Make Your Farm Your Fortress
With infectious diseases at the forefront of production and economic problems for the livestock industry (BVD alone costs UK producers £39.6 million a year) FarmSkills are spearheading a campaign to put biosecurity at the top of farmers to do lists for the year ahead by encouraging producers to Make Your Farm Your Fortress
From reduced productivity and lower milk yields, to a reduction in fertility, increased abortion and cull rates, the impact of poor biosecurity on farm can have a devastating effect on your business. By identifying the diseases that are more likely to be a threat to your stock and working with your vet to develop a biosecurity action plan for your farm, both the immediate and long term effects can be dramatic.
Do you know the cost of disease?
An Economic Assessment of Livestock Diseases in Great Britain – Bennett & IJpelaar (2003), University of Reading shows that annually, the top 4 diseases in British livestock cost the industry -
|BVD||£39.6 million/year (Range £25.4 – £61.1)|
|Leptospirosis||£11 million/year (Range 5.2 – £24.6)|
|IBR||£6 million/year (Range £5.2 – £7)|
|Johnes||£0.8 million/year (Range £0.3 – £10)|
Biosecurity is often associated with disinfectant-soaked straw and endless welly and tyre washing. In reality it is a simple management system to reduce the risk of infectious diseases being introduced into, and spreading through a herd or flock, thereby saving time and money.
The most obvious risk to producers is the introduction of a diseased or carrier animal bringing infectious disease onto your farm, but what about the less obvious risks such as wildlife, watercourses and contractors – what can be done to prevent the risk of biosecurity breakdown from these?
Have you considered the following top 10 risk factors to your farm and stock?
Have you considered
What can you do?
|1. Purchased stock||Home bred replacements|
|Infectious disease testing prior to purchase|
|Purchase from CHeCS accredited herd or a known single source|
|Bulls count too – Avoid sharing but if unavoidable make sure they are from a known source of equivalent health status to your own.|
|2. Poor Boundries||Assess the risk of your neighbouring enterprises.|
|Have stock-proof boundaries which are checked and maintained regularly to minimise nose-to-nose contact with neighbouring stock.|
|Consider the risk of any natural boundaries including shared watercourses|
|3. Shows and Sales||Have a separate show team plan|
|isolation after each event|
|Use your own vehicles to transport animals where possible & avoid using hauliers with multiple consignment loads.|
|4. On farm visitors (salesmen, vets, contractors)||Provide cleansing and disinfectant materials for all visitors/workers on arrival and departure|
|Provide farm’s own protective clothing.|
|Discuss your biosecurity policy with them.|
|5. Vaccination failure||Ensure it is keep cool whilst transported|
|Make sure fridges are working properly and that medicine is not out of date|
|Ensure good hygiene and appropriate equipment|
|Consult and agree a testing and dosing programme with your vet who will be able to advise of different risks, timescales and procedures|
|6. Shared Watercourses||Consider alternatives and risk of wildlife and neighbours|
|Using mains water wherever possible;|
|7. Wildlife and other animals||Control and minimise exposure to feed by keeping stores covered and shut|
|Discourage vermin by keeping farmyard and surroundings clean and tidy;|
|Dispose of old or soiled feed safely.|
|Prevent dogs from accessing feed areas and mindful of public foot paths where dogs may have been in contact with stock|
|8. Cats and Dogs||Minimise risk of stock contact|
|Dogs should be regularly treated for tapeworms, particularly newly acquired animals, before they have access to pasture|
|Avoid walker’s dogs having free access to livestock areas. As well as the risk of worrying sheep they can carry disease on to the farm|
|Cats & vermin must not get into food stores (cat faeces may contain Toxoplasma which can cause abortion storms in sheep).|
|9. Slurry||Apply a risk assessment to any slurry or FYM taken|
|10. Shared kit and Contractors||Wash on and off farm – Dirty vehicles of all types pose a high risk of introducing infection.|
|Borrow or buy from a known source|
Have you got a farm specific biosecurity policy?
Biosecurity measures on farm don’t have to be complex. Having a simple, practical and achievable strategy which is easily implemented and understood by everyone working on farm can have instant positive effects.
Talk to your vet about establishing your own herd biosecurity protocols – many biosecurity recommendations are common sense, such as thorough and effective cleaning and disinfection, but other basic biosecurity measures such as adequate boundaries and timely vaccination of stock will also improve and protect your business.
With recent XLVets campaigns and projects on BVD, Johnes, TB and access to further Defra funding for training and development throughout 2014/15, FarmSkills will be banging the bio security drum through a variety workshops, online campaigns and challenges at this year’s agricultural shows and events to get farmers thinking about their risks factors and what they should be doing on their own farm to reduce them.
FarmSkills offer a variety of practical, on farm workshops lead by vets and industry experts to improve business and livestock production across the UK. Our workshops offer a hands-on approach to training, giving you the skills and knowledge to implement changes and improvements back on farm immediately. Why not attend one of our Safe Use of Veterinary Medicines workshops to make sure you’re getting the most from your vaccines, or get the most up to date knowledge on housing, nutrition and immunisation for your young stock on one of our Calf Rearing workshops?
All our workshops are listed on our website www.farmskills.co.uk where you can search for events in your area, get detailed information on what you’ll learn on the day, as well as booking online to confirm your space. Everyone who attends our workshops will also receive a factbook as reference guide from their training and containing further information on their chosen subject to use back on farm.