A questionnaire based survey on veterinary herd health and production management services was conducted on 194 specialist dairy veterinarians and 466 dairy farmers. The farmers were randomly selected from the more than 6000 farmer clients of the surveyed veterinarians. This paper reports these survey findings and the findings of an earlier survey conducted among the veterinarians. The survey included questions on the attributes of the service itself, the practitioners delivering the service, reasons for participation and the expected future of herd health and production management services. Reasons farmers participated in herd health and production management programmes included: access to routine screening of their herd, increasing profits, to avoid farm blindness, to receive regular veterinary advice or a remedy existing problems. Advantages of participation named included: good management support, higher profits, structural solutions to problems and being better informed. Differences between farming styles were observed, pointing to the different needs and goals per farming styles. Farmers cited high costs and large time required as major disadvantages. The proportion of farmers citing these reasons was lower than expected by the veterinarians. In the future the preventive health care will be the main reason of farmers to participate. For the aspects of management given less attention by farmers, experts have not taken up these potential markets as expected by the veterinary surgeons. Farmers who are not using the service can potentially be encouraged to engage the services after gaining increased insights into the herd health and management service structure, the planning of activities, the cost-benefit of the service, veterinary surgeons being more co-operative with other farm advisors and veterinarians being more willing to pay attention to quality issues on the dairy farm.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Irish Veterinary Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|