Events & Newsletters

Mastering Medicines to comply with red tractor standards flyer.pdfDownload

How to comply with the new Red Tractor Assurance Standards

Some important changes to Red Tractor Assurance standards came into effect from 1 June 2018.

Penbode Farm Vets are running a course called 'Mastering Medicines to Comply with New Red Tractor Guidelines' to help you comply with the new standards. Click here to find out more.

Penbode Farm Vets are keen to help you comply with these new regulations with minimal disruption to your business, whilst maintaining animal health and welfare. Please visit to view the four new standards relating to Responsible Use of Antibiotics on Red Tractor Farms. In brief they are:

Standard 1: Medicine records must provide an annual collation of total antibiotic used for the unit
Penbode can provide you with a collation of what you have purchased from the practice over the last 12 months.

Standard 2: An annual review of antibiotics used must be undertaken by the vet
We will review your antibiotic usage at your herd health review. We then produce a spreadsheet and graphs which flags up high use of CIAs or at risk drugs.

Standard 3: Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics must only be used as a last resort under veterinary direction
Following is a list of the Critically Important Antibiotics which are only to be used as a last resort. 

Cobactan €œ tubes and injection
Cephaguard Dry Cow
Cefimam Milking Cow and Dry Cow tubes
Baytril Max
Advocin 180

Their use must be supported by sensitivity testing which proves that no other antibiotics will work. Whilst this is extremely unlikely to be the case, we can conduct the testing for you. All Penbode Farm Vets are able to recommend alternative treatment options for you.

Standard 4: It is recommended that at least one member of staff responsible for administering medicines has undertaken training and holds a certificate of competence.
Training courses include but are not limited to MilkSure and veterinary-run training courses. 

Penbode has run MilkSure courses for our dairy farmers in the past and will continue to do so. 

Even if you have attended a MilkSure course we would recommend you book one of our mastering medicines courses as the subject matter will be very different. 


Who's Who in Ewe Abortion? - FREE Supper Talk

Did you see a small increase in abortions in 2018?  This could be a warning sign!

Abortion storms often follow a year when there have been only a small number ewes that slip lamb.  

Join the Penbode Farm Vets Sheep team Sarah Phillpot, Kate Forgan, Steph Prior and Matt Evans for a FREE Supper Talk at Holsworthy Golf Club from 6:30pm.

Topics to be covered include:
  • Maximising your next season's scanning percentage
  • Increasing lamb viability and birth weight
  • How to use vaccines to improve your flock's productivity

Call 01409 253418 to book your place


The June Farm Newsletter is out now!

  • How to comply with the new Red Tractor Standards
  • Worm control in young stock
  • Meet the Smales of South Hellescott Farm
  • Learn about Stratton Farm Vet Jose
  • Our new feature - VetTech Tales
  • Plus those all important "not-to-be-missed" events, courses and deals.

Click here to download your copy


The May Farm Newsletter is out now!

Click here to download your Penbode Farm Vets May newsletter.

In this month's newsletter:
  • Stratton Farm Vet Lauren Medland focuses on heifer synchronisation
  • Farm Director Jonathan Chapman reveals all about his typical day
  • The Friend family of Wadland Barton tell us about their farm near Ashbury
  • The Sheep team offers a great deal on Reproductive Failure Checks
  • Bradworthy Farm Director Andy Stokes answers your mastitis questions
Plus we have a great competition to win a brand new milking apron and sleeves!

*no purchase necessary

Bull Fertility Testing

Maximizing efficiency within farming systems is always vital. Suckler herds are no exception: fertility management is one of the biggest drivers of sustainability. Improving efficiency in suckler fertility involves, at its very backbone, two key objectives: maintaining a strict 365-day calving interval and striving for conception rates of 60%.

The bull - paramount in the planning, management and success of fertility on farm - is often overlooked. Studies show more than a fifth of UK bulls are subfertile. Whilst completely infertile bulls are rare, these subfertile bulls can be catastrophic to the coming calving period.

Bulls should be able to impregnate 70% of cows in the first three weeks of breeding, as we are aiming for 65% of cows to calve within these first three weeks of the calving period. By nine weeks 93% of cows should be pregnant. A subfertile bull would take much longer to achieve such figures, resulting in a protracted calving period and cows left open. It costs between  £450 and  £800 to house and feed a beef cow from breeding to calving, so it is a huge, and bitterly disappointing drain on resources to find barren cows due to a poorly performing bull. By comparison a bull test costs under  £100!

All working bulls should undergo a Bull Breeding Suitability Exam (BBSE) every year by a vet ƒ€šÅ“ not just at buying in or in young, unproven bulls. Bulls should be restrained in a crush in order to carry out this examination.

At Penbode Farm Vets Jonathan Chapman, Andy Stokes, Oli Charlton and Matt Evans are all qualified to carry out BBSEs.

What happens in the test
  • Bulls are thoroughly examined for any issues which may hinder their ability to serve. eg foot problems, teeth malformations - which would drop feed intake - or problems affecting eyesight. If the BBSE is carried out six to eight weeks before breeding, it allows time for any issues, such as lameness, to be treated and corrected.
  • The examination then looks at the reproductive system ƒ€šÅ“ aiming for a scrotal circumference of at least 34cm in any bull over two years old. This is essential if they are to have the serving capacity required to get lots of cows in calf. Scrotal circumference is also directly linked to the fertility of his progeny: his daughters will be more likely to reach puberty earlier if this standard is met.
  • A semen sample is examined to analyse sperm morphology and motility.
  • Finally, the bull is watched during a service to ensure he is up to the job!
  • Mature bulls can cover up to 50 cows each year, so it really does pay to ensure he can perform to his potential every season.
Knowledge is power, and ensuring the bull has a full ƒ€š…€œMOTƒ€š every year gives you the opportunity to counteract any brewing issues, long before you see cows returning.

Duchy College British Cattle Veterinary Association RCVS Farm AHDB Dairy AHDB Beef RUMA Red Tractor