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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 399-407 in Fifth International Dairy Housing Proceedings of the 29-31 January 2003 Conference (Fort Worth, Texas USA)  701P0203.(doi:10.13031/2013.11650)
Authors:   D.R. Wolfgang, R.E. Graves, R.J. Van Saun, J.E. Tyson, and D.F. McFarland
Keywords:   Ag engineering, biosecurity, BVD, Cattle housing, Cattle manure, Contagious diseases, Dairy farms, Decontamination, Disease control, Farm buildings, Farm management, GI diseases, Johne’s, Micro-organisms, Salmonella

Biosecurity practices focus on the prevention of importing diseases onto a farm. The benefits to animal welfare, product quality, and farm profitability are well recognized and have been known for many years. Despite the obvious benefits of effective biosecurity programs most dairy farms have few if any procedures in place to protect their herds. Far too many dairy producers view biosecurity as a bewildering array of infectious agents, expensive tests, and time consuming animal handling schemes. In general much of the emphasis on biosecurity has focused solely on the animal and the infectious agent (s). An important component of biosecurity that has been far to often overlooked is the importance and influence of the environment. Facilities and design can have a huge impact on the spread or prevention of disease.

On many farms the design and layout of facilities and traffic lanes make biosecurity relatively easy to implement, while on other farms the design can make implementation so onerous that compliance is difficult at best. Developing a farm biosecurity plan that includes the interaction of the animal, management, and the facilities allows effective programs to be implemented and maintained.

Dividing the facilities, management activities, and animals according to relative risk zones allows easier comprehension of biosecurity advantages or challenges. These categories can be considered as high, moderate, or low and/or color-coded red, yellow, or green for ease of understanding. Employing a relative risk zone strategy for developing biosecurity plans has produced a much higher implementation of biosecurity procedures on dairy farms.

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