Biosecurity for Canadian Dairy Farms - Producer Planning Guide
3. Building Your Biosecurity Plan

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3.1 Control Area 1: Animal health management

Target Outcome: An effective health management plan is in place and is actively in use.
Strategy Objectives Best Practices
1. Maintain a client-veterinarian relationship Producers work together with their herd veterinarian to develop an Animal Health Management Plan that will work for each farm to keep animals healthy and maintain farm biosecurity. The Plan includes health assessment of cattle and appropriate response when a change in disease pattern is detected.
  1. Develop a relationship with a veterinary practice.
  2. Implement an Animal Health Management Plan in consultation with your herd veterinarian.
2. Observe, record and evaluate Producers maintain and use animal health records, as specified in their Animal Health Management Plan. Records of individual disease occurrence, treatment provided, and herd disease summaries are maintained and analyzed at suitable intervals to improve the effectiveness of biosecurity and to enhance food safety.
  1. Monitor animal health daily and maintain individual animal health and production records.
  2. Keep detailed records of all sick animals.
  3. Review these records regularly with the herd veterinarian to evaluate disease trends and effectiveness of treatments.
3. Recognize susceptibility, and maintain separation The distinctive production/management areas on the dairy farm and their risk levels are identified, and contact between each is minimized. Youngest are separated from the adults, healthy from the sick, most susceptible from the least susceptible.
  1. Separate cattle based on age and stage of production.
  2. Separate the maternity area from the hospital area.
  3. Segregate pre-weaned calves and have dedicated feeding, treatment and cleaning equipment.
4. Regularly monitor and investigate sickness/ death Cattle are routinely observed for early detection of signs of disease. Sick cattle should be attended to quickly and kept isolated from the remainder of the herd to prevent disease spread. Cases of unusual diseases are reported to the herd veterinarian.
  1. Isolate sick cattle from the remainder of the herd in a hospital pen and seek veterinary advice.
  2. Perform diagnostic tests (milk culture, serology) as required on sick animals.
  3. Develop a protocol to screen for diseases of interest (Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD), Johne's).
  4. Maintain treatment protocols as required by the Canadian Quality Milk (CQM) program.
  5. Develop a response strategy in case of a serious disease outbreak.
5. Manage feed, water and bedding Feed and water are always available in acceptable quantities and quality to ensure the health and well-being of cattle at all stages of development, and the wholesomeness and safety of the milk and meat produced. Feed, water, and bedding inputs are regularly monitored to ensure that they do not contain animal disease agents.
  1. Ensure traceability of all feedstuffs coming onto the farm.
  2. Control the storage conditions and management of feed.
  3. Ensure and maintain feed quality and safety.
  4. Ensure that a sufficient supply of clean and potable water is available and regularly checked and maintained.
  5. Choose appropriate bedding material for your enterprise to control mastitis and promote cow comfort.

3.2 Control Area 2: Animal additions and movement

Target Outcome: Cattle are purchased and moved in a manner that minimizes the risk of introduction and spread of infectious diseases.
Strategy Objectives Best Practices
1. Limit purchase frequency and number of sources Maintain a closed herd to the extent practicably possible. When necessary, cattle are added in limited numbers from as few sources as possible, with a known health status, to prevent the entry of disease.
  1. Grow from within your herd.
  2. Establish a list of suitable suppliers if there is an acute need for expansion.
  3. Plan your introductions.
  4. Transport cattle in clean vehicles with no other animals.
2. Know the health status of purchased animals Buy cattle of known health status (both herd and individual animals). Health status of cattle acquired and introduced to the herd is determined prior to or at the time of purchase. Semen and embryos are sourced from known and reputable suppliers.
  1. Conduct pre-purchase testing and examination.
  2. Ask for a vendor's declaration as to the origin of the animal(s), their health, and vaccination status and treatment history.
  3. Consult with your herd veterinarian before purchase.
  4. Know the health status of semen, embryos and breeding bulls prior to purchase.
3. Segregate, isolate and monitor Cattle introduction into the resident herd is controlled using isolation where indicated. Newly introduced and re-introduced animals are isolated and monitored for a sufficient time to reveal the presence of clinical disease and to allow for pathogen shedding to cease.
  1. Isolate incoming and returning cattle in a designated area.
  2. Observe and examine new purchases and returning cattle frequently for early disease detection.
4. Test, vaccinate and/or treat While in isolation, individual animals may be retested, vaccinated, and/or treated before introduction or reintroduction into the resident herd. Appropriate samples – blood, milk, or feces – are collected and tested no later than upon arrival and/or completion of isolation.
  1. Conduct post-purchase/returning animal testing.
  2. Vaccinate to align with the resident herd's vaccination program.
  3. Adequately treat or cull.
5. Record location and movement Traceability methods and systems are used to record premises' identification, track location and movement of animals, and maintain a link to their herd and their health status.
  1. Identify all cattle at birth with an approved national ear tag in accordance with the National Livestock Identification for Dairy (NLID) program.
  2. Work with your province to identify all premises.
  3. Document all cattle movements and disposals.
6. Manage movement within the production unit Pathways for cattle movement on the farm premises are predetermined. Animals are moved in a manner that reduces exposure to diseased or susceptible animals. Sources of contamination are avoided.
  1. Map the layout of your dairy facility, identifying the various production areas, and develop a flow chart of animal movement within the facility.
  2. Using the map, divide the facilities, management activities and animal production areas into low, medium and high risk categories.
  3. Work with a veterinarian to establish the points of elevated risk and the order in which common/frequent movement of cattle should ideally occur within the production unit.
  4. Include biosecurity concerns in expansion, remodelling or new construction activities.

