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    Boost Profitability with Better-planned Biosecurity
01/05/06

Many English beef producers could increase the profitability of their suckler and finisher enterprises by at least 10% as well as protecting their livelihoods against key disease threats through better biosecurity, suggests the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) in its latest Beef Action for Profit Factsheet.

photo courtesy of www.jennifermackenzie.co.uk

beef cattle

First class biosecurity should be an essential part of every beef business health plan to reduce the risk of importing damaging diseases onto the farm and restrict the ease with which they can spread.

In addition to providing much-needed disease protection, good biosecurity offers immediate financial benefits in reducing the incidence of disease and its depressing effect on productivity. Benefits which could easily add 10% or more to the annual profitability of many beef enterprises.

Most biosecurity measures are fairly straightforward and self-explanatory. The latest EBLEX Action for Profit Factsheet identifies 12 main diseases for the focus of beef biosecurity efforts, with reminders on specific action to prevent their spread in each case – these include:

  • Buying stock only from sources of known health status.
  • Isolating new purchases, stock returning to the herd or sick animals in separate housing.
  • Avoiding nose-to-nose contact with neighbouring stock through hedges or fences.
  • Keeping feed dry, clean and free from contamination.
  • Maintaining effective vermin control.
  • Preventing pets – particularly dogs – accessing feed.
  • Ensuring feed and water troughs remain free from faecal contamination.
  • Using mains water wherever possible.
  • Identifying all animals correctly with the proper tags and keeping their records up-to-date.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting buildings, vehicles and equipment regularly.
  • Insisting contractors clean and disinfect their equipment before and after use.
  • Spreading manure and slurry on non-grazing land wherever possible.

It recommends all new cattle should be isolated from the rest of the herd and kept in quarantine for at least 4 weeks to allow routine vaccinations and regular inspections for disease to be undertaken with the right level of veterinary assistance.

Further information and the Beef Action for Profit resource on biosecurity is available from the EBLEX website: www.eblex.org.uk

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