Introduction to the challenge addressed
Estonia is a small country with a developing beef cattle sector. There is no well developed beef cattle advisory system, nor is there any teaching in universities and vocational schools. Thus, many practices evolve through action and cooperation between the most active farmers and operators. A large proportion of the young beef cattle born in Estonia (about 50%) are exported, and most of them to third countries such as Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, but also to European countries such as Slovakia, Romania, Croatia and Poland. The transport of young animals is carried out through collection centres, with 2 centres specifically dedicated to beef cattle. Both centres were interviewed to identify good practices. Both centres acknowledge that there is a problem with vaccination of animals and with sickness immediately on arrival at the collection centre. As there are still companies dealing with young animals who do not have approved collection centres but who pick up the animals directly for export, it is difficult to motivate farmers to carry out the extra work (weaning and vaccination) before sale, as the collection centres are also unable to pay above market price for the animals. In the case of Estonia, another influencing factor is that since Estonia itself does not have a fattening farm system, i.e. there is no domestic buying up and fattening of young animals - the feedback is not so direct on how many young animals are getting sick in collection centres or during transport. However, both collection centres are keen to achieve a spread of results from individual farms that vaccinate animals with the first dose on farm for extra compensation, to improve animal welfare and reduce veterinary costs.
Description of Innovation
Two to three weeks before the planned sale of the cattle to the Kaunissaare collection centre, Prigo Angus farm weans its batch of cattle and the first dose of RESPI 4 as well as BioBos IBR vaccine is administered on the same day. An agreement has been made with the collection centre that this activity (vaccines + veterinary service) will be compensated by the collection centre. As a result, almost 100% of the animals will be in good health at the collection centre and during the long transport. As soon as the animals arrive at the collection centre they will be weighed and vaccinated with the 2nd dose. In total, the quarantine period for animals in, for example, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is 30 days, so animals that are vaccinated first on the farm do not need to be held at the collection centre.
Impact on farm performanceAnimals from the Prigo Angus farm already arrive at the Kaunissaari collection centre with significantly more protection than other animals receiving their first dose of vaccine at the collection centre. It is therefore certain that customers who buy its animals, either as breeding stock or for fattening, are less likely to spend money on treating them. The farm's reputation is good and buyers are looking for such sure-fire ways of getting good animals.
Prigo Angus owner Jane with her young breeding bull
Loading breeding animals