice. Ed is interested in all aspects of bovine health, in particular infectious disease control and robotic dairy units, and provides veterinary care to some of the highest performing robotic dairy herds in the UK. Ed runs Synergy’s discussion group for dairy farmers on the Blackdown Hills and is also a qualified AHDB mastitis control plan deliverer. Ed became a shareholder in the practice in 2013. In addition to his clinical work Ed has various other senior roles at Synergy, including spending a number of years as west regional lead, whilst now having responsibilities in finance and leading the marketing of the practice.
Tom graduated in 2007 and has spent the majority of his career working in farm animal practice in Dorset. Tom is particularly interested in youngstock health and improving dairy heifer performance, and as the leader of our Youngstock team advises farmers on building design, preventive healthcare and nutrition across the practice. Tom became a shareholder in the practice in 2018.
Esme qualified in 2009 and has worked in farm animal practice throughout her career, both in the UK and in New Zealand. Esme has particular interests in bovine fertility and completed the prestigious Diploma in Bovine Reproduction in 2020. She is also interested in dairy youngstock and calf rearing and delivers consultancy in this area to a number of clients. Esme became a shareholder in the practice in 2019.
Alasdair qualified in 2008 and has worked in farm animal veterinary practices within the UK, and in New Zealand. He recently completed a diploma in International Animal Health, where he focused on disease costing and modeling (particularly bovine TB) and a ‘One Health’ approach to antimicrobial resistance. Alasdair is particularly motivated by striving to improve efficiency in the medium sized family dairy enterprises of the practice. Alasdair became a shareholder in the practice in 2019.
Gareth qualified in 2011 and is interested in a wide range of farm animal veterinary work particularly cattle lameness, fertility and surgery, and likes the practical approach to health planning on farm. Gareth is a key member of the Cattle Lameness Academy team and continues to develop a specialism in this area. Gareth is the West region lead vet and became a shareholder in the practice in 2019.
Clare qualified in 2001 and has had a varied career working in farm animal practice, as a consultant for ADAS and as a technical vet for Pfizer Animal Health. Clare is particularly interested in beef and small ruminants and enjoys teaching the beef module of the RVC student rotation.
Keith graduated in 1990 and joined Synergy Farm Health in 2020, having worked in the Salisbury area for over 25 years running the farm animal division of Endell Veterinary Group. Keith has varied clinical interests which include both dairy and suckler herd management, fertility, lameness and infectious disease control in cattle. Keith is a Diplomate of the European College of Bovine Health Management and a Director of CHeCS (Cattle Health Certification Standards) who oversee all licensed cattle health schemes in the UK.
Tom qualified in 2011 and has spent his whole career working in farm animal practice in Somerset. He is the son of one of Synergy’s clients near Taunton and consequently has a deep understanding of both dairy farming and the wider agricultural industry. Tom is interested in all areas of livestock productivity and herd health.
Mike qualified from Bristol in 1985 and has been in farm animal practice in the south west ever since. Mike was a partner at Delaware Veterinary Group in Castle Cary for 16 years before joining Synergy Farm Health in 2020. Mike is an honorary lecturer at Liverpool University and sits on the advisory board at Surrey University Vet School. He holds the prestigious Diploma in Bovine Reproduction from Liverpool University and has extensive experience of dairy herd health. He also has a particular enthusiasm for bovine surgery and developing the next generation of cattle vets.
Martijn qualified in 2008. His entire career has been focused on farm animals, working in practices in his native Netherlands before moving to the UK in 2011. Martijn joined Synergy in 2020. Martijn is experienced in all aspect of cattle and camelid veterinary work, including bull fertility examinations and delivering AI training for farmers. He is also a CowSignals Master trainer.
Pete qualified in 2013 and has been based in Dorset with Synergy Farm Health ever since. Pete has particular enthusiasm for on-farm discussions about herd health and preventative medicine, as well as enjoying emergency “fire brigade” work. Pete also has an interest in small holdings and pigs, both domestic and commercial.
Tom graduated in 2017 and joined Synergy full time after completing the RVC/Synergy Farm Health internship. His particular interests include youngstock and preventative health planning, particularly in suckler herds. Tom is the editor of our beef newsletter.
Pete has worked in farm animal practice in the south west since 2012, providing services to a large range of clients across the Somerset region during that time. Pete’s interests lie in optimising animal health and productivity in dairy herds through data driven decision making and training. His passion for education includes that of clients and students alike.
He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and is now studying for his Post Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Education and certificate in advanced veterinary practice. Pete leads a clinical teaching rotation at Synergy for Royal Veterinary College students and is a shareholder of the business.
Charlotte graduated in 2015 and spent six months working as a dairy vet in New Zealand, enjoying the challenges of seasonal calving work. Charlotte joined Synergy in 2016. Charlotte’s particular interests include a growing specialism in sheep work, providing high level health planning to a growing number of sheep flocks, as well as routine fertility work and preventative medicine in dairy herds.
