87 (3) pp 150

Perception, motivators and obstacles of biosecurity in cattle production

Farm biosecurity includes the prevention of disease transmission within and between farms. Two studies were set up to investigate what motivates and withholds farmers to implement biosecurity measures. The first study aimed to assess the perception of cattle farmers towards biosecurity and to identify possible reasons for its low application. This study consisted of a focus group discussion, of which the trends were used to develop a questionnaire for Flemish cattle farmers. Although the 91 participating farmers were familiar with several measures, they associated them with disease prevention rather than biosecurity. Nearly all farmers (98%) identified their herd veterinarian as their main source of information. Twenty percent and 32% of the respondents were convinced that the implementation of biosecurity would cost them more money and time, respectively. Finally, 80% of the farmers saw room for improvement of their herd, but indicated a need for practical information. The second study aimed to identify the key elements of twenty preselected biosecurity measures, motivators and obstacles for their implementation. They were judged by twenty-two cattle stakeholders, such as farmers, veterinarians and advisors, on feasibility, efficacy and return on investment. A box for parturition, a plan for rodent control and cleaning and disinfection of the stables scored highest overall. The lowest scoring measures were showering before entering the stables and an animal-free period of 24 hours. Their return on investment scored very low, since high investments are required. For a farmer to understand why biosecurity is beneficial, he must understand all risks and costs of disease and how biosecurity may reduce these risks and costs.

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pp 150-163
In practice