Importance of good biosecurity practices during dairy cow movements

Dairy grazing is an integral part of many beef farmers’ businesses, but care must be taken to protect resident beef cattle and other herds from the risk of Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis).
Thursday, 30 May 2019

Will Halliday, Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Senior Advisor for Biosecurity and Animal Welfare, says with dairy cows being moved to their wintering properties, it is important that farmers providing dairy support implement biosecurity best-practice to protect their businesses and other people’s animals.

It is critical that farmers know the history of any dairy cows coming onto their farm and meet their own NAIT responsibilities to record the movement of stock onto their farms.

Once dairy cattle arrive on a property, they should be kept separate from resident beef animals and other farmers grazing stock.

Will recommends graziers work with the dairy farmers involved to make a plan for stock arrival and their on-going management while they are on the wintering property.

A verifiable record should be kept of all dairy stock movements while they are on the grazier’s property. This can either be on paper or using an electronic farm management programme.

Will says while the transmission of M. bovis requires close physical contact, the sharing of animal handling equipment such as drench guns and vaccinators should also be avoided.

Spelling yards between different classes of cattle is also recommended and cattle from different management groups/owners should never be in the yards at the same time.

Will says while the focus is on protecting cattle from M. bovis, ideally farmers should also be implementing biosecurity practices in their everyday farm management to protect their livestock and businesses from any pest or disease incursion.

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