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Biosecurity

Related Links

Visits to advise cattle keepers how they can improve biosecurity on their farms have been offered in the Intensive Action Area.
Good biosecurity and husbandry practices are important in reducing the risk of infection from bovine TB.
if you've seen a term you don't understand, please check here for an explanation.
Beef cattle in a field
Biosecurity is the way farmers and owners of farm animals can reduce the risk of disease.

Biosecurity is essential to reduce disease spread, particularly of highly infectious diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

Better Biosecurity provides:

Peace of mind, healthy stock and a more viable business.

Benefits

  • Helps to protect your animals, your neighbours' animals and the countryside.
  • Helps to keep disease out.
  • Reduces the potential spread of disease.
  • Helps to keep more animals healthy.
  • Can cut costs of disease prevention and treatment.
  • Can improves farm efficiency.

How disease can spread

  • Movement of animals, people and machinery between and within farms.
  • Farm visitors – people and vehicles.
  • Introduction of new animals.
  • Contact with neighbours’ livestock.
  • Shared farm equipment.
  • Contamination by vermin and wild birds. 
  • Animals drinking from contaminated rivers and streams.

How to prevent the spread of disease

  • Be aware of the need for biosecurity.
  • Make a herd/flock health plan with your vet including isolation for new or returning stock.
  • Don’t bring infection onto your farm, or spread it around your farm, on your clothes, footwear or hands.
  • Where possible, limit and control farm visitors – people and vehicles.
  • Keep farm access routes, parking areas, yards, feeding and storage areas clean and tidy.
  • Have pressure washers, brushes, hoses, water and disinfectant available and make sure visitors use them.
  • Don’t allow contact with neighbours' livestock – maintain your fences.
  • Don’t share injecting and dosing equipment – if it can’t be avoided, cleanse and disinfect thoroughly.
  • Clean then disinfect any farm machinery/equipment if sharing with a neighbouring farm.
  • Implement a pest control programme.
  • Fence off streams and rivers – supply clean fresh drinking water in troughs.
  • Keep livestock away from freshly spread slurry for six weeks.
  • Ensure identification and record keeping is accurate and up to date.
  • Dispose of fallen stock properly.

Buying new stock – Returning your stock to the farm

Always know the health status of animals you are buying or moving!

  • Incoming and returning stock should be kept separate from the rest of the herd/flock. Discuss with your vet and agree a testing programme.
  • Use separate equipment and staff or handle isolated stock last.
  • Keep isolation buildings as near as possible to the farm entrance and separate from other livestock buildings by 3 metres.
  • If using a paddock, keep it separated by at least 3 metres (with double fencing) from other animals on the farm.
  • Dispose of bedding so other livestock can’t have access to it.

External Links:

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs - Biosecurity