Biosecurity hazards: managing people & feed

The discovery of Mycoplasma bovis in this country is a timely reminder for farmers to implement on-farm biosecurity practices to protect their businesses and livelihoods – and those of their neighbours.
Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The second of this four part-series about on-farm biosecurity looks at preventing contamination by people, equipment, feed and water.

People, their vehicles and their equipment, can carry pests and diseases onto farms.

The risk of contamination can be reduced by minimising farm entry points and restricting uncontrolled access to the property.

This means limiting the unnecessary movement of people, pets and vehicles around the farm.

Ideally, areas of permitted farm access for farm service providers, should be defined and signposted.    

When people are handling livestock, ensure all clothing, exposed skin, equipment and vehicles are clean before and after animal contact. Drenching and vaccinating equipment should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use, needles changed regularly and disposed of correctly. This equipment should not be shared with other farms.

Consider providing visitors and contractors with protective clothing and cleaning facilities when they arrive on the farm and ensure boots, equipment and vehicles are cleaned before leaving the property.

A farm visitor register – such as the induction forms included in the B+LNZ Farm Safety Management System (from page 55) – recording who came onto the farm, the reason for the visit and what parts of the farm they visited, will be invaluable if an incursion were to occur.

Only share vehicles and machinery with other properties if all parties agree to clean them properly before and after use.

Feed poses a biosecurity threat

Supplementary feed, pasture and water can all carry pests, weeds and diseases. Inspect stockfeed – particularly non-traditional feed such as horticultural surpluses and by-products – on delivery. Look for evidence of pests, damage and contamination and manage accordingly.

Baleage and other supplementary crops can harbour weeds – so be aware of where these are being sourced from.

Under Biosecurity Regulations, cattle, sheep and deer must not be fed any products that contain ruminant proteins. This includes food scraps and catering waste and feed intended for pigs and poultry. Pig and poultry feed may contain ruminant proteins and veterinary medicines that are prohibited for use in sheep and cattle.

For more information about Mycoplasma bovis, and to view the resources available to help you develop an on-farm biosecurity plan, visit: https://beeflambnz.com/news-views/mycoplasma-bovis