Biosecurity is the set of sanitary practices designed to limit introduction, circulation and persistence of contaminants (pathogens that cause diseases) in the production unit, in addition to their spreading to other production sites.
In conventional beef cattle breeding, Biosecurity is often difficult to implement, owing to the farming system. On the other hand, the practice is crucial in veal calf rearing in order to avoid cross-contaminations.
Ensuring the health safety of the animals first of all entails properly fitting out and designing the animals’ living areas, as well as guaranteeing their comfort, but also the cleanliness and atmosphere of the buildings (temperature, air quality, hygrometry and lighting).
The layout of the building and its immediate vicinity must be taken into account in preventing risks of contamination. The surroundings of the buildings must be clean and well maintained (no waste stored along the walls) to avoid harbouring pests (rodents, birds and insects).
Organisation of conventional meat farming is divided into two separate areas:
The building must be maintained daily if it houses cattle (raking, strawing). It must be cleaned and disinfected at least once a year.
Particularly attention must be paid to the building in veal calf rearing. The ventilation and temperature conditions must be closely observed in order to avoid proliferation of microorganisms that are harmful to the young animals’ performance.
The organisation of the flows offers a simple means of reducing pressure in terms of health on your farm. One should avoid crossing “contaminated” circuits (outside personnel, effluents, etc.) with “clean” circuits (animals, breeders, etc.).
Veal calf rearing is organised with a 3-zone structure: public, professional and breeding.
Ideally, each breeding zone has its own sanitary airlock. This must be equipped with a hot water washbasin, liquid soap, paper towels and waste bins.
The drinking water intended for the beef cattle is not subject to any legislation setting quality standards, unlike water for human consumption, which is required to fulfil potability criteria. The regulations solely stipulate that it should be of “adequate” quality, and to meet this requirement, a certain number of criteria are defined.
Although no established standard exists, it is recommended to test for the absence of microorganisms (total Coli, E. coli, streptococci, etc.) in 100 ml of water.
Contamination may already occur at the water catchment point, but also in the farm piping, particularly owing to the residual biofilm . In order to ascertain the bacteriological quality of the water, an analysis should be carried out (ideally at the airlock and at the end of the line). In the event of inadequate bacteriological quality, it is recommended that corrective measures be taken: checking the watertightness of the catchment point and implementing water disinfection (chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide or chlorine).
It is essential to be aware of the physical and chemical quality of the drinking water, as under certain circumstances, it may cause:
A physical and chemical analysis of the water should be carried out at least once every 2 years.
Purging under pressure is essential during the cleaning operations to achieve a sufficient mechanical flushing effect in order to wash out the impurities removed from the piping walls by the cleaning products.
The standard procedure for cleaning the inside of the pipes to remove as much biofilm as possible is as follows:
In beef cattle breeding, the cleaning & disinfection programme concerns the housing only, i.e. the stall and calving area (if present), in addition to the sick bay. The breeding system does not allow implementation of this system on a regular basis; in the event of a health situation, however, it is a practice that proves effective and worthwhile.
In rearing veal calves, the Cleaning & Disinfection programme is implemented between each batch of animals. It is strongly recommended to employ a system allowing “all full / all empty” operation.
This operation serves to give the surfaces a visually clean appearance. A detergent of foam type should be used to achieve a better scouring effect.
Organic matter (straw, droppings) inhibits the action of the disinfectants. The success of disinfection is thus influenced by the thoroughness applied to the cleaning process.
A good washing beforehand with a suitable product already achieves 70 to 80% of the decontamination by means of the “flushing” effect.
This is the first disinfection operation after washing the building. It is usually carried out by spraying the previously cleaned surfaces.
There are risk factors in a badly performed spray disinfection:
The equipment used for decontamination
The use of a foam gun makes it easier to apply the disinfectant, provided that a foaming product is used. When applied in foam form, the disinfectant is more effective. Indeed, the foam allows the product to achieve better adhesion to the surface, thereby increasing the contact time and therefore the efficacy of the decontamination. The product employed must comply with the currently applicable legislation (mandatorily category TP3).
For operator safety, protective measures are indispensable during operations involving cleaning & disinfection.
Very broad-spectrum cryptosporicidal, coccidiocidal, bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal disinfectant for livestock farms