Write it down: Why biosecurity isn’t just for hogs and poultry

When it comes to biosecurity and livestock, we’re often focused on hogs or poultry.

But what about cattle?

Dr. Julia Herman, beef cattle specialist veterinarian at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), joined RealAg Radio to discuss why biosecurity should be more of a conversation on the ranch.

When thinking about biosecurity and cattle, Dr. Herman says it can get complicated as the size of operations greatly vary — with operations that have five head of cattle, and other operations that have 20,000 head of cattle.

“What the beef quality insurance program is trying to do is getting our producers thinking about it,” Herman explains, adding that many producers are already doing it every day subconsciously. “You know you need to wash the pickup every now and then, you need to clean the trailer out, get that manure out. We need to vaccinate our cattle to protect them from all those respiratory diseases. So there are things that are already being done. What these plans do is it adds a way where they can evaluate the biosecurity they are doing.”

On a more detailed basis within the plan, Herman says they have 12 different sections — looking at animal movements, where you get your feed, when semen gets shipped in — things that people may not think about on a daily basis. This plan through the NCBA is set to encourage you to look just a bit deeper into what is being done on your operation. As Herman explains, recording all of these things you are doing can actually turn out to be a risk management technique.

“In the end, if something happens — like you get a respiratory disease outbreak, or if a foreign animal disease like foot and mouth disease comes in — you’re already doing the basic things. We’re just having you write it down to verify what you’re doing, and then looking at it as a continuous improvement,” she says. “Biosecurity changes every day. So if you have a plan right now, come back in six months and reevaluate. Maybe you brought in new animals, maybe you hired new people, something is always changing. So you can adapt that plan.”

Check out the full conversation between Dr. Herman and RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney, below: