How livestock farms are being affected by biosecurity threats?
A prospective introduction of a disease into a herd or flock that is not known to carry the disease poses a biosecurity risk. The introduction of disease is normally unintentional; however, after September 2001, intentional disease introduction must be considered. Contact between a susceptible animal and an infected animal is the most common mechanism of disease transmission. This can happen within the herd or between herds when new livestock is introduced. Other disease transmission routes include:
- Aerosol spread can propagate respiratory diseases, but it can also transmit foot and mouth disease over short distances.
- Diseases like Leptospira and Salmonella can be spread by rodents, domestic animals, and other wild animals.
- When flies, mosquitoes, and ticks are endemic in a particular region, they can spread a wide range of diseases.
- Disease can be transmitted to animal herds by feed, transportation, visitors, and other inputs. Although this mode of disease transmission is not considered dangerous, any manure on boots or clothing from an unknown source could pose a risk.
What is the importance of biosecurity on a farm?
Biosecurity protocols on the farm and in transit are more crucial than ever before. On a farm, biosecurity is the most critical measure for reducing and preventing the spread of animal and plant illnesses and pests. Biosecurity methods also help to keep illnesses and pests from spreading throughout a farm. Many components of biosecurity are self-evident, but if these methods and practices are not regularly implemented, there is a larger danger of importing animal or plant illnesses, as well as the associated financial implications.
Top 6 Biosecurity measures every farm should take
1. Implement biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of disease
In order to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases on your farm, you must take the following steps:
- New to the farm, animals should be kept in a separate holding area. To make monitoring and assessing the health condition of new animals easier, a quarantine period should be created.
- Maintain a separate isolation area for sick animals exclusively.
- Meet the requirements for space per animal in your care in a pen, stall, or bedded area.
- To protect humans and animals, rabies vaccines should be given to farm dogs and cats. Consider immunizing livestock as well.
- Prevent livestock and other animals from coming into contact with the fence line.
- Between animals, remove dung and bedding, as well as sanitise pens, particularly maternity and sick pens.
2. Control access to the farm and restrict the movement of people and animals
Controlling traffic movement on a farm aids in preventative efforts by keeping infectious agent carriers away from animal areas. Important factors include your capacity to manage who enters the grounds, where they drive vehicles or walk into buildings, and how close they get to livestock areas because the visitors entering your farm might bring serious infections to your farm for example:
- A visitor to your farm may have come from another farm where some or all of their animals were infected with a herd infection.
- Their next stop will be at your farm. Clothing, shoes, car tyres, tools, equipment, and any pets travelling with them, among other things, have the ability to spread infectious pathogens from the previous farm to your animals.
So to avoid all of these possible hazards, you must implement some biosecurity
measures to control the traffic at your farm, such as:
- Establish a clear line of demarcation and post signage throughout the facility so that employees and visitors are aware of and follow your biosecurity procedures.
- Access to high-risk places should be restricted. Create “zones” that define which areas visitors are allowed to enter and which are not.
- Develop guest protocols, such as providing boots, clothing, showers, and disinfection foot baths for all visitors (including farm labourers when arriving or departing the farm).
- Manure management should be done with special equipment.
- Dispose of deadstock properly and follow set processes for documentation.
- To prevent rendering trucks from contaminating the operation, establish a dead animal pickup site away from pen areas and not in yard vehicle traffic patterns.
3. Maintain a clean environment and practice good hygiene
While talking about sanitation and good hygienic practices at farms, it is divided into 3 basic levels: employee sanitation, equipment sanitation, and vehicle and transport sanitation.
- Before and after milking animals, working with sick animals, and working with young animals, require personnel to wash their hands.
- When cleaning between animals is required on a regular basis, gloves should be provided.
- When assisting with births, have employees wear medical exam gloves.
- Employees should prioritize jobs so that they can work with younger animals before moving on to senior animals. Diseases carried by older animals are contagious to young animals.
- Before employing equipment that has been used on sick animals on healthy animals, clean and disinfect it.
- Hoof knives, clippers, tattoo pliers, ear taggers, ear notchers, and dehorners should all be cleaned and disinfected between uses.
- Before each meal, clean the nursing bottles and buckets.
