In addition to Faust’s research, the “1999 Wisconsin Dairy Modernization Project” conducted by Roger Palmer, dairy systems management specialist at the University of Wisconsin, showed similar biosecurity results in 302 herds that increased herd size by at least 40 percent. Here’s how the farms responded when asked what biosecurity measures they had taken to prevent disease introductions from purchased animals:
- 91 percent visually inspected animals before purchase.
- 67 percent increased the level of vaccination in the existing herd.
- 49 percent vaccinated incoming cattle before moving them.
- 51 percent vaccinated incoming cattle after moving them.
- 42 percent examined individual somatic cell count records.
- 27 percent isolated animals after moving them.
- 26 percent examined individual cow records.
- 21 percent blood-tested animals before purchase.
- 15 percent did bulk tank cultures before purchase.
These numbers show tremendous room for improvement. Most expansions can handle a small biosecurity breach. But it only takes one big problem to undermine the profitability of your project. However, most can be prevented.
To assist you in avoiding health problems during expansion, this special health issue of Dairy Herd Management offers ideas on preventing disease entry, avoiding lameness, and strategies for culturing arriving animals for mastitis. Review these articles with your veterinarian as you plan your expansion.