Farm and ranch safety has always been an important topic, and with the world getting used to a new normal ranchers must also get used to a new way of protecting their ranch - Biosecurity. We have practiced it for years on our ranches, but many of us are feeling a little extra pressure in the current situation. If you have been thinking about your biosecurity, how it relates to the safety of your farm or ranch, and wondering if you are doing enough on your ranch, we can walk you through a few steps to brush up your biosecurity as needed.

Biosecurity for your Cattle

There are many biosecurity threats to the health and wellbeing of our cattle. Contamination from wildlife, introducing new animals into the herd, mixing sick and healthy cattle, not cleaning facilities, and visitors from other herds can all introduce disease to a cattle operation. This quickly derails health, growth, and productivity.

Implementing biosecurity practices reduces the risk of outside threats from negatively impacting your operation, and ensures a healthier herd overall. Simple steps to improve biosecurity include: keeping wildlife away from cattle, especially water and feed sources; maintaining a closed herd, limiting visitors, separating sick animals, and appropriately disinfecting human clothing and cattle facilities after caring for sick animals.

Biosecurity for Cattle Handlers

Practicing good biosecurity for cattle handlers is probably of greater interest to you right now. There are steps you can take to help keep your employees and family healthy:

  • Physical distancing needs to happen everywhere – even on the ranch. Limit visitors. Only essential personnel (veterinarians, etc.) should be allowed on the ranch. Send handlers out in separate vehicles and encourage physical distancing wherever possible.
  • Regularly disinfect reusable equipment, and items used by multiple people. This includes the handles and gate latches on your cattle handling system.
  • Limit neighborly practices. Limit any sharing of water troughs, fence lines, or equipment. You can go back to being neighborly when this is over.
  • Keep disposable gloves available.
  • Encourage all cattle handlers to wash their work clothes and boots regularly.
  • Encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently throughout the day, and practice other hygiene recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We are aware of good biosecurity practices, and already implement many of them. Take a few extra precautions to keep the cattle and handlers on your operation safe and healthy.

References

Biosecurity for Beef

Biosecurity: Protecting Your Livestock and Poultry

Designing Preventive Health Management Programs for Cattle Producers

Developing a Ranch Biosecurity Plan

Is Your Herd Health Protocol As Good As Everyone Else’s?

Livestock Biosecurity