Feed and Other Deliveries

Feed Handling, Equipment and Storage

  • Ask your supplier about their quality assurance and monitoring programs such as how pests are limited, testing procedure for mycotoxins, facility contamination control (personnel and ingredients) and their retained sample program.
    • Practices such as pelleting, steam flaking and roasting can reduce bacterial numbers when exposed to adequate temperature and time. Heat processing can kill salmonella bacteria at temperatures of 55° C (131° F) for one hour or 60° C (140° F) for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Ensure all storage areas (silos, bins and commodity sheds) are cleaned out between batches of feed.
  • Feed bunks should be cleaned out daily. Feed refusals should not be stored more than 24 hours to prevent spoilage. If feed refusals are fed, they should be fed to the oldest livestock, to minimize disease transmission.
  • High pressure washers with or without steam should be used on feed bunks, storage areas, silos, mixing and delivery equipment and feeding areas along with proper disinfectants.
  • Porous feeding surfaces can harbor pathogenic organisms. Rough feed bunks should be resurfaced to make them smooth.
  • Feed mixing and delivery equipment can spread pathogens from a small quantity of contaminated feed to all animals on the farm.
  • Do not use manure-handling equipment to handle feed.
  • Examine all feedstuffs closely for manure, mold, foreign materials and uniformity.
  • When feeding from silos and commodity storage facilities inspect for mold and other spoiled material; do not feed spoiled material.
  • Waste milk should be pasteurized if fed to calves. Unpasteurized waste milk from one cow could infect many calves.
  • Milk replacer mixing and handling equipment should be cleaned and sanitized after each feeding.
  • Feed and ration preservatives (example: acids) may limit pathogen growth and/or spread.
  • Fermentation acids, produced by proper ensiling can reduce pathogen load. Wrong moisture, poor packing, no cover, etc. can increase pathogens in silage.
  • When mold growth and spoilage are a problem, reevaluate design and feedout procedures.
  • Rotate inventory to minimize pathogens in stored feeds.
  • Keep food storage areas inaccessible to rodents, birds, other wildlife, dogs and cats.

Feeding Plans, Records and Labeling

  • A feed label with guarantees and ingredient composition must accompany all feeds. In addition to the nutritional information and instructions for use there are feeding requirements and warnings noted on labels for medications. Consult the label prior to using any feed.
  • Feeds manufactured from animal proteins containing ruminant material must be so labeled. In such cases the label and/or invoices must state "Do not feed to cattle or other ruminants". This ensures that ruminant derived protein is not used in cattle rations. Feed suppliers and individuals responsible for feeding cattle should maintain copies of purchase invoices and labels for animal protein products.
  • Medicated feeds should be properly stored and used. Mixing equipment should be cleaned after medicated feeds are prepared.
  • Have a feed plan for each livestock production class, and establish goals for performance and disease control.
  • Record feed intake as a tool to help monitor animal health and feed quality.
  • Routinely test all feeds and record analyses. Rebalance diets as necessary. Work with your consultant to determine appropriate feed tests.

Grain, Proteins, Forage and Moisture

  • An often-overlooked source of bacterial and fungal (mold and yeast) disease is silage and hay. Proper growth, harvest and feedout can reduce the risk of disease.
  • Protect feeds and feeding areas including baling and ensiling of feed or storing feed from exposure to animal carcasses and manure.
    • Clostridiosis, botulism, salmonellosis, and E. coli infections often develop out of poor forage management in this area.
  • Prevent access to feeds and feed bunks by dogs, cats, wild life, birds, rodents and other animals. These animals also should not have access to dead cattle and other tissues such as placenta.
  • Application of manure and lagoon water to growing forages (green chop, corn and alfalfa) can cause contamination of cattle feed.
    • Limit application to a time period well before harvest, this will help reduce transmission of Johnes, E coli, Salmonella spp., and other pathogens. In some cases composting of manure can decrease pathogens.
  • Bird-netting and bird detractors should be used to minimize risk of Salmonella spp. transmission from wild birds.
  • Ensure that optimal conditions for harvesting, handling and storage are followed for every crop.

The following are some suggestions for baling hay or ensiling feed:

  • Dry matter should be 28-32 percent for corn silage and 35-40 percent for alfalfa haylage when ensiling.
  • Follow feed consultant guidelines for proper crop maturity and length of cut.
  • Have the proper equipment for packing and covering silos (tractors, pit walls, etc.).
  • Monitor silage pH (Clostridia and Listeria grow above 4.5).
  • Guidelines for organic acid levels in ensiled feeds are: Greater than 3 percent lactate for corn silage, seven percent lactate for alfalfa silage, less than two to three percent acetate, less than one percent propionate, less than 0.1 percent butyrate. Low lactate levels indicate low sugar levels and incomplete fermentation.
  • Feedout rate: ensure that silo size matches the herd size. Feeding out ensiled feed too slowly allows mold and undesirable bacterial growth.
  • Baled hay should be 85-90 percent dry matter and properly protected to prevent mold growth and contamination.
Content Source
National Animal Health Monitoring System. 2001. Biosecurity of Dairy Farm Feedstuffs

Biosecurity for Feed Haulers

  • Transport drivers should arrive at work wearing clean clothes and footwear which hasn’t been worn around livestock.
  • Carry cover-ups (clean, disinfected rubber boots or disposable boots) in a clean container in the truck cab. As exiting the truck, put on the cover-ups.
  • Stay as close to the truck as possible to minimize the areas you access.
  • Stay on your side of the Line of Separation. Whenever possible, communicate with the farm staff and ask them to open and close the bin lids.
  • Remove cover-ups when climbing back into the truck and contain and dispose of garbage in a separate bag or plastic container.
  • Apply hand sanitizer to maintain a clean cab before touching surfaces.
  • Do not cross the Line of Separation that is between the production facilities and you or your equipment. This includes not entering the barn office or facilities. Invoices should be left in a designated area, such as mailboxes attached to the bin leg or outside of the office.
  • Bagged feed is dropped in a designated area, without crossing the Line of Separation that is between you and the production facilities.


Isolation is a biosecurity strategy when new or returning animals are brought to a farm.