Biosecurity in four easy steps
10 August 2020
Does your biosecurity routine scrub up?
Keep the cows safe, healthy and productive using these four on-farm biosecurity practices, which also contribute to a sustainable and profitable farm system.
Whether it’s Covid-19 affecting people, or bovine viral diarrhoea affecting cows, the importance of biosecurity in keeping humans and animals healthy and safe cannot be underestimated. Nor can we ignore the effect on New Zealand’s economy and the profitability and sustainability of our sector if biosecurity measures are not carried out consistently and effectively.
Ensuring your farm’s biosecurity is up to scratch doesn’t need to be complicated. By regularly following the four easy steps below, you’ll not only secure the future of your farm and its animals – you’ll also help protect the future of dairying.
1. Adopt a ‘clean on, clean off’ policy
Get everyone, staff and visitors, to clean their hands, and clean and disinfect their boots/footwear on arrival and departure.
This minimises the risk of bringing unwanted pests, weeds and diseases onto the farm or spreading them from one farm to another.
This is the equivalent of washing your hands to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
2. Know the health status of incoming animals
Check the animal health status of animals prior to purchasing or leasing. This can be done using the DairyNZ pre-purchase checklist, available at dairynz.co.nz/pre-purchase
Keeping all new arrivals separate from the herd for at least a week will also reduce the risk of disease spread and also allows for testing and treatments.
This is the same principle as all new arrivals into New Zealand having to be tested for Covid-19 and quarantined before being able to travel around the country.
Ask your vet for advice on the specific risks to your farm.
3. Update your NAIT
Make sure all cattle are identified with an approved NAIT tag, and registered, and that all animal movements are recorded within 48 hours.
This means contact tracing can be carried out much more quickly and efficiently if needed, which minimises the spread of disease.
Contact OSPRI (0800 482 463) if you need help with your NAIT account.
4. Keep boundaries secure
Maintaining complete and secure boundary fences reduces the risk of unwanted animals contacting your herd, and maintains the animal health ‘bubble’ of the farm.
Check fences regularly and carry out any maintenance promptly.
Where possible, keep all roadside gates locked, apart from the main entrance to the farm.
Find out more about on-farm biosecurity at dairynz.co.nz/biosecurity