Dairy Cows

Dairy Cow Biosecurity Overview

There is a real risk of disease in your dairy cattle herd. As a dairy cattle producer you are aware of many of the common diseases that could potentially affect your animals. You have probably also noticed that diseases which exist in some groups of animals in your farm do not exist in other groups. For instance, calves can have a disease not present in cows, and animals in one barn may have a disease not present in another.

A farmer is using a pitchfork to move hay closer to dairy cows in a barn.

Biosecurity is an essential part of maintaining your herd's health as well as the profitability of your operation, an overall plan for your farm is essential. Even if you practice some biosecurity measures now, a plan is needed to make your farm as safe from disease as possible. This plan will allow you to determine the measures needed to set up a comprehensive program to protect your herd in the best way possible.

Implementation of sound biosecurity procedures will reduce the chance of the spread of a disease among the different groups of animals within the farm, and it will also reduce the chance of a disease being brought to your farm.

A biosecurity plan must include a standard health protocol. This protocol documents standard operating procedures for maintaining herd/flock health, routine husbandry and health procedures, and specific methods to identify, separate, and treat sick animals.

Below is a list of biosecurity measures that are categorized under general topics. These are best management practices, and this list can be used to develop your own biosecurity plan.

Management Strategies

Dairy Biosecurity Content Source
Choueke, Esmond. 2015. Agroterrorism Prevention Reference Guide (FBI). Boca Publications Group Inc. [email protected]

Dairy Cow Biosecurity Resources

A herd of brown Jersey dairy cows in a field.
Dairy Biosecurity Practices

A printable quick reference on dairy cow biosecurity, from Texas AgriLife Extension.

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A woman stands next to a pregnant dairy cow in a barn.

A national website for producers, allied industry, Extension and consumers, with articles, FAQs, Ask the Expert.

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Two veterinarians are evaluating the health of dairy cows in a barn.
Bovine Diseases

A comprehensive list of bovine (beef and dairy cow) diseases, from the Center for Food Security and Public Health.

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USDA Organic logo
Organic Livestock Production

A USDA guide for the organic production and certification processes.

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Two veterinarians are evaluating the health of dairy cows in a barn.
Secure Milk Supply Plan

Planning and developing a plan for continuity of business if foot and mouth disease occurs in the U.S.

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An emaciated cow infected with Johne's Disease.
Johne's Disease Facts

A fact sheet in PDF format about Johne's Disease, a chronic wasting bacterial infection of cattle, sheep and goats.

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