How to establish the herd with resistance to diseases?
- You need to select breeds and animals which are well suited to the local environment you are living in. You should also keep in mind the farming system in your locality. Each dairy species and breeds have different requirements. If you choose dairy animals that are suitable to the environment in which you are living, it will greatly reduce the risks of productivity which are dependent on animal health and welfare problems. It is also important that the animals are able to adapt to extremity in climatic conditions, quality of feed, local parasites (especially ticks) and their acquired resistance to endemic disease. The demands on the animals will change according to the farming system. Animals which are housed will have a higher exposure to communicable diseases, whereas extensively maintained animals are more prone to parasitic infections. There is a chance that the animals which are brought from different locations are vulnerable to endemic diseases in the new location due to a lack of previous exposure and the development of immunity.
- Using the management skills, it is important to decide the herd size and stocking rate, local conditions and the land availability, infrastructure, feed, and other inputs. Herds which are larger and higher stocking rates require a higher level of organisation, infrastructure and skill to manage. The risks are magnified in these specialised dairy farming systems. The chances for diseases is higher and it is difficult to identify and treat individual animals requiring intervention. Good planning and management skills are necessary for risk management that has serious consequences. In developing countries, overstocking, droughts and fires should be taken into account when determining stocking rates. Drastic seasonal changes like Monsoons, deep snow, sub-zero temperatures, high humidity or heat will require different farming systems like housed or pastures depending on the time of year. Fodder supplies should be planned carefully for all contingencies as dairy animals need a constant source of good quality feed and water at all times.
- Vaccination of all animals in the dairy is recommended by local animal health authorities. Vaccination is a useful tool which limits the impact of disease by increasing the immunity of the animal population to specific pathogens. Animal health authorities will provide information about the specific vaccines, which are recommended for their area to the dairy farmers. In some regions, there will also be a law for dairy farmers to vaccinate their stock against serious contagious diseases.