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Coronavirus

10 social distancing tips for livestock producers

Lon Tonneson A group of cowboys working together to rope and brand calves
CLOSE WORK: Cowboys work closely together to rope and brand calves. Specialists recommend dividing the herd into smaller groups for branding so fewer people are needed to work in close proximity together.
Extension livestock specialists have come up with a list of tips to help keep producers safe and healthy.

South Dakota State University Extension livestock specialists Adele Harty, Tracy Erickson and Robin Salverson have compiled a list of 10 social distancing tips for livestock producers to help stay safe during COVID-19 pandemic.

Safe practices for livestock producers to follow include:

1. Phone in feed orders and mail in the payment. If you order bulk feed, have it delivered and provide specific directions on where it needs to be unloaded to maintain safe separation. This includes neighbors hauling hay for you. If a smaller quantity of feed is needed, have them set it outside, as long as the weather is conducive.

2. Phone in your vet supply order and ask if they can bring it out to your vehicle when you arrive to pick it up, or if they can mail. If there are medications that need refrigeration, ensure that appropriate measures are taken to maintain viability of the vaccines or medications. If calving or lambing assistance is needed, check with your veterinarian to determine his or her preference for a clinic or farm visit. Some may request that animals be dropped off for procedures and that you do not enter the facility. Eliminate any unnecessary contact with people to minimize risk.

3. Ask seedstock supplier if there is an opportunity to buy direct. If a bull sale is going to be held, utilize call-in or internet bidding if it available.

4. Drop livestock off at the sale barn and don’t stay to watch the sale. In some instances, only buyers are allowed into the barns anyway. Additionally, checks will be mailed to reduce contact.

5. Intentionally space yourself out from other groups of workers while shearing sheep. Separate yourselves during shearing breaks. Throw your cups and bottles away or write your name on yours to avoid others touching or drinking from them.

6. Divide a cow herd into smaller groups for branding. The smaller groups are more manageable so that fewer people, maybe only family members, are needed for branding. Consider using a calf cradle to limit reduce the number of people needed. If you do not own a calf cradle, rent or borrow a neighbor’s cradle. However, biosecurity measures need to be taken. Avoid personal contact when picking up the equipment. Disinfect the calf cradle to avoid bringing unwanted diseases, such as scours, on to your operation. Another way to help maintain social distancing during branding is to have the meal outside so people can spread out.

7. Keep sick employees or family members at home. Tell anyone who is ill and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to stay home instead of feeling pressured to help you work livestock.

8. Wear gloves when handling syringes, docking equipment, ear taggers and other tools.

9. Follow hand washing protocols. If you are having people over to help, be sure to supply ways they can wash-up. It could be something as simple as a station with a water cooler that contains hot water, a bottle of soap and papers towels.

10. Wash up after work. Launder your clothes and wash your hands, arms and face as soon as you return home from working livestock to avoid spreading anything to your family members. Don’t wash working clothes with other laundry. Also, consider disinfecting boots and shoes.

Source: SDSU, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset
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