Jon Reader qualified in 1997 and has been a farm animal vet in Somerset ever since. In 2010 Jon gained the RCVS Diploma in Cattle Health and Production and in 2013 was runner up as Farmers Weekly Farm Advisor of the Year. Jon is a member of the Nottingham Dairy Herd Health Group as well as being a member of the UK Dairy Cattle Mobility Steering Group. Jon was awarded the prestigious RCVS Fellowship in 2020 for his meritorious contributions to clinical practice. Jon has a particular interest in foot trimming, working with para professionals and using technology to assist in the recording and analysis of mobility and lameness records.
Jon is our Managing Director, and part of the senior management team. He has specific responsibility for the financial management of the business.
After a varied career in veterinary nursing, teaching, examining and practice management Jo joined Synergy Farm Health in 2012 when the farm animal service of Langport Veterinary Centre also transferred. Jo’s extensive experience of all sectors of veterinary practice, coupled with her farming background enables her to head our operational logistics working with our teams of clinicians and support staff to organise and implement resources, facilities, and protocols. Working with the Operations Manager Jo is responsible for staff employment and HR management as well as overseeing our teams of staff both in and out of the practice. Working with the Operational team Jo implements plans, projects and new initiatives as well as being responsible for elements of practice representation and client liaison. Jo describes her role as ‘herding cats’ and is proud to be the first female Director of Synergy Farm Health.
Andrew is Senior Director of Synergy Farm Health having been Managing Director since inception in 2009 until November 2021.
His responsibilities include exploring opportunities for Business Development, working closely with the Marketing team, being involved in Medicines procurement and generally advising Senior Management.
He is very motivated by people development and education and has been heavily involved with the development of our Internship programme and the Farm Animal Teaching rotation for final year veterinary students with the Royal Veterinary College, University of London.
Andrew is POV (Principal Official Veterinarian) of Farmcare West Ltd; on the medicines procurement Team for XLVets UK Ltd; Non-Executive Director for VDS (Veterinary Defence Society) and a Governor at Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester.
Andrew was awarded the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (FRCVS) in 2020 for meritorious contributions to the Veterinary Profession.
Clinically he is interested in proactive health planning programmes and calf health. He has an active interest in Responsible Use of Medicines and the steps we can take in veterinary practice in minimising any impact on AMR (anti-microbial resistance).
He received the UK Food & Farming Industry Animal Health Adviser of the year award in 2019.
In his spare time, he is a keen follower of both rugby union and football – being a passionate Welshman avidly following the national rugby team but also a lifelong supporter, for his sins, of Swansea City AFC! He is a member of a local mixed voice Choir, enjoys walking the Dorset coast and countryside with his family and their dog.
Claire qualified in 2005, and has worked in Dorset for the majority of her career. Her main clinical focus is cattle medicine, and she has particular interests in fertility and infectious disease control.
Nicky qualified in 2012 and has spent her entire career working in farm animal practice, both in the UK and New Zealand. In 2018 she spent a year completing further study in sheep health and production at Nottingham University. Nicky enjoys improving flock health and productivity and joined Synergy in 2021 to further enhance our sheep team.
Andre graduated in 2005 in his native Germany, before joining Synergy Farm Health in 2012. Andre is especially interested in bovine surgery and set up our Embryo Collection and Transfer service for cattle and alpacas. In 2020 Andre completed the well regarded Cow Signals training. Andre delivers our four day AI course for farmers and herdsmen, as well as teaching final year students from the Royal Veterinary College.
Bella graduated in 2010 and has spent the majority of her career working in Dorset, joining Synergy Farm Health in 2019. Bella is experienced in all farm animal clinical procedures and has a particular interest in youngstock.
Emily graduated in 2012 and has worked at Synergy Farm Health throughout her career. Whilst enthusiastic about all aspects of farm animal practice, Emily has a special interest is sheep and goat production, with particular emphasis on flock health planning, reducing production losses and infectious disease control. Emily gained the European Diploma in Small Ruminant Health Management in 2018 and is an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Sheep Health and Production. Emily is the Regional Vet Lead for our Central Area and a shareholder in the practice.
Sam graduated in 2015 and has worked in several farm animal practices in the south west before joining Synergy Farm Health. Sam has a particular interest in dairy cow nutrition and has been closely involved in the development of our nutritional advice service.
Tom graduated in 2002 and has spent his whole career in farm animal practice, including several years working in New Zealand. Tom has a particular interest in dairy herd health and productivity, in both intensive high yielding herds as well as grass based block calving units. Tom is also one of our in house mastitis specialists. As an AHDB mastitis plan deliverer Tom performs mastitis investigations into challenging situations on farm, specialising in dynamic testing of milking parlours. Tom became a shareholder in the practice in 2013 and spent a number of years as East regional lead vet, before becoming Clinical Director in 2019.
Josie graduated in 2015 and joined Synergy Farm Health in 2019. Josie has a particular interest in dairy herd health and productivity and especially youngstock.
Ben qualified in 2014. Ben’s primary interests lie in beef cattle, both suckler herds but also calf rearers and finishers, and he spends a considerable amount of his time delivering consultancy work to the UK’s largest beef integration chain. Ben also delivers routine work to a number of dairy herds where he enjoys improving herd performance and productivity. Ben is actively engaged with the teaching of university students at Synergy and has also been part of teaching projects abroad in aid of charity. Ben became a shareholder in the practice in 2020.