The need for robust biosecurity measures has never been higher. Globally, we have faced the worst outbreak of avian influenza on record, with thousands of UK farms and premises affected by the deadly disease.
In the event of an outbreak, farms and businesses are required to provide a wealth of information to authorities to help with the disease tracing. One of these – and a legal requirement – is a record of all farm visitors. This information is critical as it will enable investigators to establish whether a disease has migrated from or to another property, and help narrow down the precise source.
Traceability: vital part of biosecurity and outbreak resolution
Within farming generally, and especially in poultry farming, collection vehicles will travel from one farm or business centre to the next – often in great numbers and in quick succession. Without tracing this movement effectively- and communicating it quickly- any vehicle could easily transport pathogens from one farm to the next. Because of the highly contagious nature of current avian influenza strains, this sort of movement can very easily lead to a cluster of cases, over a large area. In addition, staff naturally travel from one farm to another, and in doing this could unwittingly carry disease via their own vehicles, boots or clothes. Avian influenza will seek any opportunity and method to spread itself between farms.
It may seem simple or obvious, but the prolonged downtime that can occur as a result of an avian influenza outbreak brought about by something as simple as vehicle or person movements can have a dramatic impact: not just on the welfare of the flock and farm, but also the mental welfare of workers.
For decades, farmers have used paper-based methods to record visitors on and off their farms. This method can be an inefficient, time consuming way of record keeping- inevitably there could be gaps and the illegibility of some entries can cause unnecessary and costly delays in the event of an investigation.
Farmers are incredibly busy and the necessary administration to upkeep these records in a state suitable for such occasions is time that they can spend more productively on their core business. This is where Farm Health Guardian’s logbook service can help.
FHG: The digital future of visitor logbooks
Farm Health Guardian from Livetec Systems provides farmers with a digital logbook that will get rid of any issues of inaccurate paperwork, illegible handwriting and wasted time trying to collate records.
Installed at entry points to farms and premises, the FHG digital logbook can include customised questions such as: ‘What was the last farm visited? How long ago? Purpose of visit?’. Questions can be easily customised to the premises in question, giving farmers precisely the information they need, without waiting time on anything they don’t. Of course, this level of customisation means that if the visitor does not meet the farmer’s requirements, entry can be denied, increasing security generally but also ensuring that only those people and vehicles that are biosecure are allowed onto the premises.
Records are securely stored in a confidential database and can be immediately and easily accessed by the farmer and authorities, in the worst-case scenario. All of these time savings will ensure that, despite suffering an outbreak, farmers can get back to farming and to profitability as soon as possible.