Compromise needed on closed herds

12 October 2001

Compromise needed on closed herds

A CLOSED herd is an ideal way to minimise risks of introducing infectious disease, but in reality many farms fail to achieve this and compromise is needed.

Genus Andrew Taylor explained that to be a closed herd no animals must be hired or loaned in or out. The only introduction of new genetics must be through AI or embryo transfer.

"A true closed herd must not re-introduce animals after shows or sales. Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis in one herd came back with an animal from a show."

Contact with neighbouring farms animals must also be stopped, using two fences with a 3m (10ft) gap between them, he advised. But this would not stop the spread of some airborne diseases.

"However, maintaining a closed herd is not possible in many cases," said Mr Taylor. When this is so, he recommended buying stock from herds certified free of specific diseases or from known health status herds. The highest risk is purchasing from multiple sources of unknown disease status.

"When moving stock, using your own transport minimises risk of contact with other animals on hauliers vehicles.

"On arrival at the farm, isolate cattle for a minimum of 30 days before carrying out blood tests. While animals are in isolation, treat and vaccinate stock as necessary against diseases already present on the unit, to protect the incoming animals."

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