Biosecurity for Canadian Dairy Farms - Producer Planning Guide
Index 3. Control Area 3: Premises' management and sanitation

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

Cleaning and disinfection are key factors in minimizing the introduction and spread of infectious disease. Dairy producers understand sanitation practices, especially relating to the management of their milking operation and the quality of their product, and most include premises' management and sanitation in their standard operating procedures. Biosecurity builds upon these procedures to more widely applied day-to-day sanitation practices, with additional attention on the management of manure, deadstock and pests.

Strategy 1: Provide materials and equipment for cleaning and disinfection, and instruction on their use

Premises' management and sanitation are advanced by day-to-day, regular activities that can be undertaken by all farm workers. The first step to effective cleaning and disinfection is choosing a disinfectant that is adapted to each situation and then ensuring that it is used appropriately.

Best Practice 1: Know your disinfectants, and how and when to use them.

Choosing a disinfectant can be a complex process. All disinfectants have strengths and weaknesses. Those that are excellent against bacteria may not be the product of choice against fungi, protozoa or viruses. Therefore, a single disinfectant cannot match all the different sources of contamination existing on a dairy farm. Ease of application and safety are also major considerations.

  • When choosing a disinfectant, consider the following to determine if the disinfectant is appropriate for the intended use:
    • spectrum of activity (i.e. what bacteria, fungi, viruses will it eliminate?)
    • surfaces/materials on which it can be used
    • activity in water of different temperatures or mineral contents
    • compatibility with other disinfectants and soaps
    • animal safety, including use on feeding equipment or watering systems
    • human safety
    • residual activity
    • environmental impact, including method of disposal
  • Consult your herd veterinarian or industry representative for recommendations.
  • Only use disinfectants approved for use in dairy production.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's directions. Read all labels thoroughly and respect the product expiry date.
  • When preparing and using a disinfectant, ensure:
    • proper dilution
    • thorough removal of all surface gross contamination and organic debris prior to application
    • appropriate environmental conditions (e.g. surface material, temperature)
    • adequate contact time
    • complete rinsing (if required) and drying
  • Use personal protective equipment where warranted.
  • Dispose of any remaining disinfectant as directed.
  • Follow any local or provincial regulations regarding the application and disposal of the disinfectant to ensure compliance with environmental and health and safety regulations.

For information on animal facility disinfectants, there is a searchable database on the CFIA website. The North American Compendium provides label information for many disinfectants registered or sold in Canada.

Best Practice 2: Have an appropriate disinfectant(s) as well as the required tools available for cleaning and disinfecting footwear, clothing and equipment

  • Ensure that the chosen disinfectant is readily available for use.
  • Provide the required supplies for cleaning and disinfecting, which may include:
    • a variety of brushes
      • long handled brush
      • boot brush
      • specialized brushes for equipment
    • rubber or plastic containers for
      • collecting disinfectant solution
      • washing tools
      • washing footwear
    • trash bags for disposable boots and coveralls
  • Have designated locations where cleaning and disinfection can occur, including ample access to hot water, appropriate drainage and storage for cleaning supplies.

Best Practice 3: Store all chemicals away from cattle and feed.

  • Store all chemicals in a secure location that prevents access to cattle and other farm animals.
  • Ensure that the chemicals do not contaminate the food or water supply or the surrounding environment. Comply with all regulations.
  • Label the location(s) of stored chemicals on the farm map.
  • Maintain records of chemical storage and use.

Best Practice 4: Train all personnel in general sanitation and hygiene procedures.

Adequate training of personnel in cleaning and disinfection is equally as important as the disinfectant and supplies. Indeed, all of the components go hand in hand and effective cleaning and disinfection is not possible without both the appropriate supplies and technique.

  • Foster an understanding of the importance of proper cleaning and disinfection by all personnel.
  • Outline the roles and responsibilities of each team member for cleaning and disinfection.
  • Provide training on:
    • disinfectant products and indications for use
    • appropriate procedures for preparation and use
    • safety precautions
  • Have written supporting information readily available for reference by all staff.
  • Record all training provided and monitor personnel uptake and compliance.

Strategy 2: Clean and disinfect vehicles and equipment

Vehicles and equipment can act as mechanical vectors for disease transmission. If contamination has occurred off of the premises and precautions are not taken prior to coming onto the farm, disease may be introduced. Similarly, if contamination occurs while on the premises, vehicles and equipment can facilitate the spread of pathogens around and off the premises. Biosecurity practices focusing on routine cleaning and disinfection need to be considered to mitigate this risk.

