With strategic blood sampling a valuable resource
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.
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.