Because of workforce turnover and changing conditions on dairy farms, biosecurity training needs to on-going and continually reinforced.
In general, biosecurity measures can usually be easily implemented, says Pedro Melendez, a veterinarian with the University of Georgia. Biosecurity failures can lead to more disease, animal welfare concerns, increased mortality and lower productivity, all leading to a decrease in profitability, he says.
“Changes in biosecurity issues in general do not require large investments, so they are an improvement every dairy could do,” says Melendez. “[Their] implementation depends on the understanding of the importance and benefits that lie within them.”
Herd veterinarians should have an active role in developing biosecurity measures and protocols on dairy farms, and be involved in communicating this information to employees. “Veterinarians are seen as the most used and preferred source of information by the workers and managers,” he says.
“Training programs should be a recurrent mechanism of transmitting knowledge, attitudes and good practices on dairies,” he says. And recommendations and protocols should be specific to the farm to address the problems each farm has.
Both managers and workers should be involved in training so that every person on the team understands the specific requirements of the dairy. Uniform messaging also helps ensure protocols are implemented consistently.