Best Practice 1: Designate a cleaning and disinfection area for vehicles and equipment.

  • Provide vehicle wash points at all entry points to the production area for those vehicles that require access.
  • Ensure that these wash points provide:
    • disinfectant(s)
    • high pressure wash
    • adequate water supply
    • ample drainage
    • appropriate waste disposal
    • tools for cleaning the exterior and interior of the vehicle

Best Practice 2: Keep vehicles and equipment clean.

  • Wash all farm vehicles regularly, especially after visiting another farm or co-mingled site and before entering the production area.
  • Keep the interior of cabs of farm vehicles clean and free of dirty coveralls, footwear, equipment, and other debris.
  • Restrict visitor vehicle access to the production area. If access is required, ensure that any visitors' vehicles are appropriately cleaned, including the undercarriage, wheels and wheel-wells. Ideally, the vehicle should be scraped, power-washed and disinfected.
  • Clean and disinfect all livestock transportation vehicles before and after use.
  • Whenever possible, use your own equipment.
  • If you need to share or borrow equipment:
    • acquire only from a known source.
    • clean and disinfect prior to use on the farm.
    • clean and disinfect before returning.
  • Designate equipment for each production area.
  • Have equipment for clean and dirty jobs (e.g. separate equipment for feed distribution and manure handling).
  • Regularly clean and disinfect equipment, specifically:
    • before introduction to the production area
    • between use with different groups of cattle
    • after use, especially when dealing with sick animals, deadstock or manure
  • Disinfect reusable equipment, such as tattooing pliers, nose tongs, halters, and clippers, before and after use.
  • Use new disposable needles for each animal when administering treatments.
  • Sanitize nursing bottles and buckets after each calf feeding.
  • Maintain clean water troughs, bowls (waterers), and feed mangers.
  • Store all equipment in a clean location.

Strategy 3: Clean, disinfect and maintain production facilities

Unlike many poultry and swine operations, dairy farms do not operate on an 'all-in, all-out' system. This may create some challenges for cleaning and disinfection. You need to design an effective cleaning and disinfection program that is compatible with your operating practices. Routine general cleaning and disinfection as well as more rigorous measures in high risk areas should be considered. Ongoing facility maintenance is also important.

Best Practice 1: Develop a cleaning and disinfection program for your production facility.

  • Prepare a written program for each area of the farm that addresses:
    • routine day-to-day cleaning of the production area
    • conditions that initiate additional cleaning and disinfection
    • considerations for high risk areas, including the hospital pen, isolation area, maternity pen, milking area and calf housing
    • additional requirements if there is a suspected or confirmed disease outbreak
  • Design protocols for cleaning and disinfection that involve:
    • pre-cleaning, i.e. removal of all organic debris
    • high pressure washing using hot water or steam, if applicable
    • application of an appropriate broad-spectrum disinfectant
    • proper contact time of the disinfectant on the surface
    • thorough rinsing of the area, if required
    • adequate drying time
  • Develop a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting each area that matches your operating practices and production cycle.
  • Outline the roles and responsibilities for all components of the program and provide training as necessary.
  • Maintain records for cleaning and disinfection. Review regularly with health and production records to highlight any potential gaps in practices.

Best Practice 2: Keep facilities clean and dry.

  • Practice routine day-to-day cleaning of the production area to remove any gross debris and contamination.
  • Ensure that all milking facilities and equipment are regularly cleaned and maintained as recommended in the CQM.
  • Clean and disinfect the following high risk areas after each use:
    • isolation area
    • hospital pen
    • maternity pen
    • calf housing
    • loading and unloading areas
    • delivery areas
    • alleyways and other animal pathways, especially when moving sick animals or animals with a higher susceptibility for disease
    • any other high-risk area of your farm
  • Clean and disinfect the production areas routinely, especially after each stock batch or if there is a disease outbreak.
  • Consider cleaning and disinfecting lower-risk areas such as walls, doors, partitions and other places that may harbour pathogens, at least twice per year, or more frequently if needed.

Best Practice 3: Complete regular facility maintenance.

  • Design a farm maintenance schedule for regular repairs to ensure that the production facilities are safe and secure, especially from pests, vermin and wildlife.
  • Maintain surfaces in good condition. Ideally, surfaces should be smooth and impervious to prevent pathogens from harbouring within them and facilitate effective cleaning and disinfection.
  • Apply appropriate surface treatments that are safe for contact with cattle.
  • When building a new facility or renovating a pre-existing facility, incorporate biosecurity into the design.

