Source: NDSU Extension
4 Components: Quarantining, testing, vaccination, sanitation
Quarantining incoming cattle is one management practice that may decrease the likelihood of certain diseases being introduced to the herd. Quarantining means keeping incoming cattle separate from the established herd for a period of time, 30 days for new bulls. The quarantine area should be set up so new arrivals will not share the same air space, food or water as the established herd. 30 days of quarantining is ideal with 2 weeks being the minimum.
Testing of imported cattle can be useful in decreasing the risk of introducing disease into a herd. Tests should be evaluated to ensure they will achieve the desired goal of decreasing the risk of disease entry into your herd. We need to remember that disease testing is not 100 percent effective, and the sensitivity of the test should be considered when testing potential animals for addition to your herd. Vaccination of the resident herd and imported animals is another way to manage the risk of mixing cattle of different disease statuses.
Vaccination is the most common way veterinarians and producers have attempted to solve biosecurity risks. However, the effectiveness of vaccines is limited, and vaccination should not be considered the only or even the primary means of decreasing disease risk. Even under optimal conditions, not all cattle will respond to vaccination, nor will all that respond to vaccination be protected from infection.
Sanitation involves protecting herds from exposure to infectious agents. Sanitation practices may involve requiring all visitors, including veterinarians, milk inspectors, artificial insemination techs and other service personnel, to wear clean boots and coveralls. A footbath and brush should be provided for visitors to disinfect their boots.
Consider Biosecurity Measures Carefully
You need to consider the cost effectiveness of the biosecurity measures you institute carefully and discuss them with your veterinarian. The risk of introducing disease, the cost of the disease once it is introduced into a herd, the cost of the biosecurity measures and the amount of risk producers are willing to live with will determine the biosecurity measures that livestock producer set for their operation. As time goes on, biosecurity likely will become more important as food safety and quality, international trade concerns and efficient production pressures increase.
One of the highest biosecurity risks is the 1-3 day old calf. Often this animal is purchased to replace a newborn calf that died. Other options from a biosecurity standpoint are to either leave those cows dry, replace with a twin, or another from a poor doing cow in your own herd.
To read more, including a turnout checklist, post-sale stepdown nutrition and more, download the 2-page PDF fact sheet or visit the NDSU Agriculture and Extension Livestock Management homepage.