Articles on calf pneumonia and hoof trimming came out top in the BGAJ’s NOAH award for writing and broadcasting on animal health and welfare topics.
First prize went to Rachel Queenborough, who received her award from newly-elected NOAH chairman, Cat Sayer.
Her article on strategies to prevent pneumonia in calves, published in the XLVets Livestock Matters newsletter, was recognised as a well-researched piece of technical writing.
The panel of three judges also felt that it offered useful, practical advice on the responsible use of medicines, while highlighting the practical challenges that farmers face when rearing calves.
The piece scored particularly highly for its content, impact and value to the farming audience.
Rachel said: “My aim was to write an article that every calf rearer would find useful in some way. Preventing pneumonia in calves is not always straightforward, so there was plenty of material to get stuck into.
“I hoped it would be of benefit to farmers and now – several months down the line – it’s really great to find that I’m getting a benefit from it too. I’m thrilled to have won!
She adds: “I’d like to thank Joanne Sharpe at XLVets who lets me have a pretty free rein on the articles I write for the newsletter, and the vets Vikki Wyse and Colin Lindsay and their two farmer clients who gave up their time to talk to me.”
Runner-up was Rachael Porter, editor of Cow Management magazine, for her article on the ‘dos and don’ts’ of hoof trimming, highlighting that many people ‘over trim’, which can exacerbate lameness problems.
She said: “I’m delighted the article has been recognised. At Cow Management we always like to be first with new ideas and ways of thinking. Lameness is a very serious issue but quite a common problem – so I was keen for the article to offer real, practical advice that would highlight some of the issues.”
The judges scored Rachael highly on accuracy, clarity and the value of her article to the farming audience.
The awards, which were presented at the NOAH annual dinner in London, are presented to a writer or broadcaster Member of the Guild who submits a news story, or feature, which best highlights critical aspects of animal health, welfare and management, or examines topical and relevant issues on any aspect of farm animal care. The winner receives a cheque for £750, and the runner up a cheque for £250.
NOAH Technical Executive, Donal Murphy, who sat on the panel of judges for the award, said: “All of the entries this year were of an excellent standard, which made the judges’ lives quite difficult.
“This award continues to show the talent and professionalism from agricultural journalists who provide valuable information for farmers involved in the care of Britain’s farm animals,” he added. “Articles like these make a significant contribution to animal health and welfare, and NOAH is proud to support it.”