Animals grazing on a different property may have a different health status to animals grazing at home, even if you still own the animals. Health status is determined by the associations animals have with each other, their environment, and how they’re managed, rather than by ownership.
Most animal diseases spread through close contact between infected animals and non-infected animals. If animals sourced from different farms are grazing on the same property and have close contact, there’s potential for disease to spread. Each source farm is likely to have a different health status.
Steps to reduce risk
To help minimise the spread of disease:
- separate grazing groups by using double fencing or an empty paddock between them
- stagger your use of yards so different groups come in at different times
- ensure boundary fences are secure
- keep equipment used for treating animals clean and disinfected.
These jobs belong to the person who manages your farm on a day-to-day basis. We’ve outlined some other key steps you can take in the sections below.
Also, remember to ensure all animals have the correct NAIT tags, are registered in NAIT and that their movements are recorded.
Talk to your grazier
If your stock are away for grazing, have a conversation with the grazier to understand how they manage your animals, and if there have been any animal health issues while your animals are under their care.
Avoid mixing stock during transport
If your animals are being trucked home, make sure they don’t pass through other places where animals can mix, such as sale yards. It’s also best if they’re not sharing the truck with stock from another farm.
Quarantine returning animals
In all cases, DairyNZ recommends you keep returning animals separate to the main herd for at least seven days after arrival. This gives your animals a chance to settle into their new environment. It also gives you time to check their health status and, if necessary, undertake any animal health treatments, such as drenching or vaccination.
- Animals grazing away from home could pose a biosecurity risk to your herd when they return.
- Talk to your grazier to understand the biosecurity procedures on the grazing block, and any health issues while your stock were there.
- When animals arrive home, separate them from the main herd for at least seven days.
Find out more about grazing management at dairynz.co.nz/biosecurity-at-grazing
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy April 2019