Ruminant Health provides training and consultancy for the Obsalim technique in the UK. The company was set up by veterinarian Edward De Beukelaer and pharmacist Tony Pinkus.
Ruminant Health is licensed to provide an educational and consultancy service for Obsalim throughout the UK and Ireland. We are establishing a network of Obsalim users by teaching farmers and training and licensing professional advisors to deliver the method. By this action our purpose is to support and continually improve ruminant farming practices in accordance with the mission of Obsalim: making farming successful and providing excellent welfare for animals and farmers alike.
Our company is also the contact between the UK and other countries where Obsalim is growing in popularity. Through these contacts, we keep users in the UK up to date with the latest knowledge and developments relating to Obsalim, and any adjoining feeding assessment tools.
Example Obsalim cards for goats
Obsalim is a unique method of assessment and ration adjustments, based on observing your cows, goats and/or sheep. It helps you better read your animals, to understand how they are digesting the ration in real time. It uncovers the subtle issues that are generating problems, and reveals opportunities to reduce input costs and turn losses into profits.
Obsalim helps you answer questions such as:
You’re already looking at your animals to see how they are doing. Obsalim will make your observations more precise and actionable:
Example Obsalim cards for cows
scores to add up
Obsalim comes in the form of a set of cards. Each card relates to an observable sign on or around the animals, such as behaviour, condition, dung and other symptoms. The first step of the technique is to observe your ruminants for such signs, and select the cards which match your observations.
Next, you add up the values displayed on the cards you selected. This reveals what is happening in your animals’ rumen and diagnoses any imbalance or inefficiency in the rumen. The cards will not only tell you if there is room for improvement, but precisely which areas can be improved. Equipped with this knowledge, you can adjust your ruminants’ feed and routines, to improve welfare and productivity.
The cards will also tell you how long it takes for the various Obsalim signs to appear or disappear. So you can monitor how your animals are responding to the changes you make in real time. This gives you the confidence to make decisions about the ration, without risk-taking.
The relevance of each sign to the rumen function of cows, sheep and goats has been determined and verified in practice for more than two decades.
As you get used to the Obsalim technique, it will take you very little time to monitor the efficiency of rumination in your herd on a regular basis. You will understand how to increase the productivity of the rumen, while reducing food wastage and any related input costs. And you will be able to spot and address early signs of disruption, avoiding time and money spent on dealing with a variety of health issues.
In time, your animals will prove to be the best guide to running your farm efficiently.
Using the Obsalim technique and tools, you might observe that your cows are wasting energy. And you recognise that the root cause is a shortage of structural fibre in their feed. You can then address this issue by adjusting the ration to increase productivity.
In another example, you might observe that your sheep are overeating and wasting a proportion of the ration due to an abnormal eating pattern. By discovering this fact, you can take appropriate action to reduce your losses. Without conducting the Obsalim observation, it is unlikely that the abnormal eating pattern would have been noticed.Visit the Obsalim website
Ruminant Health offers two types of Obsalim courses in the UK:
The course takes a total of 6 days. We deliver the first part of the course over 3 individual days, spaced 2 to 3 weeks apart. It includes:
There will then be 3 further training days on farm, which we will deliver over a period of 1 to 3 months after the initial course.
To minimise your costs and produce a more meaningful experience, we prefer to travel to you. This way, you will not incur additional travel and accommodation costs, nor will you need to employ relief staff for more than a few hours on study days (if at all). You will also benefit from learning in a local Obsalim support group.
If you are interested in attending a course in your area, please contact either Edward or Tony (07786213636 or 07774240630, or firstname.lastname@example.org). Because Obsalim is best learnt in small local groups, we require a minimum number of 6 local farmers to attend the course. Obsalim works well with all ruminants, so attendees can include a mix of beef, dairy, sheep and goat farmers.
The 6-day course starts from £600 per participant. The course fee includes the essential practice tools you require to start using Obsalim immediately.
This fee is based on courses organized in the South of England, South Wales and the Midlands. Additional travel expenses may apply for courses taking place further away.
Participants need to form a local group for the purpose of teaching. At least one participant should facilitate the local meetings for the 6 course days. Most of the training takes place using Obsalim in real time on the animals. Training is therefore held on the farm, with sessions rotating between the farms of the participants.
Founding a local group is also essential for all students to gain confidence in using Obsalim. We know from experience that the best way for farmers to serve their individual goals and vision for their farm is through ongoing contact between the participants.
Edward trained the following farmers and professionals on the Obsalim technique.
Chris Gosling, Berkeley Dairy Farm, Wroughton:
"After spending some time learning to observe the cows in a new way and putting the Obsalim technique into practice I was amazed at the improvement in our herd's health."
Jonny Rider, Horton House farm, Devises:
"Three years ago, in the spring of 2015, we used Obsalim on our milking herd, a month before calving when they were dry. As a result of symptoms shown on the cards, we made changes to our wintering that have reduced the amount of food we use, as well as significantly improving the health and condition of the cows. We have subsequently used Obsalim during the grazing season and, as a result, we have altered the timings we shift the cows to new pasture, to maximise rumination and rumen function. Over time, the cards have become a very familiar and useful tool."
Nick Freeth, Manor Farm, Cricklade:
Nick talks about his experience of Obsalim in this short film:
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