3.3 Control Area 3: Premises' management and sanitation

Target Outcome: Maintenance and sanitation programs are established for the facility/property to reduce the pathogen load and to minimize the risk of introduction and further spread of diseases.
Strategy Objectives Best Practices
1. Provide materials and equipment for cleaning and disinfection, and instruction on their use Farm workers, service personnel, and other visitors are made aware of the need to clean and disinfect for biosecurity purposes, are provided with suitable materials and equipment, and know how to carry out sanitization practices for all areas of the farm.
  1. Know your disinfectants, and how and when to use them.
  2. Have an appropriate disinfectant(s) as well as the required tools available for cleaning and disinfecting footwear, clothing and equipment.
  3. Store all chemicals away from cattle and feed.
  4. Train all personnel in general sanitation and hygiene procedures.
2. Clean and disinfect equipment and vehicles Farm workers, service personnel, and other visitors follow prescribed farm practices to clean and disinfect their equipment and vehicles during their on-farm activities, and when entering or leaving the premises.
  1. Designate a cleaning and disinfection area for vehicles and equipment.
  2. Keep vehicles and equipment clean.
3. Clean, disinfect and maintain production facilities Bedding is removed from stalls and disposed of in a prescribed manner, and manure is cleared from alleyways and moved to a suitable storage area. High-risk areas of the production facilities, including isolation and calving pens, the milking parlour, and water and feed areas, are cleaned and disinfected in keeping with the farm's planned schedule. Facilities are maintained in good repair.
  1. Develop a cleaning and disinfection program for your production facility.
  2. Ensure facilities are clean and dry.
  3. Complete regular facility maintenance.
4. Manage manure, waste, deadstock and pests Manure, waste, and deadstock are removed from the cattle housing and treatment areas and out of potential contact with cattle, and are isolated from scavengers; disposal is carried out in an acceptable manner. A regular program of pest control is followed.
  1. Develop a manure management plan to address collection, handling, storage and disposal.
  2. Develop and implement a written plan for holding and disposing of deadstock.
  3. Develop and implement an integrated pest management program.

3.4 Control Area 4: Personnel, visitors, vehicles and equipment

Target Outcome: Producers and their employees, service providers, and visitors are aware of and follow the farm biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Strategy Objectives Best Practices
1. Control access Access by farm workers who live or travel off the farm, farm services personnel, and all other people who visit the farm for business or personal reasons is planned and managed. Access is purposeful. Farm visitors understand the potential impact of their actions and comply with the farm protocols in place to minimize the introduction of diseases to the herd.
  1. Limit nonessential traffic on the farm.
  2. Conduct a risk assessment of all visitors.
  3. Keep a record of all visitors and deliveries.
2. Use clean clothing and footwear Farm workers and service personnel use dedicated farm-specific clothing and footwear when on the farm. Clothing and footwear is cleaned and changed between visits and as required when moving between production areas.
  1. Require that all visitors and service personnel put on clean clothing and footwear when entering the production areas.
  2. Ensure all farm workers use dedicated farm-specific clothing and footwear.
  3. Provide the necessary facilities for farm workers, visitors and service providers to change into clean clothing and footwear and wash hands.
3. Control movement of equipment and vehicles Farm workers, service personnel, and other visitors use equipment in a manner that minimizes the risk of cross-contamination between animals. They restrict the movement of their vehicles to permitted areas, and limit cross-contamination between facilities and between production areas on the farm.
  1. Control vehicle and equipment access to the farm.
  2. Control traffic patterns on the farm.
4. Plan, train and communicate Farm personnel should be aware of and understand the importance of biosecurity and the farm-specific biosecurity plan of the dairy operation where they work. All farm personnel should be trained in biosecurity protocols, record keeping, and dairy cow behaviour. Every person who visits or works on the dairy farm should know that a biosecurity plan has been prepared for the farm and that they are expected to follow it.
  1. Involve your entire farm team in the design of the biosecurity plan.
  2. Train and educate your personnel.
  3. Communicate your plan.
  4. Regularly review your biosecurity plan and update at least annually.
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