K-State beef cattle experts offer advice on biosecurity
Just as the disease can spread among humans in a close contact environment, it can also spread to beef cattle that are first mixed. However, Kansas State University Beef Cattle Institute experts say producers can take steps to reduce the risk of disease before bringing a new animal onto the property.
This was the topic of discussion in a recent cattle cat podcast, featuring insights from K-State veterinarians Brad White, Bob Larson and Brian Lubbers, and Julia Herman, beef cattle veterinarian for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
“When we talk about biosecurity, we’re really talking about ways to keep disease out of our operations,” White says.
Experts agree that the level of disease risk varies from herd to herd due to differences in management practices.
âMany commercial cow-calf operations are considered fairly closed herds because they bring few new animals into the herd,â says Larson, referring to a herd that adds a new bull on occasion but raises all of its females from replacement.
“The more cattle you introduce into the herd, the greater the risk of disease, which leads to a greater emphasis on biosecurity,” Lubbers says.
Make a biosecurity plan
To reduce the risk of disease, Herman advises producers to purchase their livestock from a reputable seed stock operator.
âReputable seedstock operators test their livestock for disease before selling, keep complete records, and their livestock are in good condition,â Herman says.
Lubbers emphasizes the importance of whole-herd testing to detect chronic disease.
âSome diseases may not show up right away, so testing the herd over several years is the best practice to ensure the herd is disease-free,â says Lubbers.
Even when buying cattle from a reputable seller, Herman recommends that all new cattle be quarantined for 21-30 days in their new location to ensure they don’t spread any unexpected disease to the rest. of the herd.
White adds that isolating new cattle from the rest of the herd can reduce airborne diseases.
“We need to make sure new cattle don’t have nose-to-nose contact with the rest of the herd during this time of isolation,” White says.
Larson suggests that new cattle be placed in a pasture separated by a gravel road or other barrier that gives the animals more distance than a fence.
Experts also suggest working with a local veterinarian to discuss a biosecurity plan before an outbreak.
“Sickness plans that happen after there’s a problem aren’t as effective as preventative plans,” White says. “A little planning goes a long way to overall herd health.”
For health advice on developing a biosecurity plan, visit NCBA Beef Quality Assurance Where Secure Beef Supply websites.
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