What is Biosecurity?
Prevention of disease causing agents entering or leaving any place where they can pose a risk to farm animals, other animals, humans, or the safety and quality of a food product. In a farm environment, the same principles apply, preventing disease spreading between animals. As BVD is highly contagious, vigilance is required perhaps in areas you have never considered.
How do I start looking seriously at Biosecurity?
The 3 B’s are a good start; Buying, Boundaries and Borrowing (source Animal Health Ireland AHI).
Maintain your fences, even consider double fencing to avoid contact with other herds and unwelcome visitors. Avoid ‘ranching’ all you stock together and maintain the same groups together during the grazing season.
Avoid and limit sharing of equipment or at least ensure it is cleaned and sterilised to avoid possible cross contamination across herds. This includes anything from gloves and boots to crushes and trailers etc.
Look at your policy on buying stock in (consider your own stock if returned from rented grazing, the mart or from a show as bought in and follow the same quarantine steps as suggested below).
Plan Ahead with your stocking and replacements policy and avoid unplanned purchases
Buy in as few animals as possible
Buy from as few herds as possible and get to know them and their biosecurity plans.
Select lower Risk herds such as a closed herds and accreditation free from disease.
Select lower Risk animals that look healthy, who come from high health herds, has been regularly milk tested or recently tested for BVD or are not in calf.
Reduce transport risks avoiding sharing trailers/ensuring they are thoroughly cleaned beforehand, avoid mixing loads with other animals and transport direct from farm to farm
Implement a quarantine period for anything entering or returning onto the farm so you can observe, test and vaccinate as required (source; IHA)