Protecting your Farm from Diseases
Farmers often face many challenges while trying to maintain a healthy environment for their livestock and crops. One of the biggest challenges is keeping diseases at bay, which can be difficult in an open space with so many different animals or crops. In this blog post, we will cover some ways to help control diseases on your farm and make sure that your animals and crops stay as healthy as possible.
5 Proven Methods of Controlling Diseases on the Farm
Vaccinations are a crucial part of animal care. They protect animals from specific diseases. To become immune to an infection, the animal must be exposed to the virus or bacteria that causes it. The body mounts an immune response when this occurs, which confers protection against future infections by that particular microorganism. This is known as immunity acquired through natural exposure or natural immunity.
Vaccines act similarly - they introduce small amounts of weakened viruses or bacteria into the body so the cells can experience them without being harmed themselves. If subsequent contact with those viruses or bacteria does occur, then there will be enough antibodies produced to fight off the infection before any damage has been done.
Common animal diseases that have vaccines available in the market include Newcastle disease, Gumboro disease, fowl pox, Foot and Mouth disease, Rift Valley Fever, East Coast Fever, Brucellosis, and anthrax.
Quarantining newly purchased livestock
Quarantine is the process of isolating newly purchased livestock from your herd or flock for a period of time before introducing them to your existing animals. Quarantine gives the farmer an opportunity to screen for certain diseases which can spread rapidly through your herd or flock if they're not detected early enough. It also allows the farmer time to observe the animal's behavior and health without risk to other animals in the herd or flock
When you buy new livestock, it's important to quarantine them for at least two weeks before introducing them to the rest of the herd or flock. This will help protect your other animals from diseases, that they might have picked up in the animal market, during transit, or in their last home.
Disease-resistant or tolerant breeds and varieties
Continuous animal breed and plant variety engineering has brought some breeds and plant species that are either resistant or tolerant to specific diseases. Some animals and plants also possess a natural resistance and tolerance to some diseases. This characteristic can be harnessed effectively into a disease-prevention method on the farm.
Brahman and Sahiwal cattle breeds have fairly good resistance to ticks. This means that these breeds are less susceptible to tick-borne diseases than other cattle breeds. Romney Marsh and Dorset horn sheep breeds are resistant to footrot. The Mandarah chicken breed from Egypt has good resistance against Newcastle disease and Infectious Bursal Disease. These are examples of animal breeds that have good resistance against specific diseases.
Crop rotation is a plant science technique that has been in use for centuries. It's a simple concept: when you harvest an area of your field, you should plant different crops there the following year. These crops should also be of a different family. For instance, you cannot rotate kales with cabbage as they belong to the same family.
The essence of crop rotation is that it helps to break the cycle of pests and diseases. Plants of different families encounter different pests and diseases. Planting the same crop or a crop of the same family leads to a transfer of pests and diseases from one season to another. Not just that, crop rotation helps to replenish vital nutrients in the soil. Since different crops have different nutrient requirements, rotation helps the soil to build up more nutrients for the rotated crop.
Control of Vectors
One thing that is often overlooked when putting in place disease control measures is how diseases are transmitted. Disease vectors play a very significant role in how diseases are spread on the farm. An agent that carries and transmits infectious pathogens is called a disease vector. A good example of this would be tsetse flies, as they can carry trypanosomes, which is the parasite that causes trypanosomiasis in livestock. Other vectors include rodents, birds, and wild animals.
Any vector should be kept away from herds or flocks as a disease prevention measure.
To your dreams!
Are you thinking about starting a business in Africa?
Join our growing community of African and African diaspora entrepreneurs www.africabizplans.com.
We promise to ease and accelerate your journey from ideating, planning, and execution.