Strategy 4: Manage manure, waste, deadstock and pests

Manure, other wastes and deadstock may contain pathogens and therefore have the potential to spread disease both on the dairy farm and to other neighbouring farms. Additionally, these wastes can cause environmental damage. Producers should consider manure removal, deadstock management and waste handling as high-risk activities that, if managed correctly, bring high value to the ultimate success of the farm's biosecurity program. It is also important to note that, in some provinces, the manner in which manure, deadstock and farm waste are managed is highly regulated and producers are required to abide by those specific rules.

Dairy farming creates a favourable environment to attract pests. Pests represent a disease‑transmission risk and also need to be considered in a farm's biosecurity plan.

Best Practice 1: Develop a manure management plan to address collection, storage, handling, and disposal.

  • Have an appropriate manure and waste management system for your enterprise.
  • Schedule the regular removal of manure and wastes from barns, pens/stalls/hutches and pathways, as well as yards and holding areas. When possible, use removal lanes to avoid cross-contamination of manure and wastes with the areas in which animals are housed.
  • Use dedicated equipment for manure handling. Clean and disinfect this equipment regularly, especially if it will be used for other purposes.
  • Store manure and other wastes outside of the production unit (RAZ) in a covered and fenced area that prevents access by dairy cattle, people, pests and other animals.
  • Handle manure and wastes from livestock trucks and isolation and hospital pens separately. Do not sell this manure.
  • Compost manure under the appropriate pre-determined conditions designed to eliminate the growth and persistence of many pathogens.
  • If spreading manure:
    • choose a location(s) away from your barn, production area and water source.
    • prevent cattle from grazing on pastures where manure or slurry has recently been applied.
    • allow sufficient time after spreading prior to harvesting crops.
  • Maintain a log of manure and/or compost movements and sales from the premises.
  • Ensure that all activities related to manure management adhere to provincial and municipal waste, agriculture and environmental regulations.

Best Practice 2: Develop and implement a written plan for holding and disposing of deadstock.

  • Remove deadstock from the production area immediately.
  • Limit exposure to other cattle and cross-contamination of the production area.
  • Appropriately dispose of all contaminated bedding, animal products, manure or feed that was in contact with dead animals.
  • Clean and disinfect the surrounding area and all equipment used during the removal of the carcass and contaminated material.
  • Consider the cause of death when determining the most appropriate method of disposal. For example, special procedures apply for suspected cases of rabies, anthrax, BSE and some other diseases. Consult with your herd veterinarian to determine the appropriate course of action.
  • If storing deadstock prior to pick-up by a rendering service:
    • locate the storage site in an isolated area outside of the production area.
    • secure the location to prevent access by dairy cattle, scavengers and wildlife to prevent further contamination.
    • establish transportation routes for pick-up that limit travel across the premises.
  • If disposing of deadstock on-site:
    • designate approved burial sites and transportation routes. Consider the location of important environmental sites like wells and waterways.
    • have protocols for composting and incineration.
  • Ensure that all personnel take the necessary health and safety precautions when handling deadstock and associated materials.
    • wear personal protective equipment.
    • clean and disinfect clothing and footwear or dispose of afterwards.
  • Adhere to municipal, provincial and federal regulations for on-farm deadstock disposal methods such as burial, incineration, and composting.
  • Maintain records for all methods of disposal. Demonstrate your compliance with all regulations.

Best Practice 3: Develop and implement an integrated pest management program.

  • Work with a reputable pest control company to establish and maintain an effective pest control program where necessary.
  • Make buildings and barnyards unattractive to pests by:
    • maintaining facilities in good repair
    • securing entry points to animal housing areas, pens and barns
    • storing all feed in secure containers
    • regularly removing left-over feed, manure, debris piles, standing bodies of water and any decaying material
    • cutting grass and other forms of vegetation that may provide shelter
    • keeping garbage in sealed containers
    • promptly disposing of animal feed and milk waste
  • Consider using specific interventions or a combination thereof, when necessary.
    • traps, baits, fly paper
    • insecticides
    • biological predators
  • If feasible for the facility, prevent entry of birds by plugging all small and large nesting holes or perches, screening all openings used for natural ventilation and sealing off any openings into silos and ledges that may be used as nesting or roosting sites.
  • Regularly inspect hay or bedding storage areas for evidence of pests.
  • Restrict companion animals from the production area.
Date modified: