With strate­gic blood sam­pling a valu­able re­source

Irish Independent - Farming - - Beef Health -

ap­proach means the health sta­tus of a lot of my farms is now known and we have a base­line sta­tus with which we can go for­ward.

A huge part of any plan should also be biose­cu­rity. The main source of dis­ease for so many of our farms is bought-in stock. A closed herd is the ideal sce­nario but is not al­ways pos­si­ble.

What ever y farm should have is stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure (SOP) for buy­ing in stock which should in­clude nec­es­sary dis­ease screen­ing (serol­ogy), four weeks isolation (quar­an­tine) and fluke/worm drench.

IM­POR­TANT

A good ex­am­ple of this for me in the re­cent past was a farmer who bought three re­place­ment heifers which went lame shortly af­ter ar­rival on farm.

What it ended up be­ing was highly con­ta­gious dig­i­tal der­mati­tis (mortel­laros).

It spread through the rest of the herd in the house leading to foot­bathing and ex­pen­sive an­tibi­otic treat­ments.

This is why keep­ing a closed herd is so ben­e­fi­cial, and when you are buy­ing in it is vi­tal that you pur­chase only healthy stock from a farm with a proven health sta­tus.

Equally im­por­tant when you’re sell­ing cat­tle is that you could have a health plan which backs up the high health stan­dard which your farm is achiev­ing.

Bought-in stock there­fore plays the most im­por­tant role in the in­tro­duc­tion and spread of dis­ease into your farm. It is also im­por­tant that farm bound­aries are main­tained and of course that all farm vis­i­tors un­der­take thor­ough dis­in­fec­tion and nec­es­sar y hy­giene pre­cau­tions when en­ter­ing your farm.

I have been hugely en­cour­aged l at el y by t he num­ber of farm­ers who have asked me to dis­in­fect when ar­riv­ing on their farm.

This is best prac­tice, and we all should be aim­ing to limit the spread of dis­ease on our farms.

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