- When moving or delivering feed, avoid using equipment that has previously handled manure.
Vehicle and Transport sanitation
- Ensure that tourist and service vehicles do not drive on feed or manure delivery routes.
- Place animal pickup holding pens near the road, away from the herd and barn areas.
- Vehicles that transport cattle to other farms should be washed and disinfected on the outside, interior, and especially the tires.
4. Use disinfectants and sanitizers to kill bacteria
Though many of the security measures mentioned above also ensure the sanitization and disinfection of your farms, but here are some exclusive biosecurity measures to disinfect your animals from bacteria:
- Clean your equipment after each use, keep your bedding dry, and keep an eye on your animals on a daily basis for early symptoms of illness.
- Daily routine care is also essential.
- These fundamental sanitary practices should be performed in the event of a disease outbreak or when a new animal is brought into the shelter, such as if a new feeder is placed in the same pen as last year’s feeder.
5. Vaccinate livestock against common diseases
As mentioned above, it is important to vaccinate livestock in order to save them from diseases and save the farmers from economic losses. Here are some advises while selecting, storing and administering the vaccines:
- It’s crucial to understand which diseases animals should be protected against. Tetanus in horses and botulism in cattle are two prevalent diseases against which animals should be routinely immunized.
- Each vaccination has its own set of storage requirements. The majority of vaccines must be maintained in a refrigerator, where they will remain cold, but will not freeze or thaw. Freezing some vaccinations might diminish their efficacy and induce local responses at the injection site.
- To avoid carcass damage, use the least commercially useful spot on the animal, such as high on the neck behind the ear, and administer the vaccination according to the label’s recommendations.
- When vaccinating a herd, make sure each animal receives a full dose of vaccine. Ensure that the correct dose is being provided by carefully inspecting syringes. All animals who require a booster injection should receive it at the appropriate time.
6. Keep records of all biosecurity activities
Keeping records of all biosecurity activities on a farm is very crucial as it helps in the smooth implementation of all biosecurity measures such as:
- It makes it easier for the farm manager to trace back and forward of coming of a new disease, or pest or weed incursion on the property while maintaining stock received and inspection records.
- It also facilitates farmers in efficient management of farm property and its disinfection and sanitization.
- Maintenance of visitors’ record also helps in tracing the origin of infections and diseases etc.
How digital technologies are helping with biosecurity issues?
Digitization can help you manage your farm business in a 360-degree manner. With digitization, tracing farm data becomes easier and faster, and you don’t have to sift through hundreds of pages of farm registers. It also helps to eliminate data redundancy and reduces the likelihood of any record errors.
Folio3 is one of the greatest service providers in this regard, and we can give you one of the best software for keeping track of your farm records.
We have the industry know-how and technology expertise to help you digitize your biosecurity programme, whether you’re a farm owner, feed yard operator, or animal care specialist, with years of development experience and expertise in the animal care space, building digital transformation solutions for some of the world’s leading animal health companies, livestock organizations, and cattle & beef brands. We’ve helped clients like Agri Beef, American Angus Association, Progressive Beef, Zoetis, PigWise, Boehringer Ingelheim, and others digitize their operations and entirely change the way they run because of our expertise in cattle management app development.
What are the benefits of implementing biosecurity measures on your farm ?
Biosecurity methods aid in the prevention of infectious diseases infecting a herd. Farmers like you can safely prevent disease outbreaks on their farms by following conventional practices and keeping their livestock safe.
What are some of the common biosecurity threats that farmers face?
There are multiple biosecurity threats that farmers commonly face, one of them is incursion of an infectious disease, pest or weed at a farm and its origin is unknown or untraceable. Then comes the sanitization of animal feed, fodders and pen areas while ensuring that they are properly disinfected. On top of that, keeping control over traffic on the farm is also one of the biggest challenges.
How can government agencies help farmers to implement biosecurity measures on their farms?
Government agencies need to educate the farmers in rural areas who are still unaware of biosecurity threats by telling them about the significance of biosecurity measures. Governments on provincial as well as on federal level should provide loans and subsidies to the poor farmers so that they can implement biosecurity measures effectively on their farms and use updated vaccines for newly introduced infections.