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
There has been an increase in both the number of reported cases of salmonellosis on dairy farms in New Zealand and the emergence of novel serotypes isolated from them. This presentation will provide information on this apparently emerging disease pattern that has prompted MPI to fund research led by Massey University to investigate risk factors involved with cases in the 2020 - 2021 dairy season, and preliminary results from this study.

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: a most unwelcome introduction | 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 
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: The effect of three different preservatives on colostrum | Emma Cuttance
Approximately 2L of first milking colostrum was collected from 10 farms in the Waikato and into 5 sub-samples, randomly allocated to a control, or treated with a yoghurt preservative, potassium sorbate preservative or citric acid preservative. This study investigates the effect of each of the preservatives on aerobic bacteria, coliforms, Lactobacillus sp. Streptococcus thermophillus pH, brix, protein, fat and anhydrous lactose over time.

11.10am: Beyond bobbies: a life worth living for dairy calves | 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: Do calves actually feed from their dams? | Emma Cuttance
An observational study carried out on eight farms in the Waikato (n=4) and Canterbury (n=4) in 2019 and 2020 observed 697 calves being born, standing and feeding. Calves were blood tested before and after the farmer had provided colostrum. This study unravels whether calves actually feed, possible risk factors to this and how successful it is in combination with the farmer management.

12pm: Proactive calf rearing opportunities: engaging the calf rearing team | Mara Elton
A review of approaches that have successfully engaged calf rearers and farm owners in proactive rearing strategies. How to identify opportunities for engaging with calf rearers through education and empowerment and owners through aligning with farm priorities. CalfCare: a success story of the power of client education.

1.30pm: Drenching dairy heifers: the science | Abi Chase
Anthelmintics are non prescription drugs that are often administered to animals with no veterinary advice. We now know that, in order to reduce selection for resistance, that maximizing refugia while optimizing productivity is where we want to be. In order to successfully achieve this balance, knowledge of parasitology, epidemiology, pharmacology and animal nutrition et cetera, are key. Is it time for science to return to drenching?

2pm: Cross-fit for heifers? Transition management and lameness control | 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.

2.30pm: 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.

2.50pm: Targeted selective anthelmintic treatment of dairy heifers: 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.

3.10pm: Does calf age affect bovine viral diarrhoea virus test outcomes? | Scott McDougall
Presence of maternal antibodies may interfere with testing for the presence of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV). We demonstrated that use of ear notch samples tested by antigen ELISA had 100% sensitivity and specificity for detecting persistently infected calves from 2 or more days of age. We conclude that when using this when using ear notch samples and the antigen ELISA that calves of any age may be tested for BVDV.

4pm: Surviving clinical errors in practice | Brett Gartrell

4.30pm: Risks in practice: a VPIS perspective | Steve Cranefield
The veterinary professional insurance society (VPIS) insure 85% of veterinary practices in New Zealand for professional indemnity insurance, public liability and support veterinarians subject to complaint with the veterinary council of New Zealand (VCNZ). As the dairy industry changes we need to ensure veterinary practices take practical steps to minimise the risk in key areas especially pregnancy testing and teatsealant administration.

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: MIC of bovine Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus uberis | Scott McDougall
Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) testing of multiple colonies of S. aureus and S. uberis obtained from bulk tank milk provides a cost-effective monitoring program for emergence of antimicrobial resistance. We have demonstrated that there is regional variation in proportion of isolates with elevated MIC’s, an increased proportion of isolates within elevated MIC amongst herds that use “blanket” antimicrobial dry cow therapy compared with those that use “selective” DCT, and that sales of penicillin to a herd may be associated with increased MIC’s. Some isolates with high MIC’s have been identified and genomic testing is underway to determine the molecular mechanism.

8.40am: Epidemiology and control of Staphylococcus aureus | Scott McDougall
Staphylococcus aureus is present in the majority of dairy herds, with 85% of herds testing positive on bulk tank milk testing for this bacteria. Implementation of the control measures outlined in SmartSAMM are effective and cost-effective in controlling S. aureus in the great majority of herds. However S. aureus may be isolated from the udder skin and legs, the nasal passages, and from the cows’ environment. This suggests that eradication of S. aureus by a milk culture and slaughter approach is unlikely to be successful as infection may be reintroduced in the herd from non-mammary gland sites.

9am: Teat sealant retention and efficacy in reducing mastitis around calving | 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 dry cow antibiotics since 2015 | Jane Lacy-Hulbert
There has been a substantial reduction in the use of antibiotic dry cow treatments (DCT) used on NZ dairy farms, over the past few years as the focus on antimicrobial resistance has encouraged more selective and prudent use of antibiotic products. This presentation will summarise use of dry cow products, as reported by farmers during face-to-face interviews with up to 500 herd owners, conducted by DairyNZ each year. The proportion of herd owners that reported use of DCT across all cows in the herd reduced from 72% in the 2015 dry period, to 47% in the 2019 dry period. At the same time, the proportion of herd owners that reported use of DCT across part of the herd (i.e., selective DCT), rose from 26% of herds in the 2015 dry period to 47% in the 2019 dry period. Use of DCT in 2020, when drying off coincided with the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, will also be reported.

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 veterinarians role | Steve Cranefield
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of synchrony treatment (using GPG + P4) of nulliparous heifers on reproductive outcomes during both their first mating period (2020), and their subsequent mating (2021), as well as the economic benefit, compared to not synchronising. A summary of the first mating period will be presented as well as any available findings from the subsequent mating to date.

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: Sentience and the 5 domains model – relevance to livestock veterinarians | 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: The “high vs low fertility breeding value” herd: final chapter | 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: Mitigating pain responses in goat kids during and post-disbudding | 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: Benefits of heifer synchrony | Laura Young
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of synchrony treatment (using GPG + P4) of nulliparous heifers on reproductive outcomes during both their first mating period (2020), and their subsequent mating (2021), as well as the economic benefit, compared to not synchronising. A summary of the first mating period will be presented as well as any available findings from the subsequent mating to date.

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: Synthetic zeolite reduces milk fever in grazing dairy cows | 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? | 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
Six research questions were developed and utilising Cinta Research Ltd asked to 800 pastoral farmers across New Zealand who were the policy decision-makers for the farm. The questions were designed to have cross-over with the technician and veterinarian questions for comparison. Interviewing took place between 14 February and 22 April 2020. This study presents a small amount of the vast quantity of information collected, with a particular focus on farmer and technician responses.

2.10pm: From animal health